Fairleigh Dickinson shocks Purdue to become second No. 16 seed ever to win NCAA tournament game
Toronto's Zach Edey finishes with 21 points, 15 rebounds in 63-58 loss
Fairleigh Dickinson became the second No. 16 seed in history to win an NCAA Tournament game, stunning top-seeded Purdue 63-58 behind 19 points from Sean Moore and a relentless, hustling defence on Friday night.
The shortest team in the tourney, the Knights (21-15) showed no fear in swarming 7-foot-4 All-America centre Zach Edey, a native of Toronto, from the start. FDU's players were quicker and more composed than the Big Ten champion Boilermakers (29-6).
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 joined forces in cheering on the Knights in the final 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.
HUGE BLOCK FOR XAVIER 😱<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MarchMadness?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MarchMadness</a> <a href="https://t.co/NMiIZitmlg">pic.twitter.com/NMiIZitmlg</a>—@MarchMadnessMBB
FDU held Purdue scoreless for more than 5 1/2 minutes down the stretch and moved ahead by five on a 3-pointer by Moore — who is from suburban Columbus — with 1:03 left. The Knights held on from there, becoming the third straight double-digit seed to send the Boilermakers home. Purdue was a 3 seed when it lost to 15 seed Saint Peter's, another small New Jersey school, in the Sweet 16 last year.
Edey finished with 21 point and 15 rebounds in what may have been his final college game, but the Knights consistently denied him the ball down the stretch. He didn't attempt a shot in the final nine minutes.
"A lot of times they would have one dude guarding from behind and one dude basically sitting in my lap," Edey said. "They were full fronting the entire game. Made it very hard to get catches. Credit to them, they had a great game plan coming in. And they executed it very well."
Without a player on its roster taller than 6-foot-6, Fairleigh Dickinson sometimes needed two players to guard Edey.
Edey showed some frustration and at one point told one of the officials, "Sir, he's holding my left arm."
The junior centre is a possible NBA lottery pick, but the bitterness of this defeat could sway Edey to stick around for another year.
"I have no opinion on that," Edey said when asked about his future. "I'll make my decision going forward."
The Knights' two prior NCAA Tournament wins came in the First Four, including this year, when they drubbed Texas Southern 84-61. After that game, Knights coach Tobin Anderson told his players he believed they could handle Edey and Co.
"The more I see Purdue, the more I think we can beat them," Anderson told his players in the locker room.
Some of Purdue's players said they felt disrespected by the comments, which turned out to be prophetic.
"It was the right message, wrong audience," Anderson said. "I would have said that with no camera in there. I didn't mean to get Purdue upset. That was not the idea at all. But that's got to be the message. We're trying to win the next game. We just can't be happy to be here."
"And the guys gotta believe."
The Knights will now meet the Memphis-Florida Atlantic winner on Sunday for a Sweet 16 berth and trip to play at Madison Square Garden in New York next week — just a short drive from the private school's campus in Teaneck, New Jersey.
Game-saving block helps No. 3 Xavier avoid upset
Jack Nunge blocked Terrell Burden's driving attempt at a go-ahead layup in the final seconds, and Xavier dug out of a 13-point hole against surprising Kennesaw State to escape with a 72-67 victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday.
Souley Boum hit four clinching free throws in the final 2.6 seconds for the third-seeded Musketeers (26-9), who ran off 15 unanswered points as part of a game-ending 24-6 run. That was enough to turn away the 14th-seeded Owls (26-9) in the program's first-ever March Madness game.
Xavier moves on to face either Iowa State or Pittsburgