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Big first half leads to dominating win for Radford

Radford beats Charleston Southern on the road
Radford beats Charleston Southern on the road (WSLS)

CHARLESTON, S.C. – he Radford men’s basketball team took its first lead with 18:04 on the clock in the first half and never let it go with a dominant offensive first half performance en route to a 79-64 win over Charleston Southern on Saturday night. 

Radford (7-6, 6-1 Big South) shot 56.7 percent from the floor (17-of-30) and was efficient from beyond the arc making 4-of-8 in the first half. Fah’Mir Ali led with 12 points through the first 20 minutes, leading the Highlanders. He eventually went on to lead all players with a career-high 20 points. 

Radford jumped out to a 12-5 lead through the first five minutes of the game. Even though the Highlanders led for a majority of the half, Phlandrous Fleming cut the Highlander lead to four with 7:55 to play. Minutes later the Highlanders pushed the lead to 11 points, 42-31, with just under four minutes remaining. 

Every time the Buccaneers (1-8, 0-5 Big South) cut the lead to under double-digits, Radford hit a basket, extending the lead to back to double-digits. Eventually, the Highlander advantage grew to 12, the largest of the half, with 53 seconds to play. However, an Emorie Knox 3-pointer made it a single-digit game through the first period. 

Despite tying a season-high 49 points in the first half on the offensive side of the ball, Radford allowed 40 on the defensive end, which was the most by any team all season. The Big South’s Preseason Player of the Year, Fleming, led all players with 18 points but ended with 20 after being held to just two points in the second half thanks to a stingy Highlander defense. 

The defense stepped up in a big way and held the Bucs to just 24 points and 30.8 percent shooting in the second half. CSU only made eight made field goals in the half, including one 3-pointer going 1-for-8. For the game, the Buccaneers tallied a 36.8 percent field goal percentage, which is nearly six points lower than their season average. 

The second half was a lot of the same as the first for Radford as the team pushed its lead to 22 points late in the half. The Highlanders shot 50.0 percent in the second half and ended with a 53.7 percent shooting performance, including 42.9 percent from beyond the arc. The 79 points scored also tied the most in a game this season. Radford has scored 70 or more points in four of the last five games. 

Stat of the Game

Freshman Fah’Mir Ali’s season-high 20 points marks the first time this season that any player has scored 20 or more points. 

Inside the Box Score

Radford had 11 of its 12 players score, including Jordan Hemphill scoring his first point as a Highlander. Josiah Jeffers had his second straight game in double-figure scoring with 10 points. Lewis Djonkam, Chyree Walker and Shaquan Jules were all in double-double territory. Djonkam had eight points, seven rebounds and a career-high four steals, while Walker had seven points and eight rebounds. Jules chipped in eight points with six boards. The Highlanders outscored the Buccaneers in the paint, 38-14.