Longwood wins Big South for first NCAA Tournament bid

BigSouth-Longwood Winthrop Basketball
BigSouth Longwood Winthrop Basketball
BigSouth Longwood Campbell Basketball
BigSouth Longwood Campbell Basketball
Posted at 3:57 PM, Mar 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-07 10:04:10-05

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For the first time in history, both the Longwood University men's and women's basketball teams are galloping to the Big Dance.

Both teams came out on top of the Big South Conference tournament with championship wins.

On the men's side, Isaiah Wilkins scored 19 points to help advanced the team to the NCAA Tournament with a 79-58 victory over Winthrop in their championship game.

Top-seeded Longwood (26-6) never trailed, led by as many as 21 in the first half, 28 in the second half and cruised against the second-seeded Eagles (23-9), a perennial Big South power who had won the last two conference tournament titles and hoped to win its 19th overall.

The two division champions came in on a roll. Winthrop had won its past 10 games, with its previous loss coming to the Lancers 92-88 in the regular season. Longwood had won seven straight and was making its first conference tournament championship appearance. Winthrop beat the Lancers in the semifinals last year.

Wilkins, who spent two seasons at Virginia Tech and another at Wake Forest before coming to Longwood this season, shot 7-of-11 with three 3-pointers, eight rebounds and three steals. Leslie Nkereuwem added 11 points. Justin Hill had nine points with eight rebounds and five assists.

In the end, Longwood outshot Winthrop 53% to 41%, made 10 of 17 from behind the arc to 6 of 24 for the Eagles and scored 32 points off 19 turnovers, which included 10 steals.

The Lancer women smashed a top-seeded Campbell team 86-47 after losing to them twice during the regular season.

Kayla McMakin scored 22 points and Tournament MVP Tra'Dayja Smith added 21 on perfect 5-for-5 3-point shooting in a stunningly one-sided matchup between the league's top two teams, according to Longwood's website.

BigSouth Longwood Campbell Basketball
The Longwood basketball team celebrates a win following an NCAA college basketball game against Campbell for the championship of the Big South Conference tournament Sunday, March 6, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Rusty Jones)