By: Lucas Carr | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Radford Men’s basketball team took sole possession of the first place in the Big South Conference with a win over USC Upstate this past Saturday.
With a final score of 81-60, the Highlanders moved past the Spartans with ease, notching their ninth straight win.
Last Saturday’s bout showcased high scoring flashy plays as four of Radford’s starters scored in double digits. Carlik Jones finished with a near triple-double as the junior came away with 22 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists.
Donald Hicks, Devine Eke, and Travis Fields Jr. were among the four to have solid performances. Eke and Fields Jr. each finished with 11 points, and Eke tallied another double-double with 12 rebounds.
Hicks made history against the Spartans as he became the 33rd Highlander to enter into the 1,000 point club that came from a right-wing 3-point shot. He finished the game with 12 points, six rebounds, and three assists.
The Highlanders were able to get out to an early 10 point lead after winning the tip-off, and Hicks knocked down the first points of the night with a deep two along the baseline.
The first half ended with each team trading baskets, but the Highlanders were still able to finish the first half with a 10 point advantage.
After the second half whistle sounded, that’s when things began to head up for Jones and the Highlanders.
To begin the scoring, Jones corralled a rebound and heaved a near full-court pass to Holland, who laid his two-point shot off the backboard.
USC Upstate was unable to keep up with Coach Jones’ fast-paced second-half offense as the Highlanders ran the floor and scored through fast breaks for most of the second half.
Radford jumped out to a 20 point lead and was able to stay around that mark for the rest of the game.
The Highlanders were all together comfortable and entirely in sync with their playmaking.
The crowd jumped to their feet after Jones maneuvered himself through the lane and finished with a layup, converting the subsequent 3-point play opportunity.
Right after Jones’ acrobatic play, Fields Jr. almost copied his move but at the last second lobbed a pass up for Eke, who grabbed the alley-oop and slammed the two-handed dunk over a Spartan defender.
The Highlanders refused to quit with potential highlight-reel plays on a baseline inbounds play following a foul. Carlik ball-faked to the right, and Eke flashed down the center of the lane. He received a no-look bounce pass from Jones and slammed the ball into the basket with another two-hander.
The Highlanders and the crowd were overenthusiastic until the final whistle blew, and the score read 81-60. They are currently on a nine-game win streak in conference play, which has not occurred since the 2008-2009 season. This win also gives the Highlanders their fourth team sweep this season.
With Radford now in first place atop the Big South, they will go on the road for their penultimate game of the regular season. They will face Jermaine Marrow’s 24.3 points a game with the Hampton Pirates on Thursday, Feb.27.
The Highlanders will return to the Dedmon Center on Feb. 29 for Senior Night and the final game of the regular season against Gardner-Webb. Tip-off is set for 4:00 p.m.
If you enjoyed this article, check out Radford Beats Presbyterian for Sixth Straight Win on The Tartan.
Photo Credit: (Radford Athletics)
Featured Image: Donald Hicks