BLACKSBURG, Va. — The Radford Highlanders traveled across Montgomery County to Blacksburg and beat the Virginia Tech Hokies for the first time since 1999.
Nearly 15 years to the day since the Highlanders last won in Cassell Coliseum, coach Mike Jones’ veteran team delivered an 8-0 run in the final 1:37 to seal a 68-66 win over the Hokies on Sunday.
Guard Rashun Davis nailed a 3-pointer with 39.7 seconds remaining to cut Tech’s lead to 66-65. On the ensuing possession, guard Devin Wilson turned the ball over at mid-court which led to a breakaway layup for Radford guard RJ Price.
The Hokies had one more shot with 8.4 seconds remaining, but guard Justin Bibb’s 3-pointer came up short and time ran out while both teams scrambled for a loose ball on the floor.
Price led all scorers with 25 points. Center Brandon Holcomb scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half and collected seven rebounds.
Virgina Tech (4-4) clawed all the way back when guard Adam Smith drilled a deep 3-pointer with 6:19 to give the Hokies a 57-55 lead. It was Tech’s first lead since 17:07 in the first half.
Smith’s bucket was part of a 16-5 run the Hokies used to take a late led, only to see it evaporate in the final 90 seconds. Smith’s 12 points led the Hokies. Wilson contributed 11 points and six assists.
The Hokies looked like they might take control of the game immediately, hitting consecutive buckets and playing stifling defense in the early possessions. The Highlanders came alive, however, and took an early lead of their own.
Sparked by Price, Radford lit off on a 16-4 run, which included a 13-0 burst in a span of 2:43. Price did his damage from long range, hitting four 3-pointers to ignite Highlanders fans in attendance.
Price led all scorers at the half with 14 points. Junior guard YaYa Anderson contributed nine points and finished 3-for-3 from long range.
Despite entering the game ranked last in the Big South in field goal percentage, the Highlanders were on fire in the first half. The Highlanders shot 55.6 percent from the floor and 58.3 percent from three-point range.
Typical of a cross-county matchup, the game got a bit chippy in the first half. After blocking a dunk attempt from center Joey Van Zegeren, forward Jalen Carethers received a technical foul for taunting.
Guard Malik Mueller led the Hokies in scoring at intermission with eight points. Van Zegeren, who continues to come off the bench, chipped in six points and four rebounds at the break.
NOTES: Despite the campuses sitting just 20 minutes apart, Sunday’s game was just the eighth meeting all-time between the two programs. … Radford travels to Georgetown on Saturday afternoon. Virginia Tech hosts Alabama A&M next Sunday.
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