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Written by AJ Neuharth-Keush.
The Radford University men’s basketball team has bounced back after their 8-game win streak was snapped against Charleston Southern University on Feb. 6.
In the two games since the loss, the Highlanders have defeated the Longwood Lancers and the Presbyterian Blue Hose in crucial conference matchups.
Radford currently holds an overall record of 19-8 and Big South record of 10-4.
They’re sitting in first place, along with High Point University and Charleston Southern (all 10-4) with Winthrop, UNC Asheville, and Coastal Carolina close behind (all 9-5).
In the first of the two games, the Highlanders beat Longwood 80-75 with a thrilling finish.
Radford went into halftime leading 44-33 while shooting an impressive 59 percent from the field. However, the Lancers came out and started the second half red-hot, going on a 12-4 run and cutting the lead to three.
The two teams battled it out until the final whistle, but the Highlanders were eventually able to hang on to victory.
“I feel great about the way our guys were able to really toughen up down the stretch and get the stops we need,” RU head coach Mike Jones said.
Junior guard Cameron Jones led Radford in scoring with 15 and rebounds with 8. Junior guard Rashun Davis added 13 points and three assists. Junior center Brandon Holcomb, junior guard YaYa Anderson and senior guard R.J. Price all scored in double figures as well.
“We didn’t want to let this one get away like we did last game. Last game was a tough loss and it was a reality check,” Cameron Jones said.
“I feel like we are the best team in the conference. I feel like we are where we’re supposed to be right now,” Jones continued.
The second game was another close-fought battle. This time, however, Radford was the team playing from behind for the early portion of the matchup.
The Highlanders had a seven-point deficit going into halftime after shooting only 38% from the floor.
The second half was a different story as Radford came out of the locker room looking like a changed team.
Although Price was held scoreless in the first half on 0-4 shooting, he turned it around in the second half and got the Highlanders the lead after hitting three straight shots and scoring eight points in 45 seconds.
Radford was strong defensively as well in the second half, grabbing nine steals.
They outscored the Blue Hose 36-23 after halftime, making the final score 62-56.
Senior forward Javonte Green led the team in scoring with 15, along with grabbing seven rebounds, two steals and a block. Anderson also scored in double figures with 14.
The two recent victories have put Radford in a good position to take the Big South regular season title.
However, a few more challenges await.
“It’s an awesome Big South race right now…every night is going to be a battle,” coach Jones said.
Defending Big South Champion Coastal Carolina will visit the Dedmon Center on Monday, Feb. 16.
After the showdown with Coastal Carolina, UNC Asheville (9-5 in the Big South), Liberty (1-13) and Gardner-Webb (8-6) remain on the schedule for the Highlanders.