By Lucas Carr | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Highlanders hit the ground running last Tuesday for the 2018-19 season opener against Davis and Elkins to tip off the basketball season. They seamlessly picked up where they left off last season, finishing with a 30 point lead at the final buzzer.
Senior guard Caleb Tanner (19 points/ 3 steals) and junior guard Donald Hicks (18 points/ 5 rebounds/ 4 assists) both knocked down six 3-pointers to lead the way. Tanner was the catalyst that pushed the Highlanders out in front with a 10-0 lead, hitting back to back shots from beyond the arc. He inevitably hit four of his six threes in the first ten minutes of the game.
Davis and Elkins made the first half interesting, however, as they overcame the deficit going on an 11-4 run halfway through the first half to even the score out to 23-20. The Highlanders were not messing around at the sight of this and swiftly took back the lead going on a 23-0 run to end out the half.
A crisp lead pass to Ed Polite Jr. and an assist back to Hicks was the starting point of the browbeating lead. Head Coach Mike Jones instituted the use of full-court pressure resulting in lights out defense and incredible hustle plays by the Highlanders.
Nearing the 15-minute mark in the first half, a crazy scramble for the ball ping-ponged the pumpkin all over the court until Tanner got his hands on the ball, skipping it over to Freshman guard Josiah Jeffers for a transition three. Radford ended the half with a commanding 51-29 lead over the Senators.
Some would like to hear that it was a tale of two halves for Davis and Elkins but unfortunately for them, Radford had something else in mind. They were able to open up the second half as Hicks lobbed a pass over the heads of the Senators to the 6’8 Kansas State graduate transfer Mawdo Sallah for a nice lay-in.
Donald Hicks was able to continue his big night, hitting back to back shots from deep to push the lead to 81-50 with a little under 10 minutes left in the game. The Highlanders did not slow up as they were determined to not let the lead drop under 20 points for the duration of the second half.
The final score came out to 91-57 as Radford closed the book on D&E. They knocked down 18 3-pointers and shot 52.5 percent from the field. This 34-point win was the largest margin of victory for the Highlanders since 2014 when they beat Johnson and Wales 92-54.
Polite Jr. ended the game with 18 points and tallied 12 rebounds, marking his 27th career double-double.
The Highlanders played in the Gotham Classic Tournament this past Friday, as well, against UIC. They defeated the Flames in the first round 88-78. Check the Radford Athletics web page for more details.
The Radford Men’s basketball team will continue the tournament on the road as they travel to South Bend, Indiana to face the Fighting Irish. They will then face Duquesne and close out the tourney against William and Mary on the Nov. 20.
Photo Credit: (RU Athletics)