Price’s Late Three-Pointers Lift Radford Men’s Basketball over Delaware, 58-54, to Spoil Blue Hens’ Season Opener
November 11, 2011
File Photo Courtesy of Mark Campbell
RADFORD, Va. -- Radford freshman guard R.J. Price drained three-pointers on consecutive possessions down the stretch as the Radford University men’s basketball team edged the University of Delaware, 58-54, in the 2011-12 season opener for both squads Friday night at the Dedmon Center.
In a back and forth second half Devon Saddler and Jamelle Hagins each hit two free throws, the second pair giving the Blue Hens a 53-51 advantage with 2:54 on the clock. However after each team came up empty during its next two possessions, Price connected from deep to put the Highlanders up a point with 1:11 remaining. Hagins then missed inside for Delaware, and after Radford ran down the shot clock, Price ahead drained a three-pointer to make it a 57-53 game with 22 seconds to play.
Blue Hen freshman Khalid Lewis then grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled, and he hit one of two from the line to bring Delaware within three. However Price was fouled with seven seconds left, and after missing his first attempt, hit his second to put the game out of reach.
Saddler, a Preseason Second Team All-CAA selection, led the Blue Hens with 18 points but went just 5 of 22 from the field. Hagins (at right), a native of nearby Roanoke, narrowly missed a double-double with 17 points and a game-high nine rebounds, while also blocking a game-best three shots. Josh Brinkley contributed seven points and four rebounds for UD, while freshman Larry Savage added six points and six boards in his Blue Hen debut.
Price and Jareal Smith each scored 13 points to lead a balanced Radford attack, while Johnathan Edwards was the third Highlander in double figures with 10 points to go with a team-high eight rebounds.
Delaware struggled all night from the field, connecting on just 28.8 percent (15 of 52) of its field goal attempts, including a 2 of 14 performance from behind the arc. However the Blue Hens stayed in the game by limiting Radford to only 32.8 percent shooting (19 of 58) from the floor. Both teams squandered opportunities at the foul line, as the Blue Hens went 22 of 36 from the charity stripe while Radford was just 12 of 21.
“You can’t miss 14 free throws and win on the road,” said Delaware head coach Monté Ross, who is beginning his sixth year leading the Blue Hens. “We committed just 12 turnovers and played tremendous defense all night, but you have to make your free throws. Obviously we need to make more shots offensively, but that will come in time as we all get used to each other.”
The first ever meeting between the two schools was tied at 7-7 early on as both teams struggled from the floor, before putbacks by Savage and Hagins gave Delaware an 11-7 lead with 11 and a half minutes left in opening period. The Blue Hens still led 14-11 following a Saddler free throw, but after a Javonte Green basket, Jareal Smith and Price hit back to back three-pointers to put the Highlanders in front, 19-14, with four minutes left in the stanza.
Delaware would answer back, as Hagins found Savage for a layup inside and then drained two free throws to make it a one-point game, but baskets by Green and Chance Smith gave the Highlanders a 23-18 advantage at the break.
Saddler opened the second half with a three-pointer, and after two free throws by Jareal Smith, four straight UD points pulled the Blue Hens even at 25-25. Brian Darden answered with a three-pointer for Radford, but Hagins hit two free throws and then scored inside to put Delaware back in front, 29-28, with 15 minutes to play. Daniel Mitchell then scored five straight points for the Highlanders, before a Saddler three-pointer made it a 33-32 game with 13:13 left.
Radford still led 42-39 following a transition layup by Edwards, but Saddler converted a jumper in the lane and Lewis hit one free throw to knot the game at 42-42 with 7:58 left. Green hit two free throws for the Highlanders, but Hagins scored inside and Brinkley drained two free throws to put UD ahead 46-44 with 7:06 to play.
The Blue Hens still led by two a minute later, but Jareal Smith drained two three-pointers around a basket by Saddler to put Radford in front 51-49 at the 4:34 mark. Saddler and Hagins each knocked down a pair from the charity stripe to put Delaware up 53-51, but Price’s two late three-pointers proved to be the difference.
Delaware, which has dropped its last six season openers, played without freshman guard Kyle Anderson, who is day-to-day with a stress reaction in his left foot. Freshman Jarvis Threatt played 37 minutes in his first collegiate game, while Lewis was on the floor for 30 and Savage played 15. Radford, coming off a 5-24 season last year, was victorious in the first game for first-year head coach Mike Jones.
The Blue Hens return to action on Friday, November 18 with a 7 p.m. game at Villanova.