March 5 (UPI) -- The Radford Highlanders are going to the 2018 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament after making a buzzer-beat to beat Liberty.
Freshman guard Carlik Jones pulled the trigger to send the Highlanders dancing on Sunday at the Dedmon Center in Radford, Va. The win gave the Highlanders the Big South Tournament crown after they previously beat Longwood and Winthrop in Asheville, N.C.
Sunday's affair was tied 52-52 with less than 10 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter as Jones dribbled just beyond half court. He called out for two screens at the 3-point line, before stepping up from about 25 feet out and launching a Hail Mary. Jones drained the attempt at the final horn, giving the Highlanders a 55-52 win and its first NCAA tournament bid since 2009.
Jones scored a team-high 13 points. He also had six assists and five rebounds in the victory. Liberty's Scottie James had a double-double with a game-high 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Flames.
"When I woke up this morning I was completely at peace and I was at peace because I told these guys no matter the outcome, they're already winners because of the type of people they are," Radford coach Mike Jones said after the game.
"That's why our team has come together this year because they are great young men and they connected on a team level. You could see the connection and I'm just really happy for them because now they are united as champions for the rest of their lives. The game itself was a lot of fun. It seems like every game is like that and we are most comfortable with one possession games. Our guys had tremendous poise today, they executed down the stretch on both ends of the floors and I'm just extremely happy for them."
Radford finds out where it will play in the tournament on selection Sunday on March 11.