ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Amir Johnson scored with 1.5 seconds left to lift Big South-leader Radford to a 66-65 Big South Conference victory over homestanding UNC Asheville Saturday afternoon.
The Highlanders (15-10, 12-2 BSC) trailed 39-31 at halftime but rallied to win their sixth straight game and remain unbeaten in road games in Big South Conference play at 7-0.
The Bulldogs (12-14, 8-7 BSC) had a three-game winning streak snapped with the heartbreaking loss. UNC Asheville led for most of the game but could not put the visitors away.
The Bulldogs were led by freshman guard J.P. Primm with 17 points. John Williams added 16 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots. Sean Smith had 14 points and seven rebounds. Reid Augst contributed 11 points.
Radford was led by Artisom Parakhouski with a double-double as he scored 15 points and collected 14 rebounds. He also blocked four shots. Kenny Thomas and Joey Lynch-Flohr had 14 points each. Johnson added 12 points and a game-high seven assists.
"This is a tough loss," admitted UNC Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach. "We played as hard as we could and battled against a very good Radford team but a few mistakes really hurt us in the end. We’ve bounced back before from tough losses, and we will bounce back from this one."
Lynch-Flohr scored on a lay-up to give Radford a 62-61 lead at the 1:21 mark. It was the Highlanders’ first lead since early in the game. The Bulldogs came back and took the lead when Augst scored on a driving lay-up with 58 seconds left to put Asheville in front 63-62.
RU missed a three-point from Johnson but Thomas got the rebound and scored when Williams was called for goal-tending at the 22-second mark.
The Bulldogs got the ball to Smith, who scored on a driving lay-up and was fouled with 7.3 seconds left. Asheville led 65-54. Smith missed the free throw and Johnson came down with the rebound. He got the ball down to Johnson who quickly drove down the floor and hit a lay-up at the 1.5 second mark to give the Highlanders the lead and the win.
Asheville used red-hot shooting from beyond the arc to lead in the first half. The Bulldogs were a sizzling 10-of-17 from the three-point line and led 39-31 at halftime. Primm scored 13 of his points in the opening half and knocked down three treys, including a long three-pointer as the first-half buzzer sounded to give the Dogs the eight-point lead.
Radford quickly rallied in the second half behind Parahouski. The junior center scored points in the first five minutes of the half to get the Highlanders back in the game at 43-41.
The Bulldogs managed to keep Radford at bay behind the play of Williams. He scored 11 of his points in the second half to keep Asheville in front.
The Highlanders out-rebounded the Bulldogs 40-32 and out-scored Asheville 34-20 in the paint.
Both teams face tough Big South road games in their next game. UNC Asheville travels to High Point Wednesday night (Feb. 18) at 7 p.m. Radford plays at Charleston Southern Monday night at 7:30 p.m.