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Radford downs LIU Brooklyn in the first game of the NCAA Tournament

That was im-Polite.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Four-LIU Brooklyn vs. Radford Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Madness has begun. In the first game of the NCAA Tournament, the Radford Highlanders defeated the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds, 71-61, in Dayton.

The game between the Big South and NEC representatives did not disappoint. The Highlanders made great use of their athleticism and a great shooting night from Travis Fields Jr. (5-for-6, 3-for-3 from three, 13 points) off the bench, but LIU Brooklyn fought back to make the game interesting. It was a two-point game with less than five minutes to go, but Radford pulled away to win by 10 in the closing stages.

Radford started the game red-hot from the field and went on a 10-2 run after a nasty dunk from Ed Polite Jr.

That run stretched the Highlanders lead to 18-9, but LIU Brooklyn fought back as Radford’s offense ground to a halt. Raiquan Clark and Jashaun Agosto combined for 14 first-half points for the Blackbirds, erasing the Highlanders’ lead by halftime. Joel Hernandez canned a three to make it 30-28 before the interval.

The Blackbirds took a 38-37 lead early in the second half. However, Radford once again went on a big run fueled by Fields Jr. and Donald Hicks that put the Highlanders up 53-44. LIU Brooklyn once again chipped away to make it close down the stretch, but Radford’s final surge put the finishing touches on the win.

Radford, a 16 seed, advances to play No. 1 seed Villanova in Pittsburgh on Thursday.