Radford knocks off VMI to take Big South title
Radford, VA (Sports Network) - Art Parakhouski led a balanced attack with 26 points and 18 rebounds as Radford punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament with a 108-94 victory over VMI in the Big South Conference final.
Chris McEachin tallied 18 points for the Highlanders (21-11), who finished with 12 wins in their final 13 contests and reached the Big Dance for the first time since 1998.
"It's a wonderful day for us," said Radford coach Brad Greenberg. "These guys are a great group of kids. They not only aspired to do this, but they actually did the work. Our staff, has been together for two years and they are unbelievable as well."
Joey Lynch-Flohr added 17 points with 11 boards, Amir Johnson had 16 points and Kenny Thomas posted 15 with 10 rebounds.
Austin Kenon racked up a game-high 34 points for the Keydets (24-8), who saw their four-game win streak halted and their dreams for an NCAA berth dashed.
Chavis Holmes poured in 21 points while Travis Holmes added 12 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.
VMI led 14-5 early on but Radford erased that with a 22-8 run to go up 27-22 on a Lynch-Flohr jumper with 9:11 left in the half. The Keydets responded with an 11-4 burst for a four-point bulge on a Michael Sparks layup, but two straight buckets by Eric Hall drew Radford even, 33-33.
Johnson then drained a three and the Highlanders seized control, going ahead by as many as eight before taking a 50-46 lead to the break.
Momentum continued to swing early in the second half as Radford was up 54-49 early before VMI rallied for a 58-56 edge on a Keith Gabriel make.
Parakhouski and Thomas hit consecutive baskets, then Gabriel drained a three to put VMI back up 61-60 before Parakhouski struck again to give Radford a one-point lead.
The Highlanders finally pulled away from there, using a 20-9 burst to take an 80-70 lead with 7:34 to go on a Phillip Martin deuce.
Two free throws from McEachin put Radford into triple digits and provided an 11-point advantage with 1:16 to play and the Highlanders walked away with the conference crown.
Radford became the sixth team in Big South Conference history to take home both the regular season and tourney titles in the same year...The Highlanders shot 55.7 percent from the floor to 38.2 percent for the Keydets...VMI took 50 three-pointers and made just 16, while Radford hit just 3-of-8 from beyond the arc.
03/07 20:53:03 ET