5th April 20:07
Virginia Union Goes to 5-0
Hargrove Propels VUU Past Longwood
BY ANDY THOMPSON
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
A case could be made that in the first half of Saturday night's game between
Longwood and Virginia Union, the Lancers were a few questionable calls away
from staying with the more powerful Panthers.
Despite 20 turnovers, Longwood made only one less field goal in the first
frame. But VUU, aided by a a 15-10 foul advantage, made 10 more free throws and
led 41-28 at the break.
In the second half, however, the Lancers had no one to blame but themselves, as
Darius Hargrove and an energized Panthers' defense pulled away for a 95-63 rout
in front of 500 fans at the Arthur Ashe Center.
The reality wasn't pleasant but it was obvious for Longwood coach Mike Gillian.
"They're just a better team," the first-year coach said. "They deserve all the
credit. They just have more better players. And when you don't come to play,
teams take advantage."
One of those players was junior Hargrove. The junior-college transfer
consistently found his way into the lane and to the rim, scoring 25 points on a
series of floaters and finger rolls with either hand. He was even more
impressive on the defensive end, disrupting the Longwood guards and creating
numerous scoring opportunities for his teammates with six steals.
"I'm not just a scorer," Hargrove said. "I can play 'D', too. Our pressure,
'circle' defense really worked for us tonight."
The "circle" is the name of the full-court trap Virginia Union used after made
shots to pick up its intensity and pull away from the Lancers in the second
half. It was the second straight game VUU coach Dave Robbins went to the
defense to get his team out of a first-half funk.
"We started slow, but we picked the intensity up in the second half," said the
CIAA's winningest coach.
The Panthers didn't do much to slow Charles Stephens, Longwood's preseason
All-American, but they shut down the rest of his teammates. Stephens scored 32
points, added 13 rebounds and blocked two shots. He hit on 12 of 19 field
goals, but the rest of the Lancers made only 10 of 33. The trap forced many of
the 30 turnovers Longwood committed and never allowed the Lancers to find an
"You don't run set plays off the trap," Gillian said. "You have to attack and
score off the trap. We just had no energy."
Hargrove wasn't the only Panther ratcheting up the defense and feasting on
Longwood's lack of depth at the guard position. George Wythe grad Luqman Jaaber
scored 14 points, tied his one school record with 10 steals and dished out six
assists. Ten of his points came at the free throw line, where extremely tight
officiating led to 61 personal-foul calls and a 44-28 shot discrepancy for VUU
at the line.
Ralph Brown, a Monacan product, added 18 points for the Panthers, and Antwan
Walton chipped in with 10.
Robbins, in typically understated style, commented on the efforts of guards
Hargrove and Jaaber, who combined for 39 points and 16 steals.
"We're happy to have them," he said.