Men’s Basketball Falls Short to Gardner-Webb

1781 views

By: Lucas Carr | lcarr15@radford.edu

Radford Men’s Basketball team fell short of an 11 game win streak to close out regular season play against Gardner-Webb, losing 62-70.

The Highlanders put their hearts on the line down the stretch but were unable to overcome the deficit created by the Runnin’ Bulldogs.

This loss to Gardner-Webb has knocked the Highlanders out of sole possession of the Big South Regular Season title. They now officially share the title with Winthrop after the Highlanders beat Hampton this past Thursday.

Prior to this game, the Highlanders were on their longest win streak since the 1998-1999 season, in which they won 13 straight games.

The last time they swept Gardner-Webb was the 2009-2010 season but were unable to capitalize on that with their second match-up this season.

Travis Fields Jr. finished the game with 22 points, five assists, and three rebounds.

Carlik Jones ended the game with 15 points, six assists, and four rebounds. However, their offensive production was not enough to top their opponent’s ridiculous shot-making ability.

Radford was playing from behind for most of the game as the Runnin’ Bulldogs got out to a hot start from behind the three-point line, hitting 4-5 within the first ten minutes. The Highlanders found themselves down 22-13.

Though they found themselves in a hole, the Highlanders battled back from an 11 point deficit after some well-timed passes and smart shooting.

They brought the lead within two after Fields Jr. made a quick pass to Devine Eke down on the block who slammed the ball home.

The packed Dedmon Center erupted not too long after as Eke took a charge on the other end.

Unfortunately, as time was winding down in the first half, Gardner-Webb was able to pull away once more.

The Highlanders were struggling to make shots as they only shot around 36 percent from the floor in the first half. Jones was held to only two points before the halftime whistle blew as well. They went into the locker room with a score of 33-26.

At the beginning of the second half, the woes continued for Radford as they quickly found themselves down by 14 points forcing Head Coach Mike Jones to burn a timeout. Whatever he said in the huddle, must have struck a chord within his players as they came out with an incredible fight in them.

Jones didn’t hesitate to make a crucial play as he made a nice spin move and dumped the ball off to Devonnte Holland for a quick two points.

Holland gets the crowd back into the game once again after making a tough move on the block for another two following a steal by Fields Jr.

The Highlanders shot considerably better from the floor but were not taking enough shots to fully overcome the deficit in the early goings of the second half.

Fields Jr., however, was instrumental in bringing the lead within five after he hit a nice three-point jumper and running jumper from the right elbow.

The Highlanders, at one point, made it seem like they were going to bring the score back into their favor as they performed exceedingly well on the defensive side of the ball as the clock came under 10 minutes. They were able to hold the Runnin’ Bulldogs scoreless for 5 minutes and 40 seconds.

However, just as the light was shining through for the Highlanders, a Gardner-Webb player sank a baseline shot which opened up the floodgates for them offensively. Just as their lead had dwindled to three measly points, they pulled away again in the final minutes.

The scoreboard read an unfavorable 70-62 advantage for the Runnin’ Bulldogs as time expired. Though, hope is not lost for the Highlanders.

Mike Jones made sure of that after the alma mater was sung, hopping on the microphone and thanking everyone who came out to the game. He assured the fans that there was still a lot more basketball to play and that the Highlanders weren’t going away just yet.

The Big South Championship tournament began this week on Tuesday and will finish out this coming Sunday, March 8. The tournament will be hosted in Radford for the second straight season.

If you enjoyed this article, check out Highlanders Men’s Basketball Wins Ninth Straight on The Tartan.

Photo Credit: (Radford University Athletics)

Featured Image: Devine Eke, Donald Hicks, Mike Jones, Travis Fields Jr., Devin Hutchinson, Devonnte Holland