Fairleigh Dickinson grew to become the second No. 16 seed in historical past to win an NCAA Event sport, gorgeous top-seeded Purdue 63-58 behind 19 factors from Sean Moore and a relentless, hustling protection on Friday evening.
The shortest workforce within the tourney, the Knights (21-15) confirmed no worry in swarming 7-foot-4 All-America middle Zach Edey from the beginning. FDU’s gamers have been faster and extra composed than the Massive Ten champion Boilermakers (29-6).
5 years in the past, UMBC confirmed the best way for the little guys by overwhelming Virginia within the first 16-over-1 victory after quite a few shut calls over time. Nonetheless, No. 16s had a 1-150 report towards No. 1s and have been 1-151 total earlier than FDU’s shocker.
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After the ultimate horn, FDU’s gamers mobbed one another on the ground of Nationwide Area, the place the followers from Memphis and Florida Atlantic joined forces in cheering on the Knights within the closing minutes.
Fairleigh Dickinson didn’t even win the Northeast Convention Event, falling by one level within the title sport to Merrimack, which couldn’t take part within the NCAA Event due to an NCAA rule that bars it from the postseason as a result of it’s nonetheless finishing its four-year transition from Division II.
FDU held Purdue scoreless for greater than 5 1/2 minutes down the stretch and moved forward by 5 on a 3-pointer by Moore — who’s from suburban Columbus — with 1:03 left. The Knights held on from there, turning into the second straight double-digit seed to ship the Boilermakers dwelling. Purdue was a 3 seed when it misplaced to fifteen seed Saint Peter’s, one other small New Jersey college, within the Candy 16 final yr.
Edey completed with 21 level and 15 rebounds in what could have been his closing school sport, however the Knights persistently denied him the ball down the stretch. He didn’t try a shot within the closing 9 minutes. The junior middle is a doable NBA lottery choose, however the bitterness of this defeat might sway him to stay round for one more yr.
The Knights’ two prior NCAA Event wins got here within the First 4, together with this yr, after they drubbed Texas Southern 84-61. After that sport, Knights coach Tobin Anderson informed his gamers he believed they may deal with Edey and Co.
“The extra I see Purdue, the extra I believe we will beat them,” Anderson informed his gamers within the locker room.
A few of Purdue’s gamers mentioned they felt disrespected by the feedback, which turned out to be prophetic.
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The Knights will now meet the Memphis-Florida Atlantic winner on Sunday for a Candy 16 berth and journey to play at Madison Sq. Backyard in New York subsequent week — only a brief drive from the non-public college’s campus in Teaneck, New Jersey.