From the opening tip, Wednesday night's Big South Conference clash between visiting Radford and Charleston Southern had the feel of a tightly contested affair. That's exactly what it was.
Radford (15-9, 5-4) used a 19-10 run over the final five minutes to come away with an 82-76 win over Charleston Southern, which fell to 10-12 overall and 4-5 in Big South play.
Radford's victory snapped a five-game losing streak to Charleston Southern in the 67th meeting between the two programs.
Radford junior forward Javonte Green scored 33 points, including 15 in the final six minutes of the game, while pulling down 11 rebounds to pace the Highlanders. Green hit 12 of 15 shots from the field as Radford shot 57 percent from the field as a team.
Guard Ya Ya Anderson added 16 points while R.J. Price and Kion Brown scored 10 each.
"Javonte Green is a matchup problem for a lot of people and he certainly was for us tonight," said CSU coach Barclay Radebaugh. "He's a good player, a very good player, but there is nobody to blame but us. Keeping him off the boards is a challenge and we lost that battle tonight. He made plays late and we didn't."
Senior Sheldon Strickland paced CSU's effort with 17 points while senior Matt Kennedy added 16 and junior Arlon Harper 13. The Bucs played a second consecutive game without junior point guard Saah Nimley, who is out with an injured knee.
Charleston Southern, averaging 10 made 3-pointers per game on the season, was four of 11 from beyond the arc. The Buccaneers shot 51 percent from the floor overall.
Radford held the lead for most of the first half before an 11-0 CSU run gave the Bucs a 35-30 lead with 3:21 to play.
The Highlanders, led by Green's 13 first-half points, rallied to send the game into the half tied at 37. Radford shot 56 percent from the field in the opening half while CSU shot 50 percent.
The first 10 minutes of the second half was a back-and-forth affair before Charleston Southern took a 55-53 lead with 10:53 remaining. The lead would stretch to five at 64-59 with 6:36 remaining, and Strickland's layup with 4:20 to play gave CSU a 66-62 lead.
The Bucs went cold from there as Radford put together a 12-2 run over the next three minutes to claim a 71-66 lead with 1:40 left in the game.
Kennedy hit two jumpers to keep it close, but Green made six straight free throws and Radford made nine of 11 freebies in the final minute to secure the victory.
"We're right there, up four late and we just didn't execute offensively and we did a poor job of boxing out," said Radebaugh. "We just didn't get it done in the last five minutes. We certainly looked tired at the end. I thought our guys tried really hard for 35 or 36 minutes. We gave a great effort but kind of ran out of gas."
Charleston Southern now faces five of its last seven Big South games on the road, beginning with Saturday's game at VMI. The Keydets needed four overtimes to beat Gardner-Webb, 108-104, on Wednesday night.
"We're disappointed but we're not discouraged," said Radebaugh. "I told the guys to just keep fighting and not lose confidence. The thing we can't do is get discouraged. We have had an opportunity to win the games that we've lost. We haven't made plays late. We're very close and we just have to stick together and fight through this."