Lancers challenge reigning champs before falling 71-64

Published 4:52 pm Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Longwood University’s men’s basketball team had the champ on the mat Saturday afternoon. Host Radford University just refused to stay down, a Longwood athletics press release highlighted.

Officials noted in the release that the reigning Big South champion Highlanders withstood hit after hit from the upset-minded Lancers and rode a game-high 24 points from Carlik Jones to a 71-64 comeback win in the Big South opener.

Longwood held the lead for the first 36 minutes of the game and built as large as a 12-point advantage in the second half, the release cited. But the Highlanders, 9-6 with the win, withstood the Lancers’ knockout blows and mounted a 31-12 run over the game’s final 10 minutes. That run erased Longwood’s lead for good with three minutes, 56 seconds to play and sent Radford to its eighth straight win over a Big South opponent.

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“We really executed poorly there at the end,” Lancers Head Coach Griff Aldrich said in the release. “We were sloppy defensively, missed several of our tags on the roll-man. We were blowing our gaps and left guys open. We didn’t front the post and just let them throw it right in there. … Then offensively in the second half, other than a few possessions, we were really out of sync.”

Redshirt senior guard Isaiah Walton led Longwood with 14 points.

The Lancers (10-6) host UNC Asheville on Thursday at 7 p.m.