COLUMBUS, Ohio — For the second time in the history of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, a No. 16 seed beat a No. 1 seed. Unheralded Fairleigh Dickinson stunned Purdue 63-58 on Friday in an East Region game, according to The New York Times.
The only other time a No. 16 squad upset a No. 1 team came in 2018 when the University of Maryland-Baltimore County beat Virginia, ESPN reported. Heading into Friday’s game, No. 16 seeds were 1-150 against top-seeded squads, according to the sports cable news outlet.
Sean Moore and Fairleigh Dickinson pulled off one of the biggest “stunners in college basketball history,” according to ESPN.
“Fairleigh Dickinson shocks Purdue to become just the second 16-seed to ever win a men’s tourney game,” ESPN said on Twitter.
“We just made history, boys ... college basketball history, for this whole school,” Fairleigh Dickinson coach Tobin Anderson told his team in the locker room, according to The Associated Press. “We’re playing pretty damn well now. Hydrate, do all stuff you do, the ride is not over yet. We can do something more.”
At the end of the game, Fairleigh Dickinson players mobbed each other on the Nationwide Arena floor, the AP reported.
Fairleigh Dickinson had one of the shortest teams in the NCAA tournament and in Division 1 college basketball, with the average height being 6-foot-1. ESPN said the team turned their size disadvantage into a strength. Fairleigh Dickinson’s speed forced Purdue to commit 16 turnovers.
With less than two minutes to play, Purdue threw the ball to Zach Edey. But three Knights forced the Boilermakers’ 7-foot-4 center to lose the ball. Moore picked up the loose ball and scored on a driving layup to give Fairleigh Dickinson a 58-53 lead, ESPN reported.
On the Knights’ next possession, Moore, who scored 19 points, hit a 3-pointer, ESPN reported.
Fairleigh Dickinson will play the winner of Friday’s late game between Memphis and Florida Atlantic University on Sunday. The winner of that game will advance to the Sweet 16, according to the AP.