Chicago Sun-Times

Spoiler-makers! fdu stuns purdue


Fairleigh Dickinson brought down a giant in Columbus, Ohio. Pulling off one of the biggest upsets in NCAA Tournament history, the undersized, underdog Knights (21-15) stunned topseeded Purdue 63-58 on Friday night, becoming the second No. 16 seed to win a game in March Madness.

The shortest team in the tourney, the Knights showed no fear in swarming 7-4 AllAmerica center Zach Edey from the start and simply outplayed the Big Ten champion Boilermake­rs (29-6).

“We just made history, boys . . . college basketball history, for this whole school,” coach Tobin Anderson told his team in the celebrator­y locker room. “We’re playing pretty damn well now. Hydrate, do all stuff you do, the ride is not over yet.

“We can do something more.”

Sean Moore scored 19 points to lead FDU and a relentless defensive charge by a team that now has everyone’s attention.

Five years ago, UMBC showed the way for the little guys by overwhelmi­ng Virginia in the first 16-over-1 victory after numerous close calls over the years. Still, No. 16s had a 1-150 record against No. 1s and were 1-151 overall before FDU’s shocker.

After the final horn, FDU’s players mobbed each other on the floor of Nationwide Arena, where the fans from Memphis and Florida Atlantic who were waiting for the day’s final game joined forces in cheering on the Knights in the final, frantic minutes.

Fairleigh Dickinson didn’t even win the Northeast Conference Tournament, falling by one point in the title game to Merrimack, which couldn’t participat­e in the NCAA Tournament because of an NCAA rule that bars it from the postseason because it’s still completing its four-year transition from Division II.

FDU held Purdue scoreless for more than 5½ minutes down the stretch and moved ahead by five on a three-pointer by Moore — who is from suburban Columbus — with 1:03 left.

The Knights held on from there, becoming the second straight double-digit seed to send the Boilermake­rs home. Purdue was a No. 3 seed when it lost to No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s, another small New Jersey school, in the Sweet 16 last year.

Edey finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds in what might have been his final college game, but the Knights were masterful against him in the second half. Edey didn’t attempt a shot in the final nine minutes, and anytime he touched the ball there were Knights all around him.

Marquette 78, Vermont 41

Kam Jones managed a single point in the first half against the Catamounts. Then the guard received a round of encouragem­ent from the Golden Eagles bench during an early second-half timeout in Columbus, Ohio. It all just clicked for Jones from there. Jones scored 18 of his 19 points in one stretch of the second half as second-seeded Marquette (29-6) pulled away from 15thseeded Vermont (23-11) en route to an easy first-round victory.

“Kam, second half, he looked a little down, like somebody took his puppy dog in the timeout,” coach Shaka Smart said. “And we tried to encourage him, all the coaches and players tried to encourage him. ‘Hey, just be you, man.’ And I thought he did a great job. That’s what allowed us to break the game open.”

Oso Ighodaro scored 14 points and David Joplin added 12 as Marquette left Vermont behind in the last 10 minutes. Marquette won its first NCAA game in a decade.

Michigan State 72, USC 62

Upset with the officials and his team’s defense, Spartans coach Tom Izzo snapped a white board in half during a timeout.

“It felt damn good,” Izzo cracked.

His Spartans broke the Trojans soon after. Joey Hauser scored 17 points and No. 7 seed Michigan State (20-12) clamped down defensivel­y on No. 10 seed USC (22-11) in the second half in Columbus.

Tyson Walker and Jaden Akins added 12 points apiece for Michigan State, which held USC to 34% shooting in the second half. It felt like every possession was a challenge for the Trojans, who only stayed within range with some late threes and atrocious late freethrow shooting by Michigan State.

Pittsburgh 59, Iowa State 41

Nelly Cummings scored 13 points and the No. 11 seed Panthers (24-11) held the sixthseede­d Cyclones (19-14) to 23% shooting in an upset in Greensboro, North Carolina. Jamarius Burton added 11 points and Greg Elliott had 10 for Pitt, which stormed to a 22-2 lead after Iowa State missed its first 11 shots.

Xavier 72, Kennesaw State 67

Jack Nunge blocked Terrell Burden’s driving attempt at a go-ahead layup in the final seconds, and third-seeded Musketeers (26-9) dug out of a 13-point hole to escape against the surprising 14th-seeded Owls (26-9) in Greensboro, North Carolina.

 ?? PAUL SANCYA/AP ?? Joe Munden Jr. (1) and Sean Moore (11) of 16th-seeded Fairleigh Dickinson bask in the moment of the Knights’ historic stunner of No. 1 seed Purdue on Friday night.
PAUL SANCYA/AP Joe Munden Jr. (1) and Sean Moore (11) of 16th-seeded Fairleigh Dickinson bask in the moment of the Knights’ historic stunner of No. 1 seed Purdue on Friday night.

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