Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Villanova Wildcats to play Radford Highlanders in first round of NCAA Tournament

Villanova Wildcats to play Radford Highlanders in first round of NCAA Tournament

The Highlanders won their final seven games of the season - including a buzzer-beater over Liberty - to send them to their first Big Dance since 2009.

The Highlanders took the Blackbirds out of transition for most of the game as they held LIU to no field goals over the last 6:47.

BC-BKC-NCAA-LIU-Brooklyn-Radford Capsule, 245 Streaking LIU-Brooklyn and Radford face off in First FourAP Photo NY905Eds: APNewsNow. (13 points with 13 rebounds) and Carlik Jones (12 points with 11 rebounds and seven assists) leading the way, now the challenge becomes trying to make NCAA history by trying to knockoff a team many consider a favorite to win this year's tournament in the Wildcats. The win was Radford's first NCAA Tournament game in the history of the school.

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.

Long Island against Radford may seem like an unexciting matchup to kick off the NCAA Tournament with, but on Tuesday night at the UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio before a large crowd, both teams battled it out in front of an emotional crowd that hung on every pass and shot.

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

The games continue into Wednesday as two 16-seeds tip-off at 6:40 p.m.

Being a member of the Atlantic 10, the Bonnies are very familiar with playing at UD Arena, the latest on January 3, in a game Saint Bonaventure lost to the Dayton Flyers. The Blackbirds scored 11 of their points on nine turnovers by Radford but were just 3 for 13 from beyond the 3-point line in the half.

A lot of LIU's success can be chalked up to senior guard Joel Hernandez, who had a monster 32-point effort against Wagner in the NEC title game.

Clark and Hernandez compose the most unsafe pair of scorers in the conference, and collectively averaged 47.0 points per game in LIU Brooklyn's run in its conference tournament.

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