The Big South season officially came to an end in the CBI quarterfinals Monday, as Pepperdine dispatched Longwood, 80-66. We’ll share with you the recap shortly, but until then, let’s go Inside the Numbers on the close to yet another season of improvement for Griff Aldrich’s Lancers.
- Catching the Waves: One of the true defining stretches came early in the second half. Longwood went up three, 36-33, on the back of four consecutive points by Christian Wilson. From there, the Waves tore off a 10-0 burst that helped them seize a seven-point advantage. Longwood went north of four minutes without a bucket, missing four shots in a row and producing a number of empty possessions. The Lancers also committed four fouls within the first five minutes of the second half, which allowed Pepperdine to go 7-for-8 from the stripe.
- Instant offense: Pepperdine forward Kessler Edwards caught fire over the first three segments of the second half. Edwards poured in 10 of his team’s first 30 second-half points, knocking down 4-of-5 from the deck. Edwards played a large role in the Waves’ early 14-to-8 advantage in the paint, and proved to be a serious matchup issue for the Lancers, tallying 22 points to guide the Waves.
- Curtain lowering: The storied Longwood career of Juan Munoz came to an end in the loss, The redshirt junior from Morrisville, N.C., earned all-Big South honors to cap off his tenure in Farmville. Munoz battled dual ACL tears at the start of his time, working his way to averaging double figures (10.8 ppg) during the 2020-21 campaign. Munoz paced the Lancers with 21 in the defeat Monday afternoon, adding four dimes and four boards in 35 minutes. He will likely explore yet another extra year at a new institution in 2021-22, but has left a clear mark on this program in more ways than one.
- In front at the interval: The decision marked just the fourth time the Lancers have fallen when leading at the half in 14 outings (h/t Longwood radio voice Sam Hovan). Pepperdine, conversely, came into the game having won 10 of 12 contests in which they took the lead to the locker room. The Lancers’ most recent such loss came over two months prior, succumbing 64-58 to Big South runners-up Campbell in a game they led, 29-24, at the first-half horn.
- Colbey the big cheese: Pepperdine senior guard Colbey Ross had yet another solid performance against the Lancers, scoring 14 points and dishing 13 dimes while hauling in five caroms. The three-time all-WCC performer came in averaging just north of 18 points per game, and he lived up to his billing for the Waves.
Quotable from Longwood coach Griff Aldrich:
On the game and outcome: “Pepperdine’s a really good team. There’s no disrespect in losing this game. I thought the guys really battled, and I thought we ran into two really good players in Edwards and Ross.”
On Edwards’ huge game: “He was 7-for-8 (in the second half). We had a hard time trying to control him.”
On Pepperdine bouncing back after trailing at the half: “They responded. They kinda woke up a little bit. We were on our heels. I thought (in) that last 13 minutes, we became the aggressor.”
On the big outing from Munoz: “He made a bunch of shots. Juan’s been a real mainstay for us over the past two years. With his shooting ability and scoring ability, he’s able to have a major impact on a game and kept us in this game and gave us a shot. Terrific game for him.”
On the Lancers’ future: “I think we’ve got a really young team, a lot of guys coming back, which is really exciting. I think, probably the biggest things is for us to build off what the past three years have really been (built) on. I think what these guys have really embraced is competing … We need to take that next step next year and build on it from where we ended up this year. I’m really excited about the group we’ve got coming back.”
And finally, the Hustle Stats:
- Points in the paint: Pepperdine 38, Longwood 30
- Points off turnovers: Pepperdine 18, Longwood 10
- Second-chance points: Pepperdine 14, Longwood 4
- Fast-break points: Pepperdine 9, Longwood 5
- Points per possession: Pepperdine 1.231, Longwood 1
PEPPERDINE 80, LONGWOOD 66
LONGWOOD (0-1): Wilson 1-5 2-2 4, Wade 1-7 2-3 4, Watson 1-1 0-0 2, Granlund 3-4 0-0 6, Munoz 6-10 4-5 21, Nkereuwem 3-6 0-0 6, Lliteras 0-5 0-0 0, Hill 3-7 5-6 13, Bligen 5-7 0-1 10. Totals 23-52 13-17 66.
PEPPERDINE (1-0): Ross 4-10 6-6 14, Smith 6-12 2-2 14, Edwards 8-13 4-4 22, Deng 3-7 2-2 11, Ohia Obioha 6-9 1-2 13, Polk 0-4 0-0 0, Munson 3-4 0-0 6, Yoon 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 30-61 15-16 80.
Halftime—Longwood 33-32. 3-Point Goals—Longwood 7-21 (Wilson 0-3, Wade 0-4, Munoz 5-8, Lliteras 0-3, Hill 2-3), Pepperdine 5-16 (Ross 0-1, Smith 0-2, Edwards 2-3, Deng 3-7, Polk 0-2, Yoon 0-1). Fouled Out—NA. Rebounds—Pepperdine 40 (Ohia Obioha 11), Longwood 25 (Granlund 6). Assists—Pepperdine 19 (Ross 13), Longwood 14 (Munoz 4). Total Fouls—Longwood 17, Pepperdine 17.