RADFORD, Va. – The Grace College men’s basketball team gave NCAA Division I Radford a thoroughly competitive game on Friday at the Dedmon Center.
The Lancers (8-8) were eventually exposed for lack of size as Radford pulled away late for an 82-58 victory.
Grace was playing its first D1 opponent since 2009 when they traveled to Indiana University. Friday’s game against Radford was a countable affair for both teams.
Tre Olive and Jaret Sons led Grace in scoring with 10 points apiece off the bench. Grace’s reserves scored half of the team’s points (29).
Logan Godfrey got Grace off to a good start. He blocked Radford’s first shot and then promptly made a fastbreak layup to give Grace a 2-0 lead.
Later, a 3-pointer from Stephen Halstead put the Lancers ahead 7-3 and forced the Highlanders (5-7) to burn a timeout after just 2:34 of action.
Radford settled down to tie the game entering the first media timeout. The teams traded hoops for the next few minutes until back-to-back 3-pointers from Sons and Olive lifted Grace to a 19-17 advantage.
Grace’s 3-point barrage continued as Sons drilled another triple to put the Lancers ahead by seven.
The Lancers continued to shock the Highlanders, holding a 29-22 lead entering the final minutes of the half. But Radford made its first run of the game, scoring nine straight to take the lead on a fastbreak dunk with 3:44 left.
Grace responded with another 3-pointer from Sons, his third of the half, to regain the lead. But the Highlanders countered with an 8-0 run to close the half, entering the locker room with a 39-32 lead.
Both teams shot 44 percent from the floor, and each side made five 3-pointers. The Lancers led for 53 percent of the period, but Grace committed 10 turnovers to hurt its cause.
Radford charged into the start of the second half, wasting little time to open up a 12-point lead.
Grace missed six of its first eight field goals after halftime which allowed the Highlanders to claim a 52-36 with 16 minutes remaining.
The Lancers threatened when Braxton Linville converted an and-1, and Halstead knocked down a jumper to cut the deficit to 14.
Grace scored on three straight possessions, capped off by an and-1 from Charlie Warner to make the score 63-50 with 8:03 on the clock. But Radford answered each time with a bucket to keep Grace at arm’s length.
Yet another and-1, this time from Olive, put Grace within 67-53 with 6:12 to play. But Radford answered with a 3-pointer and a dunk to reestablish a comfortable cushion.
Radford eventually pulled away in the final minutes as the Highlanders’ height began to wear down Grace. The Highlanders coasted to a 24-point win as Grace emptied its bench in the closing minutes.
In the second half, Radford made 53 percent of its shots and outrebounded Grace by 12. Grace was also shut out (0-for-7) from the 3-point line after halftime.
Linville and Chad Hoffer each scored seven, and Halstead ended with 5 points, 4 assists and 2 steals. Warner scored seven off the bench, and Godfrey ended the game with four points and eight boards.
Erik Bowen (6 points) and John Swanson (2) also registered a point against D1 competition.
The Lancers will resume play on Jan. 4 with a doubleheader at St. Francis. Grace will return home with another doubleheader on Jan. 7 against Goshen.