ROCK HILL, S.C. – The Radford men’s basketball team withstood a late rally by Winthrop and held on to win, 81-77, on Monday night at Winthrop Coliseum in Rock Hill, S.C.
Radford (15-9, 10-2 Big South) led by as many as 27 in the second half but Winthrop chipped away at the lead and cut it to as low as two in the late seconds of the game.
The Highlanders had a 79-77 lead with 29 seconds remaining in the game and fired a shot with one second on the shot clock. The shot was off the mark and the Eagles came down with the ball. Russell Jones Jr., had an open look at the lane with 19 seconds but Devonnte Holland blocked the shot and was later fouled with 11 seconds left in the game. The senior extended the two-point lead to four with a pair of clutch free throws.
Winthrop (18-8, 12-1 Big South) could only get one final shot off as Hunter Hale, who led all players with 24 points, took his 11th 3-pointer with five seconds left. Chandler Vaudrin came out of the scrum with the ball but the Highlander defense didn’t let him get a shot off and Winthrop left the court with its first Big South loss of the season.
Carlik Jones led the Highlander offense down the stretch as he made three of Radford’s final five field goals. Each of his shots quieted the home crowd after the the Eagles seemed to gain momentum knocking down big baskets to get back in the game. Jones ended the game with a team-high 20 points – 12 of them coming in the second half.
The Eagles got off to a fast start scoring the first seven points of the game but after a lengthy delay the Highlanders went on a 19-3 run. Jones and Travis Fields, Jr., tallied 11 of the 19 points during the run. Fields Jr., tallied 15 first half points and only missed one shot from the floor.
The chippy first half saw as a combined 26 fouls – including four technical fouls (two each way). D.J. Burns Jr., was one of the two that received a technical and only logged seven minutes in the half and wouldn’t return for the remainder of the contest.
With a score of 19-10 and 12:37 on the clock, the Eagles rattled off eight straight to cut the lead to one. That was as close as the Eagles could get in the half as Radford extended the lead to 15 before the end of the break – its largest lead at the time.
The Highlanders closed out the half on a 6-0 run and opened the second half with eight unanswered totaling a 14-0 run that pushed the lead to 23 points, 54-31. Radford pressed the 8-0 run into a 13-4 run taking the 27-point lead with 14:06 to play.
Winthrop scratched their way back cutting the lead down by each media timeout. From the 14-minute mark to 7:05, they made eight of 10 shots including four 3-pointers. The lead was 19 at the under 12 media timeout, then dropped to 10 at the under eight and was at nine at the under four. However, the upperclassmen-led Highlanders survived the hostile environment to win its fifth straight and put an end to Winthrop’s 14-game win streak.
STAT OF THE GAME
Radford won the battle down low outscoring the Eagles 42-22 in the paint. The Highlanders even outrebounded the Eagles, 38-35, and had a 24-15 lead in the first half.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
After scoring 81 in the previous game, the Highlanders matched it and shot over 50 percent once again. This time the Highlanders shot 54.5 percent from the floor and made 16-of-24 free throws. Fields Jr., was one point away from 20 and ended with 19 but shot efficiently from the field going 8-for-10. Donald Hicks knocked down three clutch 3-pointers and ended with 11 points. Holland and Devine Eke combined for 18 points and 13 rebounds. Holland had nine points, while Eke had eight rebounds. The Eagles shot 42.9 percent from the floor and 37.1 percent from the 3-point line.
TWEET OF THE GAME
11.3 | 2H Radford 81, Winthrop 77
After the Eagles cut it to 2, Devonnte Holland knocks down a pair of HUGE free throws to make it a 4-point game with 11.3 seconds to play.#RiseAndDefend x #BigSouthMBB pic.twitter.com/QpXN7qhxoL– Radford Men’s Basketball (@RadfordMBB) February 11, 2020
“What a basketball game,” Mike Jones said. “It was almost really a tale of two halves, especially when they got hot with about 10 minutes to go. They were playing like we were playing the first half, which was really…lights out. That’s the mark and character of a championship team. They kept fighting on their home court and I’ve got to give them a lot of credit. I’m really proud of our guys for showing some toughness and some grit. When everything seemed like it was falling apart, we had enough toughness and leadership to finish the job.”
Radford will return to the Dedmon Center for a ‘White Out’ Thursday night against Presbyterian at 7 p.m.
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