Monday, December 22, 2014

GAME RECAP: Radford 74, Cornell 61

RADFORD — The Cornell Big Red had Radford spinning on its head at halftime of Sunday’s contest at Dedmon Center.
Led by sharpshooting forward Shonn Miller, the Ivy League intruders had strolled into the “Jiffy Pop” dome and buttered up the hosts with 52-percent shooting to unexpectedly secure a six-point cushion.
In the intermission sit down, the Highlanders got a strong sermon from their in-house doctor of defense, coach Mike Jones.
Jones’ stern order to put the visitors on lockdown obviously didn’t fall on deaf ears.
The Highlanders came out and stung Cornell with a 16-0 haymaker run to start the final 20 minutes and effectively put the hammer down on a 74-61 victory.
“The second half, man, our guys just made up their minds that they were going to just play the defense we’re capable of playing ... get stops, get rebounds, just an absolutely tremendous performance defensively the second half,” Jones said.
With Radford’s defense swarming like a bunch of stirred bees, Cornell made only four of 27 field-goal attempts in the final 20 minutes.
“Yeah, that was fun,” Jones said. “That was fun to see those guys really embrace. It’s difficult to play defense, to sit down in a stance and fight over screens, just be where you’re supposed to be and not let guys beat you off the dribble. And then when the shot goes up to block out, that’s difficult. I think this year, more so than last, our guys have embraced that.
Paced by a season-high 19 points by guard Rashun Davis, not to mention 12 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks by junior center Brandon Holcomb, Radford (8-4) won for the sixth time in seven games as the club enters its four-day Christmas break.
“We wanted to start off the second half fast,” Davis said. “We said we’ve got to put a stop to that because we want to get to a championship level so we have to play with a lot of energy, a lot of intensity.”
Holcomb , a 6-foot-7 Californian who entered the game averaging 6.3 points and 5.3 rebounds, took much of the game into his own hands and was rewarded with his first double-double performance in his three-year career.
“I would rather have the win,” he said. “It was definitely nice to finally get a double-double. I just want to help our team … anywhere I can, especially on the boards, just trying to go to the glass every time and snatch those tough rebounds.”
Jones certainly was impressed with what he witnessed.
“I thought his performance today in the second half was inspiring,” Jones said. “He got me fired up because he struggled a little bit in the first half, he had a dropdown from the ring that he let go out of bounds, I think he missed couple of free throws and he’s usually a really good free-throw shooter.
“He was a little down, but he’s a tough kid inside and he dug down and came out in the second half, man. He not only inspired me but I think he inspired his teammates with how hard he was playing and he shut the water off for Cornell in the paint. He just blocked everything and got every rebound and that really propelled us.”
When asked if it takes a lot to get him fired up, Jones smiled and said: “It take[s] more than it should to inspire me. I should be inspired by these guys showing up every day with a smile. I am demanding with those guys. I know what they’re capable of and I think I have to continue to be demanding for them to get their potential out of them.”
While Radford never quieted the 6-foot-7 Miller, who finished with 28 points, Cornell (5-5) didn’t have enough ammunition to hang with the deep Highlanders, who held a 22-3 edge in bench points. Guard Robert Hatter had 18 points for the Big Red, meaning the other nine guys who played were held to a collective 18 points.
“We’re a deep team,” Jones said. “We rely on our depth. We knew coming into the season that it was going to be an advantage for us. We’re going to continue trusting them.”
Now the Highlanders can relax a few days and enjoy Christmas.
“We’ll be in a good mood now,” Davis said with a grin.
And the demanding boss?
“I like the way our guys are playing right now, I like the way they’re competing defensively,” Jones said. “Hopefully, when they go home they can reflect on that and come back even hungrier after Christmas.”
Onuorah 0-1 1-2 1, Hatter 6-14 3-3 18, Cherry 2-12 0-0 5, Cancer 2-7 1-2 6, Miller 7-13 12-13 28, D. Smith 0-1 0-0 0, LaMore 0-0 3-4 3, Abdur-Ra’oof 0-1 0-0 0, Fallas 0-2 0-0 0, Tomic 0-1 0-0 0, Giddens 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-52 20-24 61.
Green 4-7 3-5 11, Davis 6-9 6-7 19, Price 3-9 3-3 10, Noreen 0-2 0-0 0, Holcomb 5-7 2-7 12, Brown 2-2 1-2 5, Owens 1-1 1-1 3, Jones 1-4 0-0 2, Anderson 3-6 1-1 8, Dyer 0-0 0-0 0, Carethers 1-6 2-2 4. Totals 26-53 19-28 74.
Halftime–Cornell 38-32. 3-Point Goals–Cornell 7-22 (Hatter 3-8, Miller 2-4, Cancer 1-2, Cherry 1-4, Abdur-Ra’oof 0-1, D. Smith 0-1, Fallas 0-2), Radford 3-11 (Davis 1-2, Anderson 1-2, Price 1-5, Jones 0-1, Noreen 0-1). Fouled Out–None. Rebounds–Cornell 27 (Miller 9), Radford 39 (Holcomb 12). Assists–Cornell 9 (Cancer, Cherry 3), Radford 9 (Davis 4). Total Fouls–Cornell 19, Radford 18. A–754.

