INDIANAPOLIS — Longwood University's historic run in the big game can to an end for their men's team on Thursday as they swallowed an 88-56 loss to No. 3 seed Tennessee during their debut appearance.
The Lancers kept up with the Volunteers for the first half of the game, but the momentum quickly trickled off when the Volunteers did not let up behind the arc.
The runaway victory for Tennessee came just four days after the school won the Southeastern Conference Tournament for its first conference tourney crown in 43 years. Next up for the Vols is 11th-seeded Michigan on Saturday.
Support for the Lancers on Longwood's campus did not let up, despite the men's loss. It was a historic moment for the school and the town of Farmville.
Students said the men and women's teams put Farmville — population just over 8,000 — on the map.
Farmville Mayor David Whitus is not just a Longwood fan, he's a Longwood grad.
"It is just really remarkable to see Longwood and Farmville scrolling across the national screen and ti really does excite the citizenry here, the citizens are really excited about that," said Whitus. "But it will also bring folks to Farmville and they will know who we are. A lot of people have never heard of Farmville, have never heard of Longwood until now."
The town celebrated Longwood's success with signs and banners across businesses — even adding Longwood blue dresses to the window display of Caryn's Bridal on Main Street.
A watch party was held in the school's Upchurch University Center in the middle of campus. A few dozen students gathered to watch the Lancers on the big screen.
Longwood senior, Damaro Gough, said she's proud of the men's team regardless of their loss.
"Even though the guys lost this evening, I felt like we all winhere because these guys worked so hard to put Longwood University on the map," said Gough.
The energy and excitement for the team never wavered. That energy will carry over to the Longwood women's basketball team game when they take on Mount St. Mary's at 7 p.m.