Radford nips Seahawks on buzzer beater

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Kion Brown’s soft hook shot in the paint bounced three times and rolled in to lift Radford over UNCW 69-67  in a non-conference men’s basketball matinee Saturday at the Dedmon Center.

Radford, returning to the floor following a seven-day break, won its second straight game to improve to 7-5 this season. UNCW lost its third in a row and stands 5-3 after three consecutive road losses.

The UNCW men's basketball team dropped its third straight game on Saturday. Photo courtesy- UNCW sports
The UNCW men’s basketball team dropped its third straight game on Saturday. Photo courtesy- UNCW sports

After UNCW redshirt senior guard Craig Ponder tied the game at 67-all on an acrobatic layup with 18 ticks left, Radford worked the ball into Brown and the lanky senior forward from Richmond connected from close range over a flock of Seahawks.

“It was a tough shot and it was very unfortunate to lose that way,” said Kevin Keatts, UNCW’s second-year head coach. “We knew they would try to get the ball into Kion and we did a good job of defending him. I’m proud of the way our guys played. We’ve lost three tough games and they’ve all been on the road.”

Brown, a 6-7, 210-pound hook shot specialist, led all scorers in the contest with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting – almost all in the lane around the bucket. Senior guard Taj Owens was the only other player in double figures for Radford with 16 points.

Junior guard Chris Flemmings paced UNCW in scoring for the sixth time in seven games with 16 points and added eight rebounds. Three other Seahawks – C.J. Bryce (14), Ponder (10) and Jordon Talley (10) – reached double digits to give UNCW four in double figures. Bryce’s total matched his career high set in a win at East Tennessee State on Nov. 28.

Leading 34-31 at the break, UNCW scored the first six points of the final period to jump ahead by nine points at the 17:08 mark before Radford battled back to take a 65-58 lead with 3:19 remaining when Owens converted both ends of a bonus situation.

But the Seahawks rallied in the final minutes with a 7-0 run and caught the Highlanders at 65-all on a Flemings layup down the middle of the lane with just over a minute to play.

Brown then lofted in a hook shot with 35 seconds on the clock to put the Highlanders on top 67-65 before Ponder knifed through the lane for his game-tying layup, setting up another Brown hook shot that proved the game-winner.

UNCW shot 42.6 percent on the day, connecting on 26-of-61 field goals, but struggled again from deep, hitting just 2-of-13 three-point attempts.

The Seahawks next head over to Louisville, Ky., to participate in Louisville’s Billy Minardi Classic on Tuesday (Dec. 22) and Wednesday (Dec. 23) at the KFC Yum! Center. UNCW faces Utah Valley of the Western Athletic Conference on Tuesday in a 6:15 p.m. tip-off.