DeSean Murray’s tip-in as time expired gave the Presbyterian College men’s basketball team a historic come-back 65-64 win over Radford in first round action at the Big South tournament being held Mar. 3-6, in Buies Creek, N.C. PC, which rallied from a late 12-point deficit, earned its first ever Big South tournament win in four tries.
The Blue Hose move to 11-19 and face #2-Winthrop Friday, March 4, in the Quarterfinals. Radford ends its season at 16-15.
After PC rallied from a 12-point deficit with a 22-4 run to take a six-point lead, 61-55, with 3:51 to go, Radford scored the next nine of the game’s 11 points, including a three-pointer and lay-up from Rashun Davis, to retake the lead, 64-63, just nine seconds remaining.
PC ran the ball down the court with Reggie Dillard going up with the lay-up. A block by Brandon Holcomb sent the ball to the hands of Will Adams, who shot a fade away jumper the just bounced off the rim. Murray was right there to tip-it in as time expired to send the Blue Hose to the quarterfinals.
Murray hit a jumper with 16:43 left to give the Blue Hose their first lead of the game, at 6-5 in the first half. A dunk by Ed Polite, Jr., and a lay-up by Cameron Jones ignited a Radford 21-8 run that saw the highlanders open up a 12-point, 26-14 lead, 8:43 to go.
PC scored the next six points, capped by a jumper from Ruben Arroyo, to cut the margin to six, 29-23, 2:44 remaining before the half. That would be the last score for PC with the Highlanders using a small 4-0 run to end the half with the 33-23 lead.
Murray scored PC’s first five points of the second half to help the Blue Hose cut the deficit to just seven, 35-28, 17:57 left, but five unanswered from Radford made it a 12-point game again, 40-28, just 40 seconds later.
The Blue Hose cut the margin to single digits a couple of times over the next five minutes, including eight off an Arroyo jumper at 15:31, but Radford seems to have an answer each time.
Dillard hit the team’s first three-pointer of the game at the 11:23 mark, with Janeil Jenkins adding another at 10:30 to cut Radford’s lead to six, 51-45. After Radford hit two free throws to make the score eight, Adams came up with the team’s third three in as many attempts, this one at 9:53 to cut the margin to five. An empty possession by the Highlanders and PC responded with a dunk by Ed Drew to make it a three-point game, nine to play.
With the Highlanders hitting just two of their last nine shots, PC took advantage, making it a one-point game off a Murray jumper at 7:53, with two free throws by Jenkins and another one by Drew at 6:39 giving the team the one-point, 55-54 lead, its first since early in the first half. A lay-up by Jenkins at 5:48 capped an 18-3 run by the Blue Hose.
PC extended its lead to six, 61-55, off an Arroyo lay-up at the 3:51 mark, but two quick Radford baskets made it a two-point game, 61-59, 1:56 to go. PC went back up by four a few seconds later, 63-59, 1:21 left.
Davis’ three at the 1:08 mark cut the margin to just one, 63-62, before he added a jumper to give the higher seed the lead with nine seconds left. That is all the time PC needed, as Murray was there with Adams’ rebound for the game-winner.
Murray, who had just eight points in the first half, finished with a team-leading 19. He pulled down seven rebounds as well. Dillard followed with 14 points and six boards. Jones recorded 18 points for Radford, followed by Davis with 15. Justin Cousin pulled down a team-leading six rebounds.
The Blue Hose turned the ball over 12 times, but just four in the second half. Radford had 10. The Highlanders held the 36-33 rebounding advantage and were eight-of-13 from the free throw line, compared to 14-of-16 for PC. The Highlanders hit 10 three-pointers, PC three. The Blue Hose shot 46.2% from the field, including 48.5% in the second half, while the Highlanders shot 37.7%.