In a scene straight out of March Madness, the Radford Highlanders pulled off a stunning 66-65 upset over the West Virginia Mountaineers in the final seconds of their Big 12/Mountain West Challenge matchup at the WVU Coliseum.
West Virginia, ranked 18th in the nation and boasting a boisterous home crowd, seemed poised for victory after leading by as many as eight points in the second half. The Mountaineers, anchored by RaeQuan Battle’s double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds on his homecoming debut, controlled the tempo for much of the game.
However, the resilient Highlanders refused to back down. Led by DaQuan Smith’s 18 points and Bryan Antoine’s clutch 15-point performance, Radford chipped away at the lead throughout the second half. With just under a minute remaining and the score tied at 65, the tension in the arena was palpable.
Then, the drama unfolded. West Virginia sophomore guard Bryan Antoine missed the front end of a one-and-one, handing the ball back to Radford with a precious 11 seconds left. In a seemingly chaotic scramble, the Highlanders found Smith streaking towards the basket. In one smooth motion, he received the pass, evaded a desperate defender, and launched a hanging jumper just before the buzzer. The ball arced through the air, then swished through the net as the clock struck zero, sending the Radford bench into pandemonium.
The stunned silence from the West Virginia crowd was quickly replaced by an eruption of joy from the Radford contingent. Players mobbed Smith as confetti rained down on the court, celebrating a victory that will undoubtedly be etched in Radford basketball history.
“I just wanted to give my team a chance to win,” Smith said amidst the post-game euphoria. “I saw the lane open up, and I just went for it. I can’t believe it went in.”
For West Virginia, the bitter disappointment of letting victory slip away in the final seconds was palpable. Coach Bob Huggins lamented his team’s missed opportunities and defensive lapses in the closing moments.
“We had this game under control,” Huggins said, frustration evident in his voice. “We have to learn to close games out. Credit to Radford, they played hard and made a big shot. But this one hurts.”
While the result may sting for West Virginia, Radford’s upset victory carries significant implications. It serves as a major statement for the Highlanders, proving they can compete with top-tier programs even on the road. Radford’s win adds another exciting chapter to the already captivating narrative of the Big 12/Mountain West Challenge, showcasing the competitive spirit and unpredictable nature of college basketball.
As the confetti settles and the echoes of the winning buzzer fade, one thing is certain: the underdog Radford Highlanders have etched their name into the annals of West Virginia basketball history with this improbable victory. Their stunning upset stands as a testament to the power of perseverance, clutch play, and unwavering belief in the face of adversity.
- Radford stuns West Virginia 66-65 in the final seconds thanks to DaQuan Smith’s game-winning shot.
- Mountaineers controlled the tempo but missed clutch free throws and defensive assignments in the final minute.
- Highlanders display resilience and clutch play to pull off the upset victory on the road.
- Radford’s win carries significant implications for the Big 12/Mountain West Challenge and solidifies their status as a competitive program.