From Staff Reports
DAYTON, Ohio — Casey Roberts has played state tournaments in high school and Region XX tournaments in junior college.
Tonight he’ll be playing in the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament when the Liberty (Va.) Flames play North Carolina A&T here at the University of Dayton.
The first-round game between 16th seeds is the first game of the NCAA Tournament. It tips off at 6:40 p.m. and is being televised by TruTV, Atlantic Broadband channel 74.
Liberty (15-20) got hot at just the right time. The Flames have won five in a row and six of their last seven, beating Charleston Southern 87-76 to win the Big South Conference and automatic NCAA Tournament bid.
Roberts, of LaVale, has played in all 35 games, including 11 starts earlier in the year. He is now one of the first off the bench and averaging 17 minutes per game. He is fifth on the team in scoring, averaging 5.6 points, and second in three-point shooting, making 64 of 169 for 38 percent.
Roberts had 13 points in a 68-59 loss at Georgetown and a season high 15 points in a 67-62 loss to Morgan State.
Roberts was a two-time Times-News Player of the Year at Allegany (2009, 2010), and also a two-time All-Maryland JUCO and All-Region XX first-teamer at Allegany College.
Liberty is hoping to make history tonight as a win would be its first in an NCAA Tournament. The Flames’ only other tournament appearances were first-round losses to North Carolina, 75-51 in 1994, and St. Joseph’s, 82-63 in 2004.
North Carolina A&T (19-16) is 0-9 all-time in NCAA Tournament games.
The Liberty-A&T winner plays Big East champion and top-seeded Louisville Thursday in the Midwest Regional in Lexington, Ky.