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Norfolk State beats Radford, improves to 2-0

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Posted at 3:13 AM, Nov 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-29 03:13:22-05

HARRISONBURG, Va. (NSUSpartans.com) – Radford gave the Norfolk State men's basketball team a quick scare near the end, but the Spartans would not be denied in a 57-54 win over the Highlanders on Saturday evening at the Atlantic Union Bank Center on the campus of James Madison.

Radford never led until there was less than two minutes to go in the contest. The Spartans clamped down on defense the entire night, and they did it one more time at the end to pull out the win.

A pair of free throws from senior Mustafa Lawrence and a layup from senior Efstratios Kalogerias, combined with a couple of defensive stops, gave NSU its second straight win over an in-state opponent.

"It was a hard-fought win, and when you're on the road an ugly win is better than a pretty loss," said head coach Robert Jones. "We've been preaching defense the whole time, and today our defense carried us to the win."

The Spartans improved to 2-0 on the season after hitting 9-of-18 from the 3-point line. Senior Kashaun Hicks and sophomore Daryl Anderson each went 3-of-5 from deep with 12 points to lead all scorers.

After knocking off James Madison on Friday, NSU led by as much as 15 in the first half on Saturday. The Highlanders (0-2) could not find their offense in those first 20 minutes. They closed the gap in the second, however, but some missed layups near the end hurt their chances to complete the comeback.

Radford, in fact, missed its first 12 shots of the game as offense was nowhere to be found for either team in the early going. Hicks got NSU on the right track with a pair of 3-pointers and three free throws after getting fouled on another attempt from beyond the arc. Senior Devante Carter's 3-pointer stretched the lead to 20-5 at the 8:50 mark.

It took 13 minutes for the Highlanders to hit their first field goal. They finally got going with a 9-2 run that made it 24-16 with four minutes left in the half. Anderson, however, knocked down a trey and completed a 4-point play, and sophomore Tyrese Jenkins' second-chance 3 gave the Spartans a 34-20 lead at the break.

The Highlanders shot just 18 percent in the first 20 minutes, 33 percent for the game on 16-of-49 shooting.

Radford had much better luck in the second half. The Highlanders began the second half on a 10-2 run to cut the Spartan lead to six. After NSU called timeout, Hicks and senior Kyonze Chavis each had 3-pointers to get the lead back to double digits. The Highlanders closed the gap with a 12-2 run before Anderson knocked one down from the left wing for a four-point edge.

Dante Moses converted a layup with 1:55 to go for RU's only lead at 54-53, but that was it. Lawrence hit two free throws with 1:20 on the clock, and Kalogerias' layup with 23.5 seconds on the clock forced Radford to take a desperation 3-pointer at the end.

Despite a solid night from the 3-point line, the Spartans made just 36 percent overall. They did outscore Radford 16-6 in points off turnovers. Carter also scored in double figures with 10 points.

Quinton Morton-Robertson led RU with 12 points, one of three players in double figures. Chryee Walker's 10 rebounds helped the Highlanders to a 40-35 edge on the glass. They also outscored NSU 14-5 in fastbreak points.

The Spartans will host ODU on Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Joseph Echols Hall, NSU's first home game against the Monarchs in more than 50 years.