RADFORD, Va. R.J. Price made a layup with 52 seconds left to lift Radford to a 58-57 win over Winthrop in a Big South conference matchup on Saturday.
Andre Smith’s 3-pointer at 1:26 had staked Winthrop to a 57-56 advantage.
"That’s hard, it’s hard. Those are very, very tough locker room conversations (referring to the tough one-point loss)," said Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey. "You know that your kids just fought their brains off and they were warriors out there today. They stood toe-to-toe when they threw punches and counter-punches (figuratively). Down the stretch we didn’t completely keep our composure and made some key errors and they made some big, big shots and big plays. It was just a classic college basketball game that we came up a little bit short on."
Javonte Green scored 26 on 11 on 15 shooting from the field for Radford (10-11, 4-3), Price had 12 points, Rashun Davis 10 and Kyle Noreen contributed eight assists.
Smith scored 15 points for the Eagles (8-11, 2-5), Derrick Henry had 14 and Gideon Gamble 10.
Winthrop held a 49-39 lead with 8:50 to go on Henry’s 3-pointer, but the Highlanders’ Davis made a 3-pointer and Kion Brown a dunk to close to 52-51 with 3:23 remaining. Both baskets came after turnovers by Gamble.
"We were trying to get into a set play and what we ended up doing was flowing into our motion," said Kelsey regarding the play set up to get Smith the open look from three with 23 seconds left.
"We float into our motion and then James Bourne set a screen on the baseline for Andre and his man shortcut it and he did a good job at changing the screening angle it gave Andre a wide open shot, but initially we were trying to get into a quick hitter but they did a good job of choking out Andre and not letting him get the ball back so it forced Joey (Joab Jerome) to handle the ball up top."
With just under a minute to play, Price drove toward the baseline in front of the Radford bench and spun into the lane when he got near the touchline and found himself with an open layup for a 58-57 lead with 52.7 left.
"They set a little sideline ball screen and he (Price) drove baseline and James Bourne did what we call ’Own the ball screen’ to not allow him to turn the corner," said Kelsey. "It was an absolute miraculous play that he was able to spin and take up the amount of real estate that he did legally and make the basket . It was just a phenomenal, phenomenal play on that kid’s part to see the type of area he was able to cover on that spin move."
Winthrop had won the previous four games with the Highlanders.
Winthrop shot 49 percent for the game and an impressive 53 percent behind the arc (9-for-17), but Radford finished at 47 percent from the floor and was 8-for-12 at the foul line. Winthrop finished 4-for-8 at the line.
Winthrop will play four of its next five games at home beginning with Coastal Carolina on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
|RADFORD 58, WINTHROP 57|
Percentages: FG .489, FT .500. 3-Point Goals: 9-17, .529 (Henry 3-4, Smith 3-6, Gamble 2-2, Farmer 1-5). Team Rebounds: 4. Blocked Shots: 3 (Jerome, Brown, Bourne). Turnovers: 13 (Jerome 4, Brown 3, Gamble 2, Smith 2, Farmer, Bourne). Steals: 4 (Jerome 2, Smith, Gamble). Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .469, FT .667. 3-Point Goals: 4-15, .267 (Davis 2-4, Price 2-7, Noreen 0-2, Smith 0-2). Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots: 4 (Smith, Owens, Noreen, Green). Turnovers: 11 (Price 3, Davis 3, Smith 2, Brown, Green). Steals: 7 (Price 2, Davis 2, Holcomb, Green, Smith). Technical Fouls: None.
Att.–2,109. Officials–Tom Kenny, Matt Lynch, Gediminas Petraitis.