A late comeback bid fell just short as the Radford University men’s basketball team dropped a 77-74 decision to Hampton at the Dedmon Center on Saturday.
Things were all tied up at 55 with eight minutes left in regulation before the Pirates sunk their next five shots to go on a 12-2 run that would completely turn of tide of the game. Despite the Highlanders’ best effort down the stretch, Hampton protected its lead with reliable free throw shooting and a solid defensive game plan.
In fact, Hampton’s star guard Jermaine Marrow hit seven free throws in the final 44 seconds. Redshirt sophomore Carlik Jones drained a long three as the clock ticked down to zero, leaving Radford with no time to continue the fight. With the loss, Radford moves to 19-9 overall and 11-3 in Big South play while Hampton improves to 12-15 overall and 7-7 in the conference.
Senior forward Ed Polite Jr. scored a season-high 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting and pulled down 11 rebounds for his 39thcareer double-double. Jones powered his way to 17 points, six assists and a pair of rebounds as well. Radford shot 45.6-percent as a team, but just 27.8-percent from 3-point range.
Hampton controlled the game for much of the first half, going 10-for-14 on two-point field goals and 8-for-9 from the free throw line to take a 37-32 lead into halftime. The Highlanders scored the first four points of the game but went cold for multiple stretches to let the Pirates go in front.
A 10-3 run late in the half pushed Hampton’s lead to a game-high 10 points with 5:50 to go in the half. The Highlanders then hit six of their final eight shots to cut the deficit in half and take the momentum back.
The Pirates came out of the locker room and immediately caught fire, restoring their 10-point lead less than three minutes into the period. Polite Jr. led another Highlander charge, throwing down three dunks as part of an 11-2 run that brought Radford within one at 46-45 with 12:29 to go.
It was back-and-forth for the next four minutes before Hampton took back control for good. Marrow, the sixth-leading scorer in the nation, scored 26 points despite going 0-for-6 from beyond the arc. His total was buoyed by a 14-for-15 day at the charity stripe. Akim Mitchell (11) and Kalin Fisher (10) joined him in double figures.
One area of the game the Highlanders completely dominated in was points in the paint. They outscored the Pirates, 38-22, in the category and have earned a 98-52 advantage over the last three games combined.
Radford has only lost nine games all season, but six of them have taken place on Saturdays. The Highlanders are now 5-6 on everyone else’s favorite day of the week, but on the other end of the spectrum they are 5-0 on Thursdays, 3-0 on Fridays and 2-0 on Mondays.
AROUND THE BIG SOUTH
Campbell 74, Longwood 72
Winthrop 80, Charleston Southern 78
Presbyterian 71, UNC Asheville 55
Gardner-Webb at High Point
Radford hits the road for a midweek showdown at High Point tonight at 7 pm. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN+.