College Basketball: Radford wins Big South
Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 7, 2009
RADFORD, Va. ó Artsiom Parakhouski said he took a chance by coming to Radford hoping to “make something happen” at a school where the men’s basketball team had just gone 10-20.
The 6-foot-11 Belorussian by way of an Idaho junior college made sure it happened on Saturday, getting 26 points and 18 rebounds as the Highlanders beat Virginia Military Institute 108-94 to win their first Big South Conference championship in 11 years.
“We know that we have to dominate the paint to win this game,” Parakhouski said, a wearing a Belarus flag given to him by a fan draped around his neck. “I guess we did a pretty good job.”
The Highlanders (21-11) took command with a 13-3 second-half run, turning a two-point deficit into an eight-point lead, and earned their second trip to the NCAA tournament. The victory, earned on their home court as the top seed, was their 17th in the last 19 games.
“Finally Radford isn’t little ol’ Radford for once,” guard Kenny Thomas said.
It couldn’t have happened without Parakhouski leading the way toward a dominating performance inside. Radford scored 64 points in the paint and outrebounded VMI 57-31.