November 5, 2011

Knights Conquer Dragons

Written by Chris Pendleton

BUENA VISTA, Va.—The Southern Virginia University men's basketball team moved to 2-0 on the season with a hard-fought victory over Virginia University of Lynchburg on Saturday as the Knights conquered the Dragons 68-53 in the final game of the Southern Virginia Fall Classic.

Southern Virginia (2-0) used a balanced attack to defeat VUL (0-2) as four different Knights—senior Spenser Briggs (Goldsboro, N.C.), junior Isaac Jacobson (Kitty Hawk, N.C.), junior Casey Nye (Kaysville, Utah) and freshman Justin Langford (Canby, Ore.)—finished in double figures.

Briggs led all players with 14 points, while also grabbing a game-high 11 boards for his second double-double in as many games this season. Nye and Langford each scored 13, while I. Jacobson added twelve. Isaac's brother, Anders Jacobson, was not far behind adding nine points in the victory.

Turnovers hurt Southern Virginia's offensive, however, as the Knights committed 23 turnovers against the Dragon's full-court press. The Knights made up for their struggles on offense with their own brand of gritty defense forcing VUL into 21 turnovers, while winning the battle on the glass 38-23.

"Some times you have to win a game with defense," said fourth-year head coach Brian Pendleton who pushed his home record to 26-3 (.896) on Saturday. "And today was one of those games." 

Both teams showed signs of fatigue early on from the previous night's contests—VUL lost to Lindsey Wilson 88-61 Friday night before Southern Virginia defeated Union 83-61 in a later game—and struggled to find the range. The Knights and Dragons combined for meger 21-of-50 (42.0%) shooting in the first half as Southern Virginia entered the break with a 29-25 advantage.

The game stayed close over the first 9 minutes of the second half until Southern Virginia, leading 42-37 with 10:27 left in the game, opened up a 19-10 run over the next seven minutes pushing its lead to 14 (61-47) with just under four minutes remaining on the clock (3:46).

Despite one final push from the Dragons, Southern Virginia would keep its lead in double digits for remainder of the contest.

Free throw shooting proved critical to Southern Virginia's victory on Saturday as the Knights went 26-34 (76.5%) from the stripe while VUL hit only 40 percent of its free throw attempts (8-20).

Men's basketball has three days off before traveling to Virginia Intermont College on Wednesday, Nov. 9 for a game with the Cobras at 7:30 p.m.