Carlik Jones shoots Radford into NCAA tournament with 3-pointer at the buzzer

With the score tied, his team’s set play deteriorating and time running out, Radford freshman Carlik Jones did the only thing he could under the circumstances.

He pulled up from NBA range and shot the ball with confidence.

Jones’ thunderbolt of a 3-pointer as time expired gave second-seeded Radford a 55-52 victory over fifth-seeded Liberty in the Big South title game. The Highlanders bench spilled onto the court and mobbed Jones in celebration of the program’s first trip to the NCAA tournament since 2009.


It was no surprise that Radford would put the ball in Jones’ hands with the game on the line, but the Highlanders probably wanted him attacking off the dribble instead of shooting a pull-up 3-pointer. The 6-foot point guard is averaging 11.7 points per game this season but shooting a modest 31.8 percent from behind the arc.

Radford was picked seventh in the Big South preseason poll after a 14-18 season a year ago, but Jones’ emergence was a huge reason that the Highlanders (23-14, 12-6) exceeded expectations. He and standout forward Ed Polite Jr. teamed to fuel Radford’s ascent to second in the Big

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