"We just fought for 40 minutes," coach Greg White said. "It wasn't pretty. We're still making some careless mistakes."
Marshall was forced to rally back from a 12-point deficit early in the first half. The Herd cut the lead at halftime to only six points, as Radford held a 35-29 edge.
In the second half, two Ronny Dawn three-pointers helped Marshall pull even with Radford, 41-41, with 15:15 remaining. J.R. VanHoose's 17-footer gave Marshall the lead at 43-41 on the very next possesion. From that point on, it was a seesaw battle, with the Herd and the Highlanders swapping the lead over the next 10 minutes of play. Marshall utilized a 1-3-1 zone to keep the hot-handed Highlanders at bay.
Turnovers nearly doomed both squads down the stretch. Only nine points were scored by both teams over the final 4:43, mainly due to turnovers on both sides of the ball.
Radford guard (and Huntington, WV native) Mike Hornbuckle went out in the second half with a sprained knee. "They were unsure of themselves without Hornbuckle on the floor," Marshall coach Greg White added after the game. " I know that hurt their club."
Marshall was down 61-60 with only 1:45 remaining. VanHoose missed a pair of free throws that could have pulled Marshall ahead. Radford's Andrey Savtchenko stole an errant MU pass with 1:45 left, but the Highlanders couldn't convert the turnover into points on the other end. Marshall's Tamar Slay hit a three-pointer from the top-right of the circle with only 1:01 left to give Marshall the 63-61 lead.
Radord tied it up on Savtchenko's driving basket on the next possession. However, it would be Tamar Slay's decision to not shoot on a play clearly designed for him to do just that on the following possession that would ice the win for the Herd. Slay went up for the running shot at the top of the key, only to spot Latece Williams open underneath. Slay dished off the pass to Williams, and Williams put in the easy lay-in from the right baseline. Marshall had the lead for good, 65-63. "Beautiful play," approved White.
VanHoose then made up for his earlier free throw misses, hitting 2-of-3 after being fouled on the next two possessions, to ice the score at 67-63.
"Our best free throw shooters didn't make them. Tamar goes 5-for-8. J.R. goes 2-for-6, which is unheard of," White added.
VanHoose again led all Marshall scorers with 26 points, 15 rebounds, for the double-double.
With the win, Marshall has now won 4 consecutive games, two on the road against Big South Conference opponents in Radford and Winthrop. Marshall's record improves to 4-3 overall, and the Herd prepares to open MAC play this Saturday as Northern Illinois visits Huntington for the 7:30pm tip-off. "It's a huge momentum-builder for us," heading into conference play, summed up Greg White. Radford falls to 4-5 overall, and moves on to play at East Tennessee State University this Saturday evening.