Radford beats LIU Brooklyn in NCAA tournament opener

Ed Zurga  Getty Images

Ed Zurga Getty Images

How they falter: Considering LIU Brooklyn is quite possibly the worst team in the NCAA Tournament-it is No. 258 in Ken Pomeroy's efficiency ratings and No. 232 in RPI-it is almost impossible to imagine the Blackbirds doing anything but failing to make it out alive of their first game. Central (6:40 p.m. Eastern) on TruTV.

Carlik Jones added 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Highlanders, who move on to face No. 1 seed Villanova on Thursday in Pittsburgh.

The Radford Highlanders bench reacts against the Long Island Blackbirds during the first half of the First Four game in the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at UD Arena on March 13, 2018 in Dayton, Ohio. Villanova faced LIU Brooklyn in the NCAA Tournament in 1997 and came out with a win by a final of 101-91. Stockard got the Bonnies in position for the drought-busting tournament victory by leading a late 12-0 run.

LIU is coming off a surprising run to the Northeast Conference title, upsetting Wagner on its home floor in the conference championship game to secure its first NCAA Tournament bid since 2013.

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.

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Photo St. Bonaventure's Jaylen Adams hugged Matt Mobley after his clutch play helped lead the Bonnies to a win over U.C.L.A.in their First Four matchup on Tuesday.

"We tried to commit extra bodies to him", said Radford coach Mike Jones, who has presided what was a five-year rebuild, "We tried to load the box and make sure that, like in football, that there's a lot of bodies in there when he's trying to get a bucket".

TOP SCORERS: LIU-Brooklyn has four starters in double figures, led by Joel Hernandez (20.8 points per game).

Jashaun Agosto scored 16 points and Raiquan Clark added 14 for L.I.U. Radford is led by Ed Polite Jr. Radford, the Big South champion, is making its third tournament appearance and first since 2009.

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