RADFORD — The Radford men’s basketball team picked up a rare win over Campbell on Saturday — winning 68-63 — and did it without scoring a field goal in the final 6 minutes, 55 seconds.
The Highlanders came into the game having lost five of six to their Big South rival including a pair of one-possession games last season
Radford (8-7, 3-0 Big South) looked ready to cruise to victory after building up a 15-point second half lead, but the Camels ramped up the defensive pressure and created some tense moments down the stretch at the Dedmon Center.
Radford’s leading scorers Carlik Jones and Travis Fields helped lock up the game, going 9 of 10 from the free-throw line in the final 2 minutes. Jones finished with a game-high 22 points along with seven rebounds and two assists. Fields had 17 points and two assists.
“My Grandma used to tell me to pray when I stepped to the free-throw line,” Jones said with a smile. “I told her I don’t really got that much time to pray during a free throw, but what built to me is confidence. I really just step to the line and tell myself money and it’s good. That’s usually what I do every time.”
The top two teams in the Big South in defensive field goal percentage lived up to their reputations. Campbell shot 28% in the second half and was 2 of 12 from 3-point range. Radford struggled in the second half as well, shooting 30% from the field.
“I felt toward the end we let Campbell rush us instead of sticking to our own pace,” Jones said. “If our guys just get to their spots faster and move with a sense of urgency I think that will solve those problems.”
It was Radford guard Devin Hutchinson’s hustle that helped break the game open a bit after halftime.
Hutchinson took a charge midway through the second half in the midst of a tight game that kicked off an 8-0 run. On the other end of the floor, Hutchinson dropped in a short floater on the baseline and was fouled by Cedric Henderson.
Campbell coach Kevin McGeehan was called for a technical foul for expressing his frustration with the pair of close calls. Jones hit both free throws for the technical foul and Hutchinson dropped his in as well.
Jones followed up the sequence with his second 3-pointer of the game to give the Highlanders their first double digit, 49-39, lead with 12:01 remaining.
“In my eyes, I feel we are a defensive team,” Jones said. “Charges are huge. We try to get everybody willing to sacrifice their body and be willing to take charges. I know Dev has been trying to step up his defensive game. ... It definitely changed the game.”
Radford got off to sloppy start with six turnovers on its first nine possessions. Campbell (10-6, 1-3) failed to take advantage of the Highlanders’ early shooting struggles that were a sign of things to come. The Camels hit only 1 of 10 from 3-point range in the first 10 minutes and were outrebounded during that stretch 11-3.
Campbell kept Jones (18.4 points per game) in check until the final 90 seconds of the half when he put up back-to-back baskets including a banked-in 3-pointer. Jones and Fields both had seven points going into halftime with the Highlanders holding onto a slim 34-32 lead.
“We just got to learn how to finish a little better. We’ve had two 12 to 15 point leads and haven’t closed out the game like we wanted to,” Radford coach Mike Jones said. “We are still learning how to be a really good team and really play for 40 minutes.”
Gensler 2-5 0-0 4, Henderson 6-10 1-3 17, Spencer 1-5 3-4 5, Whitfield 5-11 5-5 18, Nelson 3-7 0-0 6, Carralero 0-3 2-4 2, Stajcic 3-5 0-0 7, Knight 1-4 2-2 4, Lusane 0-2 0-0 0, McCullough 0-2 0-0 0, Thompson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-54 13-18 63.
Fields 5-9 5-6 17, C.Jones 5-12 9-10 22, Hicks 0-3 1-2 1, Holland 4-5 1-3 9, Butts 3-5 0-0 7, Greene 2-4 0-0 4, Walker 0-3 0-0 0, Eke 0-1 1-4 1, Hutchinson 2-5 1-1 5, Djonkam 1-1 0-0 2, Jeffers 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-48 18-26 68.
Halftime—Radford 34-32. 3-Point Goals—Campbell 8-29 (Henderson 4-7, Whitfield 3-6, Stajcic 1-1, Lusane 0-1, McCullough 0-2, Carralero 0-3, Gensler 0-3, Knight 0-3, Spencer 0-3), Radford 6-16 (C.Jones 3-4, Fields 2-4, Butts 1-2, Greene 0-1, Hutchinson 0-1, Walker 0-1, Hicks 0-3). Rebounds—Campbell 26 (Henderson, Nelson 5), Radford 33 (C.Jones, Holland 7). Assists—Campbell 13 (Nelson 4), Radford 8 (Fields, C.Jones, Hicks 2). Total Fouls—Campbell 21, Radford 17. A—1,316 (3,205).