The High Point University men’s basketball team had the score tied, 45-45, with five minutes to play before an eight-point run by Radford lifted the Highlanders to a 59-54 win on Wednesday night at the Dedmon Center in Radford, Va. Redshirt-freshman John Brown led all scorers with 22 points.
“We had the score tied late in the game, and had some chances to score, but we just didn’t execute,” said HPU head coach Scott Cherry. “Both teams played hard defensively during that stretch in the second half. Radford just made some shots and we didn’t make plays when we needed to.”
Brown shot 11-for-20 from the floor, had six rebounds and tied his career-high with five steals in the game. Graduate student Allan Chaney scored 13 points and had nine rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Junior Dejuan McGaughy scored nine points off the bench, all in the second half.
Radford had three double-digit scorers led by senior Black Smith’s 15. Sophomore forward Javonte Green scored 14 points with eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks and sophomore guard R.J. Price scored 13 points.
High Point fell to 6-8 overall and 1-1 in Big South play while Radford improved to 7-9 overall and 1-1 in the Big South.
Radford jumped out to an early lead, getting it to 20-11 on a Green dunk with 9:11 left in the first half. High Point scored the next 10 points on a pair of jumpers by Brown, a three-point play by freshman Adam Weary and a three-pointer from junior Branimir Mikulic to take its first lead of the game (21-20). Radford’s next two field goals were treys and the Highlanders held a 29-26 lead at halftime. Brown had already scored 14 points on 7-for-10 shooting by the break.
Chaney hit High Point’s first two buckets of the second half and a fast-break dunk by Weary gave High Point a 32-31 lead with 18:30 left. Five minutes later when McGaughy slashed to the basket for a layup, the Panthers led 39-35.
The next several minutes were dominated by defense, with Radford scoring six points in a row including a trey from Anderson. HPU went silent for a span of 6:40 before another layup from McGaughy that tied the score at 41-41 with 6:50 on the clock.
Back-to-back buckets by Radford’s Smith got the Highlanders an edge before Brown grabbed the rebound of a Cugini shot and dunked it. McGaughy went to the basket again to tie it at 45-45 with 5:02 to play.
Over the next four minutes, Radford pulled away and the Panthers’ next basket didn’t come until the final minute of the game. A pair of free throws by Smith followed by back-to-back three-pointers by Smith and Price got Radford out to a 53-45 edge with 2:22 remaining.
Rashun Davis made a pair of free throws to stretch Radford’s lead to double digits with 1:05 remaining. On the next possession, Chaney faked a three and went in for a layup that made it 55-47 with 54.4 seconds on the clock. The last minute also saw a three-point play by McGaughy and a dunk by Brown, but Radford hit six free throws in a row to hold High Point off. Radford had gone 7-for-20 (35 percent) from the line entering the final 1:05 of the game.
Mikulic’s three-pointer in the first half was the Panthers’ only trey of the game. Radford went 6-for-16 (37.5 percent) from beyond the arc. It was Brown’s ninth 20-plus point game of the season.
High Point is back at the Millis Center on Saturday. The Panthers host Gardner-Webb in their third-straight Big South game at 7 p.m. The Panthers split with the Runnin’ Bulldogs last season.