By Lucas Carr | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Highlanders were devastated this past Wednesday in the Dedmon Center as the Campbell Camels hit a last-second heave. The final score of 68-67 was set in stone by the NCAA’s leading scorer Chris Clemons.
With less than a minute remaining in regulation, the score was 67-60 with the Highlanders in the lead. A series of missed free throws gave the Camels the edge they needed to make a strong comeback ending with the heartbreaking game-winner.
Radford had their work cut out for them with Clemons as he was able to knock down fifty percent of his shots en route to a 39 point showcase.
A vigorously contested game on both sides of the court gave way to a back and forth meeting forcing the audience to be on the edge of their seats. This loss snapped some significant streaks held alive here in the New River Valley. This will come as the first loss in 14 games against Big South opponents for the Highlanders as well as a 12 game winning streak at home.
Although their record reads 15-7 overall and 7-1 in conference play, the Rowdy Reds still top the Big South Standings with Winthrop and Campbell coming in at 6-2 and 5-2, respectively.
Some bright spots for the team were the breakout performances of Senior forward Ed Polite Jr. and Sophomore guard Carlik Jones.
Polite Jr. tallied 13 points and 11 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season. The first board taken out of the air marked his 1,000 career rebound making him the second player in Radford basketball history to hit that mark.
Jones almost tallied a triple-double as he recorded 18 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists.
Another notable mention is the play from graduate Center Mawdo Sallah, who finished the game with 12 points and six rebounds, and Caleb Tanner, who clenched his 200th career three-pointer. With his first triple of the night, the Senior joined seven other players to accomplish that feat.
The Highlanders look to bounce back as they hit the road for their first of two away games against Winthrop in Rock Hill, SC. Saturday at 2 p.m., they will go head-to-head against the 14-7 Eagles in Winthrop Coliseum.
Radford holds the lead in games won against Winthrop with a small 38-36 advantage in the all-time series that began in 1985. The teams have matched up 74 times and the Highlanders came away with 2 of 3 victories last season. A notable win during semifinals of the Big South Championship saw Radford coming away with a 68-49 win.
Winthrop is no stranger to heavily contested games either as they rank eighth in scoring in the country with 86.1 points per game. They are the top team in the country when it comes to three-pointers as they have knocked down 264 shots from beyond the arc. The Highlanders will look to bring their A-game and lock-down defense to South Carolina.
The Highlanders will finish their road trip against the Hampton Pirates on Feb. 7 and will return home to the Dedmon Center on the Feb. 9 for another Big South game against High Point.
Photo Credit: (Chad Boxley | The Tartan)