RADFORD, Va. -- Radford exploded out of the gates in the second half with an 18-2 run to turn a six-point Big Red lead at the break into a 10-point Highlander advantage en route to 74-61 victory over Cornell on Sunday afternoon at the Dedmon Center. The loss overshadowed a dominant 28-point career-high effort by Shonn Miller and dropped the Big Red to 5-5 on the year. Radford improved to 8-4 on the year.

Miller surpassed his previous career best of 23 points thanks to 7-of-13 shooting from the floor and 2-of-4 from 3-point range to go along with a 12-of-13 day from the free-throw line. He just missed a double-double, chipping in nine rebounds, three steals and a blocked shot.

Robert Hatter added 18 points and three steals, but the rest of the Big Red scored only 15 points and were 4-of-25 from the floor. The Big Red shot just 15 percent from the floor after halftime and 33 percent for the entire game while surrendering 49 percent shooting the other way.

Radford had four players in double figures, with Rashun Davis posting 19 points, five rebounds and four assists to lead the way. Brandon Holcomb notched 12 points and 12 rebounds, Javonte Green had 11 points and five boards and RJ Price had 10 points. Radford had a decisive 39-27 edge on the backboards.

Both teams got off to hot starts, with Miller scoring half of Cornell's first 18 points to get an 18-13 edge seven minutes in. He hit his first five shots overall and later led by as many as eight after a Miller steal earned the senior a pair of free throws to make it 32-24 with 5:10 left in the half. Radford climbed badck within three, but Cherry ended the half by pulling up and connecting on his lone 3-pointer of the night to send the visitors into halftime leading 38-32.

Radford dominated the first six minutes of the second half, however, and that would turn out to be the difference.

Two minutes into the half the game was tied (38-38) and two minutes after that Radford led by eight (46-38). Cornell clawed back within five, but the Highlanders quickly brought it right back to 12 points. A steal and thunderous dunk by Miller made it a six-point game (55-49) with 8:48 left, but Davis ran it right back the other way and hit a 12-footer.That triggered a 9-3 run that pushed the Highlanders' lead into double figures with five minutes remaining. Cornell never got it back below seven points the rest of the way.

The Big Red will look to give itself and Newman Nation a little early Christmas present when it visits Siena on Tuesday, Dec. 23 at 7 p.m. at the Times Union Center. The game will be televised on Time Warner Cable Sports.

RADFORD, Va. - Brandon Holcomb recorded his first career double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds and added a pair of blocked shots as well to keep Radford (8-4) perfect at home this season at 5-0 with a 74-61 hard fought victory over a much-improved Cornell (5-5) team. Half of Holcomb's points were the first six of the second half to erase a 38-32 Big Red halftime lead. RU opened the second half with an 18-2 run.

Coming back to win from a halftime deficit for the first time this season, Radford outscored Cornell 42-23 in the final 20 minutes and held the visitors to 14.8 percent from the floor (4-27). This after Cornell shot 52.0 percent in the first half, including five three-point baskets to carry the six-point lead into the lockerroom.

Holcomb erased the margin on his own scoring six straight points and helping lead the Highlanders to capture a lead they would not give up. R.J. Price nailed a three-pointer with 17:21 to play, and Radford had the lead for good. Price followed with a three-point play and by the five minute mark of the seond half Radford had pushed the lead to double digits, 50-40.

"Our guys just made up their minds that we were going to play the defense we are capable of playing in the second half," Radford head coach Mike Jones said. The second half performance shows his team's progress. In four seasons heading the RU program, the Highlanders are now 7-42 when trailing at the half, including Sunday's win.

"Brandon's performance in the second half was inspiring. He got me fired up," Jones said. "He inspired me and his teammates with how hard he played."

On a day when the top two scorers for Radford finished with 21 combined points - 11 from Javonte Green and 10 from Price - it was Holcomb and Rashun Davis who carried the load. Davis scored 11 of his season high 19 in the first half and kept the Highlanders within reach. The RU bench outscored Cornell's reserves 22-3, and the Highlanders dominated inside, 38-16 in the paint and 39-27 on the glass.

"We are a deep team," Jones said. "We rely on our depth and knew coming into the season that it was going to be an advantage for us."

Radford breaks for the holiday before returning to the Dedmon Center on Sunday, December 28 for its final non-conference tilt of the season vs. Central Penn.


BigRed1965 said...

The first half was an impressive one for the Big Red. And then they collapsed. Go figure. In any case, Shonn Miller really shone with his agility underneath, sweet shooting touch, and coolness on the foul line. He really has to be a candidate for Ivy POY along with Saunders, Lo, and Sears.

Anonymous said...

Radford whupped on both our boys and Siena about the same in their building during the past couple days.

The Newman faithful should expect a highly competitive contest tonight that could go right down to the wire.