Radford rally upends Virginia Tech 68-66
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) Virginia Tech and Radford are separated by 12 miles, and the Hokies dominate the media interest in the area because of the success of their football program.
But following Sunday's basketball game between the two schools, Radford is going to see some love come its way.
R.J. Price scored 25 points to lift the Highlanders to a 68-66 victory over Virginia Tech.
The win marked just the second ever for Radford over Virginia Tech, and the Highlanders' first victory ever over an ACC school in 25 attempts.
''If you hear 90 percent about Virginia Tech, you might hear 10 percent about Radford,'' Radford coach Mike Jones said. ''So for one day, . you get to hear about Radford a little bit. It's nice for our university community and hopefully will build some pride with our university.
''For our guys, it's one game. I don't mean to belittle that we beat an ACC team, but in our league, the team that wins the championship is the one that goes to the NCAA Tournament - and there is only one of them most of the time. All of our focus is on getting better as a team and hopefully building up as a team so that hopefully in January and February, we're playing as well as we can play going into the end of the year.''
Behind Price, who made 9-of-17 from the floor and hit 5-of-13 from beyond the 3-point arc, the Highlanders (5-3) rallied from a six-point deficit with a little more than two minutes remaining.
Radford trailed 66-60, but closed the game with an 8-0 run. The big play came out of a Radford timeout with 39 seconds left. The Highlanders decided to press, and Virginia Tech's Devin Wilson lost the ball. Price grabbed it and hit a jumper with 26 seconds left to give the Highlanders a 67-66 lead.
''We went to our press where we run and jump,'' Price said. ''We worked the ball handler and we almost had it to where it would be 10 seconds in the backcourt. They tried to rush it over the half-court line, and they lost handle of the ball and we were there to get it.''
''That was the first time we had used that press,'' Jones said. ''The guys . it was just flawless execution. It was almost a 10-second count, and they just tried to get it across and it went right into R.J.'s hands. He went down, and I think he had two guys on him. But he had a big-time finish to score the bucket.''
Virginia Tech's Adam Smith missed a shot with 19 seconds left, and then the Hokies fouled the Highlanders' Javonte Green, who made 1-of-2 from the free-throw line with 17.4 seconds remaining to give Radford a 68-66 lead.
Jalen Hudson missed a 3-pointer for Virginia Tech (4-4), but the Hokies got the rebound and called a timeout with 8 seconds remaining. Justin Bibbs took an off-balance 3-pointer with 3 seconds to go, and as both teams scrambled for the loose ball, time ran out.
''That's exactly what I drew up,'' Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said of Bibbs' shot. ''He's shooting 69 percent from 3 going into the game. I wanted Bibbs shooting the 3 to win it.''
Smith led the Hokies with 12 points. Wilson added 11 points for Virginia Tech, while Bibbs and Joey van Zegeren each scored 10.
Brandon Holcomb added 14 points for the Highlanders, who shot 52 percent from the floor. Radford came into the game ranked 11th in the Big South in field-goal percentage.
Radford: Now 1-24 versus ACC teams. The Highlanders snapped a four-game losing streak to the Hokies. Price has now scored at least 21 points in back-to-back games. His five 3-pointers against the Hokies were as season high and one short of his career high
Virginia Tech: dropped to 6-2 all-time versus Radford. The Hokies are 46-6 against teams from the Big South Conference.
Radford travels to Georgetown for a game on Saturday.
Virginia Tech is at home next Sunday against Alabama A&M.