Radford Uses Late Run to Top Navy in Season Opener, 76-65
Jordan Sugars recorded career highs in points (16) and rebounds (16) against Radford.
Nov. 13, 2009
RADFORD, Va. -- Radford used a 14-2 run over the final two minutes to rally past the Navy men's basketball team on Friday night in front of a raucous crowd of 2,765 at the Dedmon Center. The loss dropped Navy to 0-1 overall, while Radford, the defending Big South Conference Champion and 2009-10 preseason favorite, improved to 1-0 overall.
The Mids held a 63-62 after T.J. Topercer converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 3:31 to play. The Mids then had two chances to add to the lead, but Philip Martin rebounded his own miss and scored on a putback to give Radford a 64-63 lead, starting Radford's game-ending run with two minutes left.
Navy had trailed 62-55 with 5:16 to play, but embarked on an 8-0 run to take its last lead of the game at 63-62.
"I'm very proud of our effort. This was an awesome enviroment to play in and they have a very quality team, and a future pro at some level in Art Parakhouski," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "I thought our guys fought and gave a very valiant effort. We were in a hole early with Mark (Veazey) and Jeremy (Wilson) in foul trouble and we had a problem with the foul discrepancy. It really held the flow of the game back for us, but I thought our effort was awesome."
After a see-saw first 15 minutes, Navy appeared to take control during the last five minutes of the first half. Navy led 26-24, then embarked 7-0 run to grab its largest lead of the game at 33-24. The Mids still led 37-28, when Blake Smith heaved in a 50-footer at the halftime buzzer to cut the Mids' lead to 37-31 at the break.
The Mids limited 2009 Big South Player of the Year Art Parakhouski to just two points in the opening 20 minutes and held the Highlanders to just 37.9 percent from the field.
Navy scored the opening basket of the second half to push the lead to 39-31, but Radford then went on a 23-8 run to grab a 54-47 lead with 10:52 to play. Parakhouski and fellow big man Joey Lynch-Flohr went to work on the inside, combining for 29 of their 41 combined points in the second half. Parakhouski had 18 of his 20 in the final 20 minutes.
"In he first half, we did a great job of not letting it in the paint. There were some plays, they literally just threw the ball at the rim and he would go get it," said Lange. "It was basically undefendable for us with Mark and Jeremy out. With that being said, we could have had better alertness in the second half. We didn't carry it over from the first half. We need to tighten it up mentally as we move on this year. We'll be fine."
The Mids shot just 32.4 percent (24-of-74) from the field, including 9-of-33 (27.3 pct.) from three-point range. Navy also shot just 50.0 percent (8-of-16) from the free throw line, had 15 turnovers and was outrebounded, 50-45.
Radford shot 47.5 percent (28-of-59) from the field, but just 15.4 percent (2-of-13) from three-point range. Radford was 18-of-33 (.545) from the free throw line and was guilty of 18 turnovers.
Chris Harris led the Mids with 21 points, while Jordan Sugars had a career-high 16 points and 16 rebounds. Romeo Garcia added a career-best 13 points with eight rebounds. T.J. Topercer had eight points off the bench, while O.J. Avworo had five points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
"We needed guys to step up tonight and Jordan and Romeo did that. They really extended on Chris, and he had about four or five shots that I questioned, but he has to take shots like that," said Lange. "Jordan and Romeo stepped up when we needed production, so that was good to see. I was disappointed in our inside play. Our bigs are better than that. To be good this year, we are going to need production from them. We became way too reliant on the three-pointer with them on the bench."
Lynch-Flohr had 21 points and 11 rebounds while Parakhouski had 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Highlanders. Blake Smith had 17 points for Radford.
Navy will be in action on Sunday when it concludes its two-game roadswing with a 4:00 pm tip at Longwood.
# GO NAVY #