Two big buckets by Horton leads A&T to win over HighlandersCourtesy of NC A&T sports information / January 14, 2022
RADFORD, VA. – Junior guard Demetric Horton hit two critical shots over the final two minutes of North Carolina A&T’s 73-72 victory over the Radford Highlanders Saturday afternoon in Big South Conference men’s basketball action at the Dedmon Center.
Horton, who was coming off a career-high 26-point night against Presbyterian College helped the Aggies improve to 7-9 overall and 2-0 in the Big South.
Horton’s first big moment came after Radford’s Bryan Hart hit a free throw to give the Highlanders a 70-68 lead with a little more than two minutes remaining. Horton responded when he saw his defender sag off too much and proceeded to knock down a clutch 3-pointer. Until that 3-pointer, Horton had taken only five shots in the game.
A put-back by Radford big man Lewis Djonkam put the Highlanders back in the lead a 72-71. However, despite Radford’s 13-6 advantage in offensive rebounding, the Highlanders only had a 12-11 edge in second-chance points.
Following Djonkam’s put-back, Horton ran up to the top of the key to grab the ball from David Beatty, who had a nice 12-point, four-rebound game. Horton went to work from there. He dribbled to the right-wing and pulled up for a jumper he netted despite being draped by a defender as the Aggies took a 73-72 lead with 1:08 remaining.
A&T got the stop it needed and the ball back, but when Collin Smith got whistled for his fifth foul on an illegal screen, it gave Radford the ball back with 32 seconds to play.
Radford’s Bryan Hart shot an open 3-pointer but missed everything. Djonkam raced toward the sideline to save the ball, flinging it over his head and landing it in Josiah Jeffers’ hands.
Jeffers, however, could not get his 3-pointer to go, giving the Aggies their third straight win.
The Aggies have won their last two road games after starting the season 0-7 on the road. Radford suffered their first home loss to drop to 5-9 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
“We talked about it,” said A&T coach Will Jones. “We had to take defense on the road with us. If shots didn’t fall when we needed them to, if we didn’t get the whistle our way enough, we needed to take defense with us and these guys for 40 minutes, even against adversity, they believed, and we got the job done.”
Redshirt sophomore forward Marcus Watson led the way for the Aggies with 18 points and nine rebounds. Horton (13) and Beatty (12) joined him in double-figures. A&T also enjoyed their best free-throw shooting performance of the year, going 18-for-21 (.857).
The Aggies dominated much of the first half, and Watson was a big part of it. He scored the team’s first four points of the game. A 9-2 run fueled by five points from Smith had the Aggies ahead 21-11. They led by as much as 12, 36-24, with 2:59 left before halftime. But the Highlanders would mount a 7-0 run to close the gap to five, 36-31.