By: Lucas Carr | firstname.lastname@example.org
Carlik Jones scored 28 points in last Saturday’s victory over Charleston Southern, including the buzzer-beater that forced the game into overtime. The final score following the overtime period was 77-74, as the Highlanders came out on top.
The Highlanders entered their final month of regular-season basketball with a blood-pumping thriller, adding a third victory to their win streak.
Jones corralled the opening tip-off and laid the ball in off the glass, which was the beginning of another high-volume bout for the junior point guard.
Charleston Southern got off to a hot start with their three-point shooting. However, it was Radford’s, Donald Hicks, who lit up behind the three-point line all night. Hicks hit four out of seven of his three-point attempts en route to a 16 point, six rebound game.
Hicks got started early, going after the ball and smacking it out of the hands of Charleston’s Phlandrous Fleming Jr. and skipped the ball to Jones. After getting across half court, Jones found Hicks on the wing, and he drained the shot without any hesitation.
Charleston Southern was determined not to let any bad plays get them down. They were able to take an eight-point lead at one point in the first half. Jones and Hicks did not let that lead last very long, as the score at the halftime buzzer favored the Highlanders with a one-point advantage, 30-29.
Stout Radford defense and some questionable calls by the refs were the tunes for the start of the second half. Radford kept CSU’s leading scorer, Fleming Jr., from entering a double-digit scoring night for most of the game.
Fleming Jr. is the first CSU unanimously voted captain in head coach Barclay Radebaugh’s 15-year tenure. Though, the Highlanders were able to keep him quiet for most of the second half.
A little over midway through the second half, Jones went on a scoring frenzy, tallying 12 points in a row for the Highlanders. His offensive performance wasn’t enough as they found themselves down 67-65 after Fleming Jr. sank two free throws.
However, a Charleston Southern full-court pass, with just under two seconds left, found its way out of bounds on the opposite baseline. This allowed Radford possession of the ball on their side of the court.
An in-bounds play found Jones streaking toward the corner. He was trusted with the ball, and he took one dribble and drained the jump shot with poise in his face. The crowd erupted with deafening cheers and MVP chants from the pep band.
Overtime was no cakewalk for these two Big South foes. The two squads traded buckets for most of the period, fighting in a back and forth battle.
Travis Fields Jr. sank a three from the left wing who put the Highlanders up 76-74 with one minute left on the clock. Then, with 22 seconds left, Devine Eke was fouled, attempting to put back a missed jumper, and he sank the second of the two free throws putting them up by one more.
Good defense in the final seconds of overtime sent Fleming Jr.’s three-point shot missing the backboard, the rim, and the net in one foul swoop solidifying the win for the Highlanders at 77-74.
Highlanders head coach Mike Jones was very proud of the way his team played, saying, “They got a lot of grit and determination, and they showed that.” He was extremely appreciative of his backcourt players as “He [Jones] and Travis [Fields Jr.] are the guys that give us our confidence. They give us our, you know, belief in what we’re doing…and their attitude is infectious to the rest of the guys.”
The Highlanders improve to 13-9, 8-2 on the season. They travel to High Point University on Saturday to take on the Panthers. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Millis Athletic Center.
Featured Image: (Radford Athletics)