RADFORD, Va. - The Mars Hill men's basketball team (6-4) opened up 2019 in exhibition play versus Radford (8-6), falling by a score of 80-51 Tuesday afternoon on the road.
The Lions jumped out to an early 6-2 lead with four points coming from Ja'Shawn Brooks. Mars Hill held the lead until the 4:59 mark where two free throws from Ed Polite, Jr. tied the game at nine. The squads battled tough over the next 5:09, where the lead changed six times until a three-pointer from Caleb Tanner for the Highlanders knotted the game at 18-all.
With just over four minutes to play in the half, a jumper from Reggie Wright pulled Mars Hill within two, but a Radford 7-0 run would put the Lions behind by nine with 1:20 left in the opening stanza. The last four points of the half for Mars Hill were scored by Dotson Griffin, all from the free throw line, but Radford maintained the nine point advantage, entering the second half up 40-31.
Brooks and Javonte Cook had seven points apiece to lead the Lions, followed by Griffin's six. Chris Barnette collected three rebounds. Leading the way for Radford in the first half was Devonnte Holland, who scored 11 points, going 4-of-6 from the floor. Travis Fields, Jr. added nine in the half.
Radford continued to extend their lead, opening the second half on another 7-0 run with the Lions finding themselves down by 16 less than four minutes into the half. Barnette came alive offensively, scoring the next nine points for the Lions to bring them within 11, the closest Mars Hill would come for the remainder of the contest.
At the 11:19 mark, Radford began to pull away even further, reeling off 12 of the next 14 points to go up by 24 with less than four minutes to play. They closed out the game on an 8-0 run to pick up their eighth win of the season.
Barnette led all players with nine points in the half. Austin Gilyard scored five off the bench. Tanner had a half-high eight points for the Highlanders while Carlik Jones chipped in with six.
Both Barnette and Cook had a team-high nine points for the Lions, while Barnette and Matthew Powell each had four rebounds. Holland led all players with 16 points. Polite, Jr. (12), Tanner (11) and Jones (10) all finished in double-digits while Polite, Jr. led all players with nine rebounds.
The Lions host Wingate in a return to South Atlantic Conference play on Saturday, January 5th inside Stanford Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.