College Hoops

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

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

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Sean Moore raised his hands in the air as the chants of “F-D-U” came raining down from everywhere. The Columbus native then raced to his teammates before high-fiving anyone he could find.

On Friday night, Moore and Fairleigh Dickinson pulled off one of the biggest stunners in college basketball history. And with their 63-58 victory over top-seeded Purdue, the Knights became just the second 16-seed ever to beat a No. 1 seed in the men’s NCAA tournament.

Entering Friday, 16-seeds were 1-150 in the opening round. The Knights joined the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, which became the first men’s 16-seed to beat a No. 1 by knocking off Virginia in 2018.

In many ways, Fairleigh Dickinson’s upset was even more improbable.

The Knights own the shortest roster — with an average height of 6-foot-1 — in Division I college basketball, and were facing Zach Edey, Purdue’s 7-foot-4, All-American center.

Edey scored 21 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. But even with Edey patrolling the lane, the Knights still scored 24 points in the paint. And down the stretch, FDU kept Edey from taking over the game inside.

Instead, FDU turned its size disadvantage into a strength. The speedy Knights forced the Boilermakers into 16 turnovers, turning those into 15 points the other way.

The last of those proved to be the most critical.

With under two minutes to go, Purdue threw the ball to Edey on the post. But three Knights swarmed him before FDU’s Moore popped the ball loose. Off the turnover, Moore got the ball back for a driving layup, putting the Knights up 58-53.

On FDU’s next possession, Moore nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key, giving him a career-high 19 points in his hometown.

Purdue still had one last chance to tie the game in the final seconds. But Moore blocked Braden Smith‘s layup attempt out of bounds.

Off the inbounds play, Fletcher Loyer‘s 3-point attempt from the corner missed everything before falling into the arms of the shortest player on the court, 5-foot-8 Demetre Roberts, who sealed the upset with two free…

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