FARMVILLE, VA (WDAM) _ Longwood University can shoot from long-range.
Just ask the University of Southern Mississippi.
The Lancers skewered the Golden Eagles Wednesday evening, knocking down 18 shots from beyond the 3-point arc, grounding USM 90-68 in the opening round of the College Basketball Invitational tournament.
Longwood (16-17), which finished in ninth place in the Big South Conference, became the first team to reach 80 points against the Golden Eagles this season.
The 22-point margin-of-defeat was USM’s largest of the year.
The Golden Eagles fell behind quickly and trailed 25-13 before rallying. USM got within 29-26 on a jumper by freshman guard Gabe Watson with 3 minutes, 41 seconds, left in the first half.
But Sean Flood hit back-to-back 3 pointers and the Lancers outscored the Golden Eagles 12-6 over the final 3:14 of the first half to take a 41-32 lead at halftime.
A Kevin Holland 3-pointer pulled USM within six points coming out in the second half, and the Golden Eagles had the deficit down to 45-40 on a pair of free throws by Leonard Harper-Baker just a few minutes into the second half.
But Jashaun Smith hit consecutive 3-pointers, the lead swelled back to double digits, and USM got no closer than 11 points the rest of the game.
Watson led USM with 17 points and Hampton added 11 points and four rebounds. In his final game with USM, Tyree Griffin, who finished with seven points, handed out seven assists.
Longwood shot 52 percent on its home court, including 52.9 percent from 3-point range (18-of-34), and hit 12-of-13 shots from the free-throw line.
USM hit just 41.5 percent of its shots from the floor, including 34.5 percent from 3-point range.
Jaylon Wilson, who hit 5-of-9 attempts from 3-point range, scored a game-high 23 points. Shabooty Phillips finished with 17 points, five rebounds and seven assists. Smith, who made 4-of-6 shots from beyond the 3-point line, added 12 points and six rebounds.
Longwood will play the DePaul University-Central Michigan University winner in a second-round matchup.
USM, which played in its first CBI, finished with its first 20-win season since being socked with a slate of NCAA sanctions committed before Coach Doc Sadler’s arrival five years ago.