The Radford University men’s basketball team dominated in all phases to earn a 72-54 wire-to-wire victory over High Point at the Millis Center on Wednesday night.
Junior center Devonnte Holland was central to that domination, posting his first career double-double with 10 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. His previous career high was eight, which he had done four different times in his time at Radford, but he grabbed seven rebounds on the offensive end alone against the Panthers.
Also playing some of his best basketball on the night was senior forward Ed Polite Jr., who finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, four steals, two blocks and an assist. His defensive intensity set the tone for Radford’s entire team which finished with nine steals and 15 forced turnovers.
Of the 13 players on the roster that made the trip, all 13 saw playing time and 10 got on the score sheet. The reserve players certainly played their part, helping earn a 29-11 advantage in bench points.
With the win, Radford improves to 20-9 and 12-3 in Big South play to give them at least a share of the regular season championship. With a one-game lead on Campbell heading into the final game of the season, the Highlanders will need to defeat the Camels on the road to secure the No. 1 seed and the right to host the Big South Tournament.
It was a dream start for the Highlanders, who flew out to a 7-0 lead right off the bat. The Panthers bounced back to make it 7-4 before a dominating 14-2 run pushed Radford’s lead to 21-6 exactly half way through the period.
Some miscues opened the door for an 8-0 High Point run that gave them hope during a 5-minute scoreless drought, but Radford regained its footing and posted a 10-2 run that brought the score to 33-21 where it would stand at halftime.
Things didn’t go quite as smoothly in the second though, as the Panthers cut their deficit down the just six points with 12:45 to go. Struggling to score against the conference’s best defensive team, Radford needed a big play to get back on track and they got it.
A well-designed play got a wide open dunk for Polite Jr. right before a Carlik Jones steal led to a wide open 3-pointer for Donald Hicks. The back-to-back field goals were just the start of a 17-4 run that restored order and allowed the Highlanders to coast for the rest of the game.
The Highlanders wrap up the regular season at Campbell this afternoon Saturday at 2 pm. With just one game separating the two teams in the standings, the winner will take home the No. 1 seed in the Big South Tournament, giving them to right to host so stakes are high. You can catch the game on ESPN+ or on WRAD 101.7 FM.