Villanova Wildcats to play Radford Highlanders in first round of NCAA Tournament

Villanova Wildcats to play Radford Highlanders in first round of NCAA Tournament

Villanova Wildcats to play Radford Highlanders in first round of NCAA Tournament

One of the downfalls of earning a top seed (although deep down there's no REAL reason to complain) is the chance of having to face off against the victor of one of the play in games, which was exactly the case for Villanova.

A 3-pointer by Batts put LIU Brooklyn up 38-35 with 16:35 remaining, but the lead soon swung back to the Highlanders and they matched their earlier nine-point advantage on multiple occasions and led 53-44 with 10:11 left.

"We're thinking we've got three days at home to practice and look at film and get ready", said UCLA coach Steve Alford.

Unfortunately, the Blackbirds' defense is as porous as its offense is potent-they are No. 284 in the country and second-to-last in the Northeast Conference in points allowed per game. Both teams were plagued by turnovers. By then the lead was nine with less than two minutes to go, and Radford could begin to celebrate making school history. Raiquan Clark added 14 points and Julian Batts contributed 13 and eight boards in defeat for LIU Brooklyn.

Stars Ed Polite Jr. and Carlik Jones combined for 25 points, 23 rebounds and 11 assists, but the two heroes of Tuesday's First Four game for Radford were a pair of reserves who average less than seven points apiece.

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The Highlanders shot 47.5 percent (28 of 59) from the floor compared to 38 percent shooting (19 of 50) for the Blackbirds.

The Highlanders have an NCAA tournament win and a date with a No. 1 seed.

A lot of LIU's success can be chalked up to senior guard Joel Hernandez, who had a monster 32-point effort against Wagner in the NEC title game. Averaging 20.9 points per game during the season, Hernandez was just 3 for 11, including 1 for 5 from the 3-point line.

The game was played with all the intensity of an NCAA Championship game. "And we just tried to make it tough on him".

Overcoming crippling NCAA sanctions in the midst of a rebuild wasn't easy, but Jones now has Radford accomplishing goals the school has never achieved before.

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