Radford's bench makes the difference in Highlanders' NCAA Tourney win

Radford vs LIU Brooklyn Preview Odds Predictions TV Gametime Stats | March Madness

Radford vs LIU Brooklyn Preview Odds Predictions TV Gametime Stats | March Madness

With the win, the Highlanders advance into the Round of 64 of the NCAA Tournament where they will face No. 1 seed Villanova on Thursday at 6:50 p.m. ET. The Highlanders went 22-12, winning the Big South Conference as the No. 2 seed, beating fifth-seeded Liberty.

"Everybody's shocked because nobody believed in us but Radford", Highlanders junior forward Ed Polite Jr. told reporters. The Blackbirds are coached by Derek Kellogg, who is in his first season after spending nine years at MA where he took the Minutemen to the Big Dance once. It ranks 205th in KenPom's adjusted offense, and the Highlanders' lack of scoring could come back to haunt them in a single-elimination tournament.

LIU Brooklyn didn't hesitate to fire three-pointers in an effort to keep the pace rolling and shots coming, but it was a mere 7-of-26 from deep (26.9 percent), and it struggled to break free from Radford's swarming perimeter defenders.

"I know I speak for the whole bench when I say we just try to do anything to help the game out, help these guys out", Fields said referring to the starters, "bring the same energy that they start the game with".

The Highlanders have only two players averaging in double figures and Polite leads the way in points (13.5), rebounds (7.7) and steals (1.9), but he was just 5-for-20 from the floor the last two games. Donald Hicks gave Radford eleven points while Devonnte Holland chipped in with nine points. He played 17 minutes because starting center Randy Phillips was limited to 21 minutes with foul trouble. The Wildcats defeated Providence in overtime on Saturday to win their second straight Big East conference tournament championship. LIU Brooklyn coach Derek Kellogg said.

LIU Brooklyn's Jashaun Agosto (3) lays up a shot during the first half of a First Four game of the NCAA Tournament at UD Arena on March 13, 2018 in Dayton, Ohio. "But the second half of the season it really became a strength".