Longwood and Radford has been an "wanna be" in-state rivalry in Virginia for many years. The Lancers and Highlanders got together in Willett Hall in 2004, Longwood's first year of a Division I schedule, when an small fight broke out on the court between Longwood's Michael Jefferson and Radford's Whit Holcomb-Faye.
Despite the two schools being the two most comparable state schools to one another, and being only a little over two hours away, the two did not meet again until 2013 when Longwood joined the Big South Conference.
Althought they hadn't played in nearly 10 years, the two games between Longwood and Radford looked like an age-old in-state rivalry last year. First, Radford won on their home court 82-72 game, that featured an on-court altercation between Michael Kessens (now at Alabama) and the Highlanders' Kion Brown. The incident resulted in both Longwood's Jeylani Dublin and Jeff Havenstein being ejected.
Later in the year, Radford came to a packed Willett Hall and lost to Longwood 76-61 in a game the Lancers dominated and Tristan Carey posted 31 points.
Radford slipped in a home loss to VMI on Wednesday and looked like a team possessed early in the first half as the Highlanders shot out to a 19 point advantage. Ya Ya Anderson's sharpshooting and Highlanders offensive rebounding is what generated the early drive. Lucas Woodhouse and Tristan Carey willed the Lancers back into the game and cut Longwood's deficit to 43-38 at the half.
Longwood would continue to charge hard in the second half and cut the Highlanders lead to just two points with 15:52 remaining thanks to a Karl Ziegler layup.
That was the point when Longwood would start to fall minute by minute until Radford eventually pulled away with a 93-76 win for the Highlanders.
For Radford the story was definitely potential Big South Player of the Year Javonte Green who had 17 points and 19 rebounds. All five Highlanders starters finished in double-figures lead by Ya Ya Anderson with 19.
Longwood, a young team going through a rebuild, continues to show flashes of a winning product as Jayson Gee changes the school's culture from the ground up. Lucas Woodhouse was far and away the most impressive Lancer. Woodhouse finished with his fourth double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 assists, and is now second in the country in assists with 7.5 per game. TT Carey also continued to shoot well against the Highlanders with 27 points.
The more veteran and deeper Highlanders looked like a team poised to challenge for a Big South title, while Longwood looked like a team looking to follow Radford's blueprint for a 3 year rebuild under Mike Jones.
The two teams will meet again in Farmville on February 19.