Before joining the Radford Highlanders in 2014-15, guard Cameron Jones was an offensive star in junior college. During his time at Brunswick (N.C) C.C., he averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game.
Since coming to Radford, he hasn’t been able to regain that form. Last year, as a junior, Jones averaged 8.5 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, cracking the double-digit point barrier just 12 times.
Entering Wednesday night’s contest against the Campbell Fighting Camels, Jones was averaging 12.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, and had already scored in double-figures in 11 games for the Highlanders.
Little did we know, his best was yet to come.
Against the Fighting Camels, Jones put together a career night for the Highlanders, in front of their home crowd, no less.
Jones went 12-of-19 from the floor, including 6-of-9 from three-point range, to score a career-high 35 points in Radford’s 78-66 victory over the visiting Campbell Fighting Camels.
The Highlanders wasted little time getting the crowd involved on Wednesday night. YaYa Anderson opened the scoring with a three-point jumper, and Jones followed up with back-to-back jumpers to pus Radford to an early 7-0 lead.
Campbell would get on the board at the 17:51 mark, as D.J. Mason ended their drought by making a layup off of his own miss. The teams would trade baskets after the Mason layup before Jones connected on his first three-pointer of the game to push the Highlanders in front, 12-4.
Out of the first media timeout, Troy Harper and Mason would hit jumpers for the Fighting Camels to cut the deficit to 14-11, but Ed Polite, Jr. would respond and convert an and-one play to push the lead back to 6.
Jones would hit back-to-back three pointers before the halfway point of the first half, but Campbell would respond to cut the deficit back to 5 on a three-point jumper from Chris Clemons.
From there, it was all about Radford.
With the score 25-20, Caleb Tanner connected on a three-pointer for the Highlanders, which in turn kicked off a lengthy 12-0 run for the home team that lasted over 4 minutes. The run pushed the lead to 37-20 with under 2 minutes to play in the half.
Campbell would cut the deficit to 12, but Jones hit a three ball before the buzzer to send Radford into the break up 15, at 40-25.
A 9-2 run from Radford to open the second half blew the game wide open, stretching their lead to 22 points. Four different players scored in the run, including Jones and Rashun Davis capped it off with a layup of his own.
Credit Campbell for continuing to fight in the second half. A layup from Troy Harper at the 15:41 mark of the second half kicked off a 21-6 run for the Fighting Camels that cut the deficit to just 9, at 59-50, with plenty of time left on the clock.
Clemons would connect on a three-pointer with 6:14 left in the half to cut the deficit to 6, but that was as close as Campbell would get. They made a valiant effort on the comeback trail, but the 12-0 run from the Highlanders in the first half was too big to overcome.
Radford would push their lead back to as many as 14 points down the stretch, and strong free throw shooting kept the Fighting Camels at a safe distance the rest of the way.
The Campbell Fighting Camels lived up to their name in the second half, fighting down to the wire, but the Radford Highlanders led from start-to-finish and came away with the 78-66 victory.
Despite the loss, guard Chris Clemons put together a strong offensive performance for the Fighting Camels. In 39 minutes of action, he scored a team-high 25 points to go along with 2 rebounds and 2 assists. Clemons went 10-of-21 from the floor, and 5-of-10 from three point range.
Troy Harper scored 16 points to go along with 4 rebounds, while no other player scored more than 8 points for Campbell (Rod Days).
As for the Radford Highlanders, a career-night from Cameron Jones led the way, and gave fans flashes of hat the senior guard has to offer. Jones scored a career-high 35 points to go along with 5 rebounds and 1 assist. His previous career-high was 24 points against Gardner-Webb back on February 28th, 2015.
Jones also shot 12-of-19 from the floor, 6-of-9 from three point range, and a perfect 5-of-5 from the free throw line.
Ed Polite, Jr. added 11 points and 7 rebounds, while Rashun Davis filled the stat sheet with 10 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals in the win.
As a team, Radford shot 30-of-55 (54.5%) from the floor, and 9-of-14 (64.3%) from three point range.
With the loss, the Campbell Fighting Camels (8-11, 2-7) have now lost 6 straight games, and 8 of their last 9 overall. They are currently all alone in 11th place in the Big South standings, and quickly falling the wrong way. Campbell will look to put an end to their downward spiral next Wednesday, when they return home to the Pope Convocation Center to take on the High Point Panthers.
Over their last 9 games, the Radford Highlanders (11-9, 4-4) have alternated wins and losses. While they have been unable to build off their wins, they haven’t allowed their losses to accumulate, and they put an end to their losing ways before they could turn into a lengthy losing streak. Radford will look to build off Wednesday night’s performance on Saturday afternoon when they welcome the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs to town.