Dayton, OH (Sporting Alert, Box Score) — North Carolina A&T fended off a late run from Liberty to take a 73-72 NCAA March Madness First Four victory at the University of Dayton Arena on Tuesday night.
The win saw the Aggies winning their first-ever NCAA tournament game.
Jeremy Underwood, who averages just over six-points per game heading into tonight’s contest, went a perfect 6-for-6 from the field, including 2-for-2 from three-point range to top score with 19 points for North Carolina A&T.
Bruce Beckford collected 16 points and nine rebounds and Lamont Middleton added 14 points and five boards in the victory for the Aggies.
Davon Marshall led Liberty with a game-high 22 points, while John Caleb Sanders finished with 21 and nine assists, but missed the potential game winner in the closing seconds of the game.
The Liberty Flames came out firing in both the opening minutes of the first and second halves, but poor shooting in the middle of both sections saw them falling behind in scoring.
With North Carolina A&T running away with the contest, Saunders knocked down a three pointer with 2:51 left to cut the lead to 71-67 and before Tavares Speaks, who finished with 17 points and six rebounds, trimmed the gap to one-point, at 73-72 ,with 0.11 left to setup an interesting final seconds.
However, North Carolina A&T held on for the win after Saunders failed to score on the last second drive to the buckets and will now move on to play No. 1 rank Louisville.