December 7, 2014
Radford rallies to slip past Tech
By Jimmy Robertson
Radford (5-3) 392968
Virginia Tech (4-4) 303666
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 5,394
  • High Points: 12 - Adam Smith
  • High Rebounds: 6 - Devin Wilson

BLACKSBURG — Despite four players scoring in double figures, Virginia Tech didn’t make the plays in the final four minutes of the game and fell to New River rival Radford 68-66 in a non-conference game at Cassell Coliseum on Sunday.

The loss left the Hokies at 4-4 on the season – three of those by three points or less. Radford moved to 5-3 overall, beating an ACC school for the first time in program history.

“I don’t think we played hard enough to win a game,” Tech coach Buzz Williams said. “I think that’s why we lost. That’s not me being sarcastic. We have a negative margin when we start. We have nine players in uniform when we start and five of them are freshmen, so we’re at a negative. Every player on their team is a junior or senior except for one. They’ve done an unbelievable job of building that program the right way.

“So we’re fighting from behind. So if you have to argue or scream about playing hard, then the margin becomes more of a negative.”

R.J. Price scored a game-high 25 points for the Highlanders. He made 9-of-17 from the floor and hit 5-of-13 from beyond the 3-point arc, and behind him, Radford rallied from a 66-60 deficit with a little more than two minutes left, outscoring the Hokies 8-0 to win the game.

The big play came out of a Radford timeout with 39 seconds left. The Highlanders decided to press, and 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.

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,” 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.

“We didn’t guard them,” Williams said. “That would be part of it. If they’re making one out of every two, you’re probably not very good defensively.

“I thought they played harder than we did. I thought they competed way harder than we did. They got nearly every 50-50 ball. I thought they deserved the right to win.”

Tech returns to action next Sunday when it takes on Alabama A&M. Tipoff is slated for 3 p.m.

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