16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson stuns No. 1 Purdue at NCAA match

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Fairleigh Dickinson coach Tobin Anderson stated he thought the cameras had been off Wednesday within the locker room when he advised his gamers what he actually considered their subsequent opponent.

“The more I watch Purdue,” the Knights first-year coach stated to his crew shortly after they’d received their NCAA match play-in recreation in Dayton, Ohio, “the more I think we can beat them. … Let’s go shock the world.”

On Friday night time, Fairleigh Dickinson did simply that.

In knocking off the Boilermakers 63-58, the Knights turned simply the second males’s 16-seed ever to beat a No. 1 seed within the NCAA match.

Getting into Friday, 16-seeds had been 1-150 within the opening spherical. However Fairleigh Dickinson joined the College of Maryland-Baltimore County, which turned the primary males’s 16-seed to beat a No. 1 by knocking off Virginia in 2018.

“I wanted our guys to believe,” stated Anderson, who famous he did not notice his postgame message Wednesday would seem on the nationwide broadcast after FDU’s play-in win. “We [couldn’t] just be happy to be here.”

Because it turned out, the Knights aren’t going anyplace simply but.

Regardless of proudly owning the shortest roster in Division I school basketball — with a median top of 6-foot-1 — Fairleigh Dickinson relentlessly attacked the rim, even with Zach Edey, Purdue’s 7-foot-4, All-American middle, roaming inside.

Edey scored 21 factors, grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked three pictures. However the Knights countered with 24 factors within the paint on the opposite finish (Purdue had solely two extra).

In numerous methods all through the night time, FDU turned its obvious measurement drawback right into a energy. The speedy Knights swarmed Edey and pressured Purdue’s guards. They usually pressured the Boilermakers into 16 turnovers, turning these into 15 factors the opposite approach.

The final two of these proved to be probably the most vital.

With 1:42 to go, and FDU clinging to a one-possession lead, Knights ahead Sean Moore swiped the ball away from Edey. Off the turnover, Moore acquired the ball again for a driving layup, placing the Knights up 58-53.

“You could tell he was exhausted,” Moore stated of Edey within the second half. “We just kept attacking him, running him in transition. … there aren’t many teams that can hang with our speed and transition and how we move.”

On the subsequent possession, Moore nailed a 3-pointer from the highest of the important thing, which gave him a career-high 19 factors in his hometown of Columbus. After each baskets, chants of “F-D-U” started pouring down from the Nationwide Enviornment stands, as even followers of the opposite groups in Columbus relished in witnessing the upset.

The Boilermakers nonetheless had one final likelihood to tie the rating within the closing seconds. However Moore blocked Braden Smith’s layup try. And off the inbounds play, a Fletcher Loyer 3-point try from the nook missed every little thing earlier than falling into the arms of the shortest participant on the courtroom, 5-foot-8 Demetre Roberts, who sealed the victory with two free throws, then one other block on the different finish.

“We showed why we belonged here,” stated Roberts, who scored 12 factors to associate with 4 assists.

Roberts was one of many gamers Anderson introduced with him from his earlier cease, Division II St. Thomas Aquinas School. Beginning guard Grant Singleton, who added 5 assists and three steals Friday, is one other St. Thomas Aquinas switch.

Collectively, they made three Candy 16 appearances within the Division II NCAA match and had a 14-5 postseason document coming into Friday. Anderson stated that have was an enormous key for FDU, particularly towards Purdue’s freshman backcourt duo of Loyer and Smith, who mixed to commit 10 turnovers.

“It’s hard for freshmen to play against two fifth-year seniors,” Anderson stated. “[Their] two freshman guards are going to be terrific. But I think having two fifth-year seniors. … we had the advantage there.”

Fairleigh Dickinson closed as a 23.5-point underdog, making it the biggest upset by level unfold for the reason that NCAA match expanded to 64 groups in 1985. The Knights had been 16-1 to win Friday’s recreation straight-up at Caesars Sportsbook, and even larger lengthy pictures at different sportsbooks. Purdue was 10-1 to win the complete match.

“We had some decision-making in there that just wasn’t very good,” Boilermakers coach Matt Painter stated. “And just kind of allowed them to linger and hang in the game.”

Excluding First 4 video games, Purdue turned the primary crew to lose consecutive NCAA match video games towards 15-seeds or worse; the Boilermakers misplaced to 15-seed Saint Peter’s in final yr’s Candy 16. Purdue now has six losses towards double-digit seeds within the spherical of 64, probably the most amongst Huge Ten groups.

“I wanted our guys to believe. We [couldn’t] just be happy to be here.”

Fairleigh Dickinson coach Tobin Anderson

“I’m just still in shock right now,” Moore stated virtually half-hour after the win, nonetheless drenched in water from the postgame celebration within the locker room. “With a moment like this, not knowing you’d be here and then you’re here. … maybe tomorrow I’ll feel normal again.”

Prior to now three days alone, FDU received half as many video games because it did all of final season, when it completed 4-22.

This yr, FDU did not even win its convention match — Merrimack defeated FDU 67-66 within the Northeast Convention championship recreation however stays ineligible for the NCAA match because it continues the method of reclassifying from Division II. Thus, the convention’s computerized bid went to the Knights.

However FDU coasted within the play-in recreation on Wednesday in Dayton, dominating Texas Southern 84-61.

Two days later, the Knights made historical past. And Anderson turned the primary coach in his first season at any faculty previously 30 years to win within the first spherical of the match as a 15- or 16-seed.

Anderson stated his crew was excited to organize to maintain its run alive. Fairleigh Dickinson subsequent performs Sunday towards Florida Atlantic, a 66-65 winner over Memphis.

However first, Anderson admitted, the Knights had laundry to do. They solely packed a lot for the journey.

“I had belief,” Anderson stated. “But I’m not sure I had that much belief.”

ESPN Stats & Info contributed to this report.