Carlik Jones nearly had a triple-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists as Radford beat LIU Brooklyn 71-61 in a battle of No. 16 seeds Tuesday night in a First Four matchup in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament in Dayton, Ohio.
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 Highlanders (23-12) reached the Big Dance after sweeping their way through the Big South Conference tournament and edging Liberty 55-52 in the championship game. Radford is in the tourney for the third time ever and the first since 2009.
Jashaun Agosto had a game-high 16 points with seven assists and six rebounds for the Blackbirds. Raiquan Clark added 14 points and Julian Batts contributed 13 and eight boards in defeat for LIU Brooklyn.
Under first-year coach Derek Kellogg, LIU Brooklyn (18-17) turned around a mediocre regular season and completed the sweep of its conference tournament slate with a 71-61 win at Wagner to claim its Northeast Conference title.
The Blackbirds were making their seventh NCAA Tournament appearance and their first since 2013.
The Highlanders shot 47.5 percent (28 of 59) from the floor compared to 38 percent shooting (19 of 50) for the Blackbirds.
Radford was up 30-28 at halftime after leading by as many as nine points in the first period.
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.
Three consecutive Agosto free throws had the Blackbirds within one at 59-58 with 5:07 to play, but Radford was able to get its lead up to double digits in the final minute and sealed the result at the free throw line.
—Field Level Media