Home Notebook: Radford upsets West Virginia as calendar year winds down

Notebook: Radford upsets West Virginia as calendar year winds down

Scott Ratcliffe
virginia college basketball
(© Derek Brumby – Shutterstock)

As the calendar gets ready to flip over to 2024, the state of Virginia’s men’s and women’s basketball teams hope to close out 2023 on a positive note this weekend.

Several teams have already concluded competition for the year, while others will be wrapping up their non-league schedule or will be jumping into conference play.

Radford made headlines with an upset on the road at West Virginia last week, extending its win streak to five games. It was RU’s first win over a Power 5 foe in over four years and just the ninth in program history, all of which came away from home. DaQuan Smith scored the game-winning bucket with 1.5 seconds left to complete the late-game rally, two of his team-high 18 points.

“I’m not going to lie, it means a lot. I basically grew up here…,” said head coach Darris Smith, a Radford native who played four years for the Mountaineers from 2004-08. “Just to come back here with your own program is special.”

The Highlanders (10-4) will try to repeat the feat tomorrow night, as a trip to face No. 18 Clemson is up next in the final non-conference matchup of the season.

Sticking in the Big South Conference, Longwood had its 12-game winning streak snapped last Wednesday on the road against NC Central. The Lancers (12-2) will look to start a new streak on Saturday in their final tuneup at Dayton.

James Madison (12-0) remained unbeaten, as the Dukes recorded a pair of wins over Coppin State and Morgan State last week. They will face Texas State in Harrisonburg in the Sun Belt Conference opener on Saturday at 2.

The Dukes’ leading scorer, Terrence Edwards Jr., poured in a game-high 29 points in the win over the Bears last Friday, as the junior guard from Atlanta surpassed the 1,000-point plateau for his career.

Liberty won its third in a row with a 16-point victory at Utah Valley, as the starting frontcourt tandem of Zach Cleveland and Kyle Rode combined for 34 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists and 5 blocks in the win. The Flames (10-3) will host Alabama on Saturday in Lynchburg in the C.M. Newton Classic (2 p.m., ESPN+).

VMI snapped a five-game skid with a 17-point win against Penn State-NK last Friday, its final contest of the calendar year. The 3-10 Keydets will begin Southern Conference competition next week.

Virginia and Virginia Tech’s men’s teams got convincing wins in their respective non-conference finale, and both the Cavaliers (at Notre Dame) and Hokies (at Wake Forest) will resume ACC play on the road on Saturday.

Senior center Lynn Kidd exploded for a career-high 31 points on 14-of-15 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds and a pair of blocks in Tech’s 22-point win against American last week, as the Hokies will have had nine days to prepare for the Demon Deacons.

Meanwhile, the women’s teams will begin their conference schedule on Sunday. The UVA women’s team (8-3) has a tall task in hosting undefeated and third-ranked NC State (6 p.m., ACC Network), while the 14th-ranked Hokies (9-2) will take on Pitt at Cassell Coliseum (2 p.m., ACCNX).

Here’s a closer look at each of the 14 Division-I men’s programs in the Commonwealth, including last week’s results and this weekend’s slate.

Team Capsules

Virginia Cavaliers

W-L Record: 10-2 (.833) | 1-0 ACC (1.000)

Current Streak: Won 1

Last Week: Lost to Memphis, 77-54.

This Week: Def. Morgan State, 79-44, on Wednesday; Saturday at Notre Dame, Noon (ACCN)

Virginia Tech Hokies

W-L Record: 9-3 (.750) | 1-0 ACC (1.000)

Current Streak: Won 4

Last Week: Def. American, 77-55.

This Week: Saturday at Wake Forest, 2 p.m. (ESPN2)

George Mason Patriots

W-L Record: 10-2 (.833) | 0-0 Atlantic 10 (.000)

Current Streak: Won 3

Last Week: Def. Bridgewater, 84-60; Def. Tulane, 69-66.

This Week: Saturday vs. North Carolina A&T, 2 p.m. (ESPN+)

Richmond Spiders

W-L Record: 7-5 (.583) | 0-0 Atlantic 10 (.000)

Current Streak: Won 2

Last Week: Def. Buffalo, 72-66.

This Week: Saturday vs. Lafayette, 4 p.m. (ESPN+)

VCU Rams

W-L Record: 7-5 (.583) | 0-0 Atlantic 10 (.000)

Current Streak: Won 3

Last Week: Def. UMES, 75-51.

This Week: Saturday vs. Gardner-Webb, 2 p.m. (ESPN+)

No. 20 James Madison Dukes

W-L Record: 12-0 (1.000) | 0-0 Sun Belt (.000)

Current Streak: Won 12

Last Week: Def. Coppin State, 87-48; Def. Morgan State, 89-75

This Week: Saturday vs. Texas State, 2 p.m. (ESPN+)

Old Dominion Monarchs

W-L Record: 4-8 (.333) | 0-0 Sun Belt (.000)

Current Streak: Lost 1

Last Week: Lost to TCU, 111-87; Def. Temple, 78-63; Lost to UMass, 87-65.

This Week: Saturday vs. South Alabama, 7 p.m. (ESPN+)

Longwood Lancers

W-L Record: 12-2 (.857) | 0-0 Big South (.000)

Current Streak: Lost 1

Last Week: Lost to NC Central, 79-70.

This Week: Saturday at Dayton, 2 p.m. (ESPN+)

Radford Highlanders

W-L Record: 10-4 (.714) | 0-0 Big South (.000)

Current Streak: Won 5

Last Week: Def. West Virginia, 66-65.

This Week: Friday at Clemson, 7 p.m. (ACCNX)

Hampton Pirates

W-L Record: 4-8 (.333) | 0-0 CAA (.000)

Current Streak: Lost 3

Last Week: Lost to Bowling Green, 75-65; Lost to Eastern Michigan, 72-69.

This Week: No games

William & Mary Tribe

W-L Record: 5-7 (.417) | 0-0 CAA (.000)

Current Streak: Lost 1

Last Week: Lost to Pepperdine, 71-59.

This Week: Saturday at Navy, Noon (ESPN+)

Liberty Flames

W-L Record: 10-3 (.769) | 0-0 C-USA (.000)

Current Streak: Won 3

Last Week: Def. Utah Valley, 79-63.

This Week: Saturday vs. Alabama, 2 p.m. (ESPN+)

VMI Keydets

W-L Record: 3-10 (.231) | 0-0 Southern (.000)

Current Streak: Won 1

Last Week: Def. Penn State-NK, 82-65.

This Week: No games

Norfolk State Spartans

W-L Record: 9-6 (.600) | 0-0 MEAC (.000)

Current Streak: Won 1

Last Week: Def. Southern Virginia, 108-52; Lost to UTEP, 67-65; Def. South Dakota State, 84-65.

This Week: No games

Scott Ratcliffe

Scott Ratcliffe

Scott Ratcliffe has worked as a freelance writer for several publications over the past decade-plus, with a concentration on local and college sports. He is also a writer and editor for his father’s website, JerryRatcliffe.com, dedicated to the coverage of University of Virginia athletics.