RADFORD, Va. (AP) - Carlik Jones made a long 3-pointer at the buzzer and Radford beat Liberty 55-52 on Sunday in the Big South Conference championship, earning the Highlanders their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2009.
The Highlanders (22-12) called timeout with 13 seconds left, setting up the final play. Jones dribbled as the clock ran down, then made a move at the top of the key and hit the shot.
Officials reviewed the play to be sure no time was left on the clock, and once that was confirmed, Radford fans began celebrating.
Jones led the Highlanders with 13 points and six assists. Travis Fields Jr. added 12 points on 4-for-4 shooting from 3 and Ed Polite Jr. and Devonnte Holland had 11 each.
Scottie James had 20 points, 16 after halftime, and 13 rebounds to lead the Flames (20-14), who lost to Radford for the third time this season. Lovell Cabbil added 15 points, but missed a 3-pointer to set up the Highlanders' final possession. He also was defending Jones on his game-winner.
Holland did all his scoring in the first half, including six points during a 10-4 run that broke a 14-all tie late in the first half.
The Highlanders led 26-21 at halftime.
Liberty: The Flames hurt their cause with 15 turnovers that Radford turned into 18 points. Liberty scored 11 off seven Radford turnovers.
Radford: Holland led the Highlanders with seven rebounds and kept them in the game when Polite, their scoring leader at 13.6 per game, went scoreless in the first half while saddled with foul trouble. Fields hit three 3-pointers in the second half and Jones' game-winner was Radford's only other one in 12 attempts.
Liberty will hope for an invitation to the NIT.
Radford heads to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009.
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