Travis Fields Jr. and Ed Polite Jr. each scored 13 points to lift Radford to its first NCAA Tournament win, 71-61, over LIU Brooklyn on Tuesday night.
Carlik Jones added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Highlanders, who move on to face No. 1 seed Villanova on Thursday in Pittsburgh.
Radford, the Big South champion, is making its third tournament appearance and first since 2009.
LIU Brooklyn stayed within striking distance for much of the game and got to within a point with five minutes left, but a 9-1 surge by the Highlanders allowed them to close it out.
The Blackbirds went without a field goal in the last seven minutes of the game and shot 30.4 percent in the second half. Both teams were plagued by turnovers.
Jashaun Agosto scored 16 points and Raiquan Clark added 14 for LIU Brooklyn, which is winless in seven trips to the tournament.
Radford led, 30-28, at the end of a sloppy first half after leading by as many as 9. 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.
LIU Brooklyn got hot in the Northeast Conference tournament but couldn’t sustain it on the big stage, shooting just 38 percent compared to 47.5 percent for Radford.
Virginia loses Hunter; Miami awaits Brown
Top-ranked and top-seeded Virginia (31-2) will be without forward De'Andre Hunter, the ACC’s sixth man of the year, for the NCAA Tournament because of a broken left wrist.
The school announced that Hunter, a 6-foot-7-inch swingman, suffered the injury during the ACC Tournament, but did not say how. He will have surgery Monday and miss 10 to 12 weeks.
Meanwhile, Miami star Bruce Brown Jr.’s injured left foot seems to be healing faster than expected. Brown won’t play for the sixth-seeded Hurricanes (22-9) in Thursday’s NCAA Tournament game against Loyola of Chicago, but will be in uniform.
After initially indicating Brown likely would miss the rest of the season, coach Jim Larranaga didn’t rule out the return of the sophomore guard.
‘‘It’s going to be a shock to everybody — Bruce Brown will be dressing come Thursday,’’ Larranaga said before the team boarded a flight to its tournament game in Dallas. ‘‘He won’t play, but he wants to be in uniform.’’
The Cavaliers, the top seed in the South, open NCAA play Friday night against UMBC in Charlotte, N.C. Brown has missed 11 games but received medical clearance Monday to remove his walking boot and rejoin practice.
What are the chances he'll play again this season? ‘‘Beyond Thursday, the first thing is we've got to play well enough to win the game,’’ Larranaga said. ‘‘Then after that you make decisions one day at a time.’’
Pac-12: Get rid of one-and-done
A Pac-12 task force on reforming college basketball recommends an end to the NBA’s one-and-done rule and allowing players the option to return to school after they’re drafted.
The Pac-12 announced the recommendations from its task force Tuesday, and its report has been sent to the NCAA’s commission on college basketball, headed by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The report could be a preview of the Rice commission’s work, as former Stanford and California basketball coach Mike Montgomery is a member of both the Pac-12’s taskforce and the NCAA’s commission. NCAA president Mark Emmert said the commission’s recommendations to the board of directors are expected in April. The recommendations hit on the major issues identified by the NCAA where reform is needed in the wake of a federal investigation into corruption in college basketball.
Two Pac-12 schools have been in the middle of the scandal, with Southern California assistant coach Tony Bland and former Arizona assistant coach Book Richardson among those indicted on fraud charges.
The task force called for an end to the NBA’s one-and-done rule, which requires players be at least 19 years old and a year removed from high school graduation to be eligible for the draft. The NCAA has no power to change that rule beyond persuasion.
Ultimately, the NBA and its players union decide on draft eligibility rules. But allowing players to keep their eligibility and return to school even after being drafted is within the NCAA’s control. There is a similar rule in college baseball that allows players who don’t sign professional contracts to return to school after the draft.