RADFORD, Va. – Five players scored in double-figures on Wednesday afternoon as the Radford men’s basketball team topped Mars Hill, 98-50, for its first win of the 2020-21 season.
Lewis Djonkam led all players with a career-high 16 points going 8-of-10 from the floor. All of his points were points in the paint. Shaquan Jules wasn’t far behind with 14, including a couple of ferocious dunks. Josiah Jeffers added 11 points going 5-of-9 from the floor, while Xavier Lipscomb and Dante Moses chipped in 10 each.
With the game tied at five in the early minutes, Quinton Morton-Robertson hit a 3-pointer that spring boarded the Highlanders to a 17-2 run over the next 5:27. Radford had a 22-7 lead with 11:23 to play. The run was fueled by strong defense as the Lions shot 1-for-6 from the floor during the stretch.
Eventually Radford took a 47-20 lead, its largest at the time and still had two minutes to play in the first half. Jules had 10 points through the first half, while Jeffers and Fah’Mir Ali were right behind him with nine each. Radford shot 55.6 from the floor and held Mars Hill to 29.6 percent from the floor and a season-low 23 points.
Radford kept increasing the score and took a 75-31 lead midway through the final period of play. The 44-point led was a result of an 18-0 run, the biggest of the game and season for Radford. The Highlanders went 7-for-10 from the floor, while Mars Hill was 0-for-8 with two turnovers during the run.
The Highlanders kept their foot on the gas pedal and took an 88-40 lead with 4:51 to play when Bryan Hart scored his first points as a Highlander with a 3-pointer from the top of the key. The 48-point lead remained the largest lead of the game until the final buzzer sounded.
Ironically, Radford shot 55.6 percent again in the second half and scored the same number of points as it did in the first. The Highlanders scored 58 of their 98 points inside the paint. That’s 36 more than Mars Hill.
Radford outrebounded the Lions 50-31. It was the first time the Highlanders corralled 50 rebounds since Feb. 16, 2019 against Charleston Southern. Chyree Walker led all player with a career-high 11 rebounds. Ali was a point and an assist shy of collecting his first collegiate double-double, but led all players with nine dishes. 12 of the 14 players that saw the court scored including Jamal Burke and Hart, who tallied their first points in a Highlander uniform. Radford forced 18 turnovers and scored 27 points off them.
“Number one, we were able to take care of the basketball,” Mike Jones said. “Anytime you can do that, you’ll get a good look at the other end of the floor. Just to have those extra opportunities to get a shot off is very important. Our guys did a good job of taking the ball and we came out on top.”
Radford is scheduled to have its conference opener on Dec. 14th against Longwood. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m.