Longshot Highlanders bow to top seed Villanova in NCAA Tourney 1st round

Joel Hernandez carried the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds to the NCAA Tournament but was unable to get past Radford’s tenacious defense Tuesday night in Dayton Ohio. AP

The NCAA men's basketball tournament tipped off at 6:40 p.m. Tuesday with a Virginia team in action.

BC-BKC-NCAA-LIU Brooklyn-Radford, 2nd Ld-Writethru, 639Radford downs LIU Brooklyn for its first NCAA tourney winAP Photo OHJM109, OHJM108, OHJM105, OHJM107, OHJM106, OHJM110, OHJM103, OHJM102, OHJM104, OHJM101Eds: Radford 71, LIU Brooklyn 61. Radford wins and covers this spread in the first of 67 games in the 2018 NCAA Tournament. The Blackbirds changed their strategy from there, driving into the paint on almost every possession for the rest of the half. Ed Polite Jr is the leading scorer for the Highlanders, with 13.5 points per game, while Carlik Jones is second with just shy of 12 per game.

Radford's defense is one of the nation's best, allowing just 64.4 points per game - 15th best in the country.

Luckily for the Highlanders, Fields, Jr. was there to punctuate a 9-0 run with two silky smooth jump shots that regained the lead at 44-38. That being said, the Highlanders don't score much due to their slow style of play, while the Blackbirds will give up some points due to their faster pace.

Villanova (31-4) played to near-perfection for the first 30 minutes and everyone played a role.

Radford won their last game against Liberty, 55-52 on Sunday, March 4th.

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Radford got to this game by winning the Big South Conference on a buzzer-beating three-pointer.

LIU had their chance in the second half, going on a 10-2 run to take back the lead for the first time since the start of the first half.

Villanova earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season and will open postseason play Thursday night against No. 16 seed Radford at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

The Highlanders (23-13) posed no threat at becoming the first 16 seed to ever knock off a No. 1 in the tournament. After a thrilling win on Tuesday against the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds, the Highlanders were hoping to carry that momentum over into Thursday against the Wildcats, even if it seemed like an absolute long shot.

"So they were ahead for the majority of the game, and then we brought a different type of energy and that's when we got up", Agosto added. The Highlanders held LIU Brooklyn (18-17) to 16 points less than its season average.

OR 99, Rider 86: Freshman Victor Bailey Jr. hit 7 of 8 3-pointers and scored 23 points, both career bests, and OR rallied in the fourth quarter at home to advance.

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