RADFORD, Va. – Andrew Rowsey scored a Dedmon Center-record 41 points, but Radford had too much on offense as the Highlanders downed UNC Asheville 102-92 in Big South Conference action at the Dedmon Center Thursday night.
Rowsey became just the sixth player in school history to score more than 40 points. He’s the first Bulldog to score 40 points since Ricky Chatman had 41 points against James Madison in the 1987-88 season. The freshman guard went 14-of-28 from the field, knocked down four 3-pointers and went 9-of-11 from the free throw line.
But Radford picked up 21 points from Ya Ya Anderson and Rashun Davis plus 16 points and nine rebounds from Javonte Green and 11 points from Brandon Holcome to overcome Rowsey’s brilliance.
“We just didn’t defend tonight,” stated Bulldog coach Nick McDevitt. “We let them drive the lane all night, and they scored at will or got fouled. Radford went to the free throw line 50 times and it’s hard to win a game like that.
“Our guys battled and scored 92 points despite not shooting the ball really well,” added McDevitt. “But in the end, we just didn’t do the job on defense. We played some good defense early in the game but didn’t do it the rest of the game, and you’re not going to beat a team the caliber of Radford by not playing defense. They have too many weapons and are too good of a team.”
McDevitt praised Rowsey’s play.
“Andrew scored 41 points on 14-of-28 field goal attempts. That’s pretty amazing,” commented McDevitt. “He did a great job leading us back. I just wish we could have gotten a win tonight”
The loss ended a three-game winning streak for Asheville (13-12, 7-4 BSC). The Highlanders (17-9, 7-4 BSC) ended a six-game losing streak to the Bulldogs and enjoyed their first win over the Blue & White since the 2009-10 season.
Asheville received a season-high 15 points from Corey Littlejohn off the bench. He scored 13 points in the second half. Jaron Lane and Sam Hughes finished with 10 points. D.J. Cunningham was limited to just 17 minutes due to foul trouble as he scored six points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked two shots. He now has 253 career blocks and needs just three to pass John Williams (255) to become the school’s leader.
The Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead thanks to some red-shooting from the field. Rowsey scored 12 early points as Asheville led 25-11.
But Anderson hit back-to-back three-pointers and Radford got going offensively. The Highlanders shot 51 percent from the field and hit 18-of-26 free throws to forge a 54-45 halftime lead.
Radford built the lead to 13 early in the second half only to see the Bulldogs rally behind Littlejohn and Rowsey.
The duo combined for 15 points over a five-minute stretch and cut the RU lead to one on three different occasions.
But each time the Highlanders had an answer as R.J. Price scored all nine of his points in the final eight minutes of the contest.
Davis also hit two late treys to help seal the RU victory.
“We just couldn’t get a stop all night,” admitted McDevitt. “Radford did a good job answering our runs. They seemed to always hit a big shot when they had to have one. We’ve got to play better defense.”
UNC Asheville stays on the road Saturday night when the Bulldogs travel to Presbyterian College for a South Division battle with the Blue Hose starting at 7:45. Saturday’s game can be seen on ESPN3.
The Bulldogs finish the regular-season 3-3 against teams from the North Division…Asheville is 3-3 on the road in Big South Conference road games…Rowsey has scored in double figures in 21 straight games and has scored at least 23 points in five different contests…the Bulldogs were out-rebounded (43-38) for the third straight game…Cunningham now has 740 career rebounds…Lane scored 10 points to move into 25th place on the school’s career scoring list at 1,137 points.