At 6 feet 1, he was one of the smallest players on the basketball court last night, but that didn't stop Radford's Doug Day from having his way against Morgan State last night.
The junior guard with the rapid-fire release scored 39 points -- four shy of the Radford single-game record -- in just 26 minutes as the visiting Highlanders made good on their first visit to Hill Field House with a 95-60 win before a sparse holiday weekend crowd.
A native of Blacksburg, Va., Day set the tone of the game by scoring his team's first 14 points on the way to a 27-point half. His 10 of 13 three-pointers (seven of eight in the first half) included corner jumpers that caught all net, a banker from the top of the key, and even a shot with Morgan's 6-foot-11, 300-pound center Jarrod Smith stampeding in his direction at full speed.
"Doug got off to a good start and we set up some plays to get him that," Radford first-year coach Ron Bradley said of Day, who constantly ran behind screens in scoring his team's first 14 points -- including four straight three-pointers. "Like someone said last year, every once in a while he's like a shark in a feeding frenzy."
The only reason Day didn't have more of a feast was because Bradley -- for fear of having his star player injured -- pulled him out with just more than 10 minutes left. That's the reason the school record, which Day set last year in a 107-100 Radford win over Central Connecticut, is still intact.
"I figured I was close, but I'm not upset," Day said. "I'm not a person to look for individual statistics. A lot of scorers get the reputation of just shooting. I like to do the other things."
But it was his solo effort that contributed to Morgan's disappointing home opener. The Bears (0-4) were sloppy (13 of their 21 turnovers were in the first half), lifeless and played as if they had just pushed themselves away from the Thanksgiving table. They shot 35.4 percent from the field and had just a 43-39 rebounding edge over a team that had three guards on the floor much of the night.
"It's a system they're trying to be taught, and it's difficult for them," said Morgan coach Michael Holmes, who has just three players returning from last season. "Right now, they're paralyzed."
It was the only returning starter, Ural Hogans, who led the way with 17 points. Freshman forward Charles Feagin, who had been Morgan's leading scorer, had just six points in 34 minutes but had a team-high 11 rebounds.
It was a performance that won't do much to win over the home fans, who won't get another look at Morgan until the Jan. 4 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener against South Carolina State. But Holmes, while disappointed with the performance, said the young team is right where he expects it to be.
"I'm right now laying the foundation -- I have to get the foundation down," Holmes said. "I have to teach these kids the fundamentals, and most of them don't have it."
But regardless of how Morgan played, it takes nothing away from the individual performance of Day. He finished the game hitting 14 of 20 from the field (10 of 13 behind the three-point line).
"If I start out hot by hitting my first couple, it gets my confidence up," Day said. "Even if I don't hit my first couple, it won't stop me from putting it up."