A dozen UCLA basketball players wedged into folding chairs, knees and elbows bumping against neighbors. No one touched the refrigerator jammed with sports drinks and sodas. Voices didn’t rise above a whisper.
As team managers rolled out bags of equipment, players stared at the cinder block walls and tried to make sense of the sudden end to their season in an NCAA tournament play-in game at the University of Dayton Arena.
Travis Fields Jr. and Ed Polite Jr. each scored 13 points to lift Radford to its first-ever NCAA tournament win, 71-61, over LIU Brooklyn in the First Four on Tuesday night.
Carlik Jones added 12 points and 10 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.