The Radford Men’s basketball team’s terrific season came to an end on Friday after losing to UNC Asheville in the second round of the Big South Tournament.
As the number three seed in the north, RU drew a matchup with the sixth seed in the south, Presbyterian. The Highlanders, who had not won a Big South Tournament game since 2010 and were 0-2 under Head Coach Mike Jones, were able to withstand a huge rally to beat the Blue Hose for the second time that season.
Radford had five players in double figures for the game with sophomore guard Ya Ya Anderson leading the way with 18 points. Juniors R.J. Price, Jalen Carethers and Javonte Green all tallied double figures along with sophomore guard Rashun Davis who poured in 10.
Presbyterian was lead by Jordan Downing who kept their hopes for a win alive with 32 points. Davis would put the Highlanders up with two huge free throws with 20 seconds remaining on the clock and then Green would ice the game after securing a rebound off of a missed three-point attempt by the Blue Hose to give RU the 78-73 win, allowing them to advance to the second round. Presbyterian would end their season with a 6-26 record.
Radford’s road only got harder from there as the number two seed in the south, UNC Asheville, was waiting for them in the next round. The Highlanders previously hosted the Bulldogs on Feb. 13 and was able to get the 102-92 win in front of a huge crowd at Dedmon. RU would now have to try and do the same without a home court advantage.
Again, RU’s offense was helped with four Highlanders scoring in the double digits — only this time it would not be enough. The Bulldogs would shoot 62 percent from the floor and after taking a large lead into halftime, RU would not be able to recover. They shot 52 percent from the floor with Davis leading the team with 22 points, Green scoring 13, sophomore forward Kion Brown tallied 14 and Price pouring in 15. Green struggled with foul trouble and only played 23 minutes in the contest until he eventually fouled out.
UNCA had four players combine for 84 of their 96 points with the leading scorer being Jaron Lane who notched 29. RU was able to force 19 Bulldog turnovers but the key to this one would be the rebound game in which UNCA dominated, 33-23.
The Highlanders’ season ends with a 21-12 record and return all but one player next year.