Presbyterian and Radford slugged it out in the latter of a rousing Big South couplet at Templeton Center on Saturday, with the Blue Hose earning a split with the Highlanders, 65-63.
Balanced offense and timely defense set the tone for Presbyterian (3-3, 1-1 conference) as four starters scored in double figures.
Radford had won the opener on Wednesday, 71-65.
The Highlanders’ Chyree Walker converted a difficult “and-1” to cut the margin down to two points with 42 seconds left. Radford (4-6, 3-1) had a chance to tie at the end, but a layup from Quinton Morton-Robertson failed to drop.
Back and forth the teams ebbed and flowed through 10 lead changes and nine ties. Neither team shot well, though the Blue Hose fared slightly better from the floor overall and behind the arc. Presbyterian shot 39 percent to Radford’s 37 overall. From three, Presbyterian shot 33 percent to Radford’s 25.
In the first of two, PC had been severely outmatched in the paint, giving up 42 points, while only putting up 14 themselves. This time was different, with Presbyterian outscoring Radford 24-22 in the paint. The Blue Hose also had more success with second-chance opportunities this time, outscoring the Highlanders 12-8.
Partly in response to the spread of the coronavirus, the Big South has revised the schedules of member schools, holding 2-game series at one site instead of a game apiece at alternating venues. The Blue Hose will not visit Radford this year. Conversely, the women’s teams played on Wednesday and Thursday at the Highlanders’ home court in the Virginia Highlands.
As has commonly been the case in the young season, freshman Rayshon Harrison led the Blue Hose in scoring with 13 points. Brandon Younger and Trevon Reddish contributed 12 points each to the winning effort. Ambaka Le Gregam added 10.
Forward Dravon Mangum led the Highlanders with 16 points. Center Lewis Djonkam had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
PC led by as many as seven points (14-7) in the first half, but Radford led by one (31-30) at halftime.
With 3:15 remaining, the Blue Hose led by five (61-56), but the edge was short-lived as the Highlanders’ Xavier Lipscomb responded almost immediately with a 3-pointer.
The Blue Hose will look to move back over .500 on a trip to North Carolina to play UNC Asheville in a 2-game series on Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 4-5. The opener will be televised on ESPNU at 5 p.m. The Tuesday game tips at 2 p.m.