BUIES CREEK, N.C. – The Blue Hose went down with their guns blazing on Thursday.
After falling behind by 13 points midway through the second half, the seventh-seeded Presbyterian College men’s basketball team rallied to within three, but second-seeded Radford came back with a late run to seal the 84-76 win in Big South quarterfinal action.
Neither team could get an edge in the opening minutes of the game, the largest lead in the opening four minutes being Radford at three, 7-4, with 17:10 on the clock. Lewis gave PC its first lead of the game with a layup at 16:51. He added a three-pointer 30 seconds later, with Romeo Crouch hitting his own at 14:59, and the Blue Hose led by five, 12-7. Radford went on a 6-0 run to retake the lead, 16-15, with 13:04 on the clock.
Tied at 16-16 off an Adam Flagler free throw, PC outscored Radford 8-4 to take a four-point lead. The Highlanders responded with five unanswered, which included a Donald Hicks three-pointer at 7:33, to make it a one-point game, 25-24, in favor of the higher seed.
After back-and-forth baskets, the Blue Hose and Highlanders were tied at 34-34, 1:23 to go, but a three-pointer by Kody Shubert at the 58 second mark, proved to be the final basket to give PC the 37-34 lead at intermission.
Radford started the second half with eight straight to jump out to a 42-37 lead. It was short-lived with Flagler answering with a layup and three to knot the game at 42-42. Tied again at 46-46, with 14:37 on the clock, Radford’s Caleb Tanner hit three three-pointers over the next three and a half minutes in a 14-4 run.
J.C. Younger hit his first and second threes of the afternoon, while Lewis added another in a one-and-a-half minute span to quickly make it a four-point game, 65-61, with 6:37 left. It was a three-point game three times over the next several minutes. Radford seemed to have an answer every time, using a three-pointer from Travis Fields, Jr. at 1:38 to take the six-point lead, 76-70. The Highlanders used clutch free throws the final minute to survive.
Ed Polite Jr. led Radford down the stretch and finished with with 21 points and nine rebounds.
PC moves to 18-15 overall, while Radford improves to 21-10.
Radford advances to the Big South semifinals for the first time and takes on either third seed Winthrop or six seed Charleston Southern on Friday at 6 p.m. Presbyterian awaits word on postseason play.