NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Radford men’s basketball team fell short against Vanderbilt on Saturday night and dropped a 59-50 contest in Memorial Gym.
Chyree Walker had a quick 11 points and helped give Radford a 17-10 lead – its largest of the night – through the first eight minutes. Walker went 6-for-8 from the floor and tallied a career-high 13 points in just the first half of play. His 13 points led all scorers through the first 20 minutes. He finished the game with 15 points (7-for-9) and had Radford’s only 3-pointer.
The Highlanders held the lead for most of the first half until the 3:40 mark when Dylan Disu gave the Commodores a 22-21 lead with a 3-point jumper. Each team traded the lead and Vandy carried a one-point lead into the locker room.
Radford shot 46.2 percent from the floor in the first half and held Vanderbilt to just 34.4 percent. The Highlanders had 20 of their 25 points inside the paint and held an edge on the glass, 21-18. Disu and Scotty Pippen Jr., combined for 20 of Vanderbilt’s 26 points with 10 each.
The Commodores jumped to a 9-0 run when the second half started and took a 10-point advantage. The 9-0 spurt eventually became a 17-6 run over the first six minutes and Vanderbilt took a 43-31 lead – its largest of the game.
After the Highlanders chipped away at the lead, Vandy tied its largest lead again at the 10:30 mark and was ahead, 47-35. Then Radford cut the lead to three points, 47-44, at the 6:39 mark thanks to Shaquan Jules and Dante Moses. They had all the points in a 9-0 run as Moses tallied seven of them.
Three points was a low as Radford could get to getting back into the game. The Highlanders had chances but could never get over the hump. Vanderbilt went 2-of-12 on field goals down the stretch until Pippen Jr., hit a 3-pointer to put the Commodores back ahead by seven, 55-48, at the 1:21 mark.
Pippen Jr., led all players with 25 points. He’s scored 25 points in three consecutive games.
Stat of the Game
Radford led with 34 points in the paint, compared to Vanderbilt’s 22. Walker, Moses and Jules also had 34 points altogether. That’s 68 percent of the team’s total points.
In Walker’s two games as a Highlander against SEC schools, he’s combined for 25 points with 10 coming against Mississippi State last year and 15 against the Commodores on Saturday.
Inside the Box Score
Radford outshot Vanderbilt, 43.8 percent to 38.6 percent for the duration of the game. The Highlanders also won the battle on the glass, 34-33. Radford led in bench points, 29-11. Jules and Moses had 19 of the bench’s 29 points. Radford turned the ball over 19 times and Vanderbilt scored 17 points off the turnovers. Walker led the Highlanders with six rebounds.
“You don’t get a trophy for losing a game so we’re disappointed,” Mike Jones said. “I love our fight. I thought we did well for a full 40 minutes. We competed with these guys in every aspect of the game and gave ourselves a good chance to win. We just didn’t take care of the ball and we just need to figure that out. We’ve done better the last few games but it’s been an Achilles heel for us that got us again today.”
Radford will resume conference play in Clinton, S.C., after an 11-day break for the holiday season. The Highlanders will face Presbyterian on Wednesday, Dec. 30th at 5 p.m., and then again on Thursday, Dec. 31st at 3 p.m.