The nation’s shortest basketball team has knocked off the champions of the Big Ten. Fairleigh Dickinson, a member of the Northeast Conference that only made the NCAA Tournament because its conference champion was not eligible to head to the Big Dance, stunned the Purdue Boilermakers on Friday night in Columbus, 63-58.
While the Boilers entered the game with the presumed National Player of the Year in Zach Edey, the Knights entered the game with a sublime defensive gameplan that turned Purdue over, limited Edey’s ability to beat them, and challenged everyone else to come up big. Edey — who went the game’s final 9:25 without attempting a shot from the field — had 21 points and 15 rebounds on 7-for-11 shooting, but as a team, the Boilermakers went 19-for-53 from the field and only hit five threes.
All game long, they were sped up by FDU, which made them pay time and time again.
And by the time the final horn sounded, FDU put their collective names in the history books and made their head coach, Tobin Anderson, look awfully smart when he said after their First Four win that he thought they could pull the upset.
“The more I watch Purdue, the more I think we can beat them.”
Two days ago, FDU head coach Tobin Anderson spoke tonight’s win into existence 🔥pic.twitter.com/4koDOJrlj3
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 18, 2023
The Knights went 20-15 on the year and fell to Merrimack in the NEC championship game, but because the Warriors were not eligible to make the NCAA Tournament this year, Fairleigh Dickinson earned the conference’s automatic bid. FDU joins UMBC as the only schools to win a game in the NCAA Tournament as a 16-seed. Back in 2018, UMBC throttled Virginia, the No. 1 overall seed, 74-54. They would end up losing in the round of 32 to Kansas State. As for Purdue, this marks the third year in a row that they have fallen to a double-digit seed at the tournament. The 4-seed Boilermakers lost to 13-seed North Texas in 2021, and in 2022, they lost in the Sweet 16 as a 3-seed to a 15-seed, Saint Peter’s.
With the win, the Knights will move on to Sunday’s round of 32, where they will play either Memphis or Florida Atlantic with a spot in the Sweet 16 on the line.