Hampton Roads duo drives Radford to first ever NCAA tournament win

Ed Zurga  Getty Images

Ed Zurga Getty Images

Labeled as a "First Four" matchup, the victor of this game will be rewarded with the No. 16 seed in the East Regional bracket and meet No. 1 Villanova.

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

LIU-Brooklyn, which shocked New York City rival Wagner in the Northeast Conference tournament to earn the First Four bid, has won five in a row.

"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 awesome feeling right now", said Jones, who made the buzzer beater to seal the win over Liberty in the Big South Tournament Championship.

The Radford Highlanders and their slow, half court style prevailed over the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds 71-61 in their First Four bout on Tuesday.

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. Stockard got the Bonnies in position for the drought-busting tournament victory by leading a late 12-0 run.

The Blackbirds were making their seventh NCAA Tournament appearance and their first since 2013.

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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.

"It was a lot of laying the bricks for seven years, laying the foundation", head coach Mike Jones said on the truTV broadcast following the victory.

The Highlanders used 11 players in the first half and 12 before the final minute.

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 LIU Brooklyn, which is winless in seven trips to the tournament.

"Everybody's shocked because nobody believed in us but Radford", Highlanders junior forward Ed Polite Jr. told reporters. (13.5 ppg) and Carlik Jones (11.8).

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