Radford derails LIU 71-61

Radford forward Ed Polite Jr. shoots over Liberty forward Scottie James during the first half of a Big South Conference championship NCAA college basketball game in Radford Va

Radford forward Ed Polite Jr. shoots over Liberty forward Scottie James during the first half of a Big South Conference championship NCAA college basketball game in Radford Va

Ed Polite Jr. added 13 points and 12 rebounds, Travis Fields Jr. scored 13 points and Donald Hicks added 11 for Radford, which moves on to face No. 1 seed Villanova in the first round Thursday night.

The 2018 NCAA tournament begins on Tuesday, March 13, with the "First Four" at UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio.

How they make a run: Although it is extremely unlikely that the Blackbirds make any sort of noise in the tournament, perhaps the dynamic duo of Clark and Hernandez catch fire offensively, as they did in the Northeast Conference championship game.

"It's a blessing to be able to play with these guys and be a part, make history with these, with my fellow teammates and coaching staff, so it's an fantastic feeling right now", said Jones, who made the buzzer beater to seal the win over Liberty in the Big South Tournament Championship.

The Highlanders have only two players averaging in double figures and Polite leads the way in points (13.5), rebounds (7.7) and steals (1.9), but he was just 5-for-20 from the floor the last two games.

In the first "First Four" play-in game of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, LIU Brooklyn and Radford will square off, with the victor claiming the No. 16 seed and a date with top-seeded Villanova in the East Region.

STREAKERS: Radford has won its last seven games.

EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS: After finishing sixth in the Big South last season, Radford, in southwestern Virginia, was picked in preseason polls to finish near the bottom of the conference again. LIU Brooklyn averages the second most points per game in its conference and plays at the fastest pace. After a first-round win over Lafayette, the Wildcats fell to No. 9 seed North Carolina State, 71-68, in the second round.

"Our bench has been our strength all year", Radford coach Mike Jones said. Wojnarowski and his wife, Amy, a fellow St. Bonaventure alumnus, donated $10,000 to fund student travel and ticket costs for the school's first NCAA tournament appearance since 2012.

LIU's Jashaun Agosto led all scorers with 16 points as he added seven assists and six boards in 36 minutes.

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