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Radford tops Presbyterian for sixth straight win

Hutchinson scored 17 points, Eke had double-double

RADFORD, Va. – Backed by Devin Hutchinson’s 17 points and Devine Eke’s double-double, the Radford men’s basketball team topped Presbyterian, 81-71, on Thursday night for its sixth win in a row. Radford (16-9, 11-2 Big South) tallied its fourth straight game shooting over 50 percent after totaling a 51.9 field goal percentage against the Blue Hose. Hutchinson went 4-of-7 from the floor, including 3-of-6 from 3-point land and was a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line. His 17 points tied a career-high, which was set earlier this season against Bridgewater College in early November.

The Highlanders crashed the boards all night long and secured 34 rebounds compared to Presbyterian’s 23. The 23 rebounds were the lowest a Division I opponent corralled against Radford this season. 10 of the Highlanders rebounds came on the offensive end, while the Blue Hose only had three. Eke led Radford with 10 rebounds and picked up 10 points for his second double-double this season and fifth of his career.

Hutchinson gave the Highlanders a spark off the bench with the score tied at 18 midway through the first half. He carried Radford to an 11-2 run that gave Radford a nine-point lead with 6:17 to play. The senior recorded six of the 11 points during the spurt. Presbyterian (9-17, 6-7 Big South) closed the gap to three at the end of the first half but the Highlanders came out of the locker room looking to make a run.

They did just that and scored the first six points of the second half that eventually grew to an 11-3 run over 6:27 that put Radford ahead by 11 points, 49-38. After PC’s Cory Hightower scored the next three points, the Highlanders’ leading scorers in Hutchinson and Carlik Jones scored the next eight, knocking down six free throws and a jump shot. Jones also tallied 17 points and led the team with six field goal conversions.

The eight unanswered gave Radford its biggest lead of the night, 57-41, with 11:19 to play. Radford’s lead never dropped any lower than eight points and that came with 35 seconds left in the game but Donald Hicks knocked down two free throws to push the lead back to double-digits before the end of the contest. The Highlanders forced 10 turnovers and only committed eight. Radford scored 16 points off the turnovers and had 12 second chance points thanks to double-digit offensive rebounds.

STAT OF THE GAME

Radford shared the ball all night and picked up 20 assists as a team. It’s the third time this season Radford tallied 20 or more assists. Jones and Travis Fields Jr., led the way with four each, while Hicks chipped in three. A handful of other players also picked up multiple assists.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

Eke was a perfect 5-of-5 from the field on Thursday. The graduate transfer picked up his fifth 100 percent shooting night with at least three shots taken. Radford shot 35.7 percent from beyond the arc on Thursday. Hicks and Hutchinson led the team with three 3-pointers. Hicks was one of four Highlanders in double figures with 11 points. Fields Jr., had three steals, which pushed him over 100 for his career. The Blue Hose had four players in double-figures led by Hightower’s game-high 21 points. PC shot 51.0 percent from the floor and 73.7 percent from the charity stripe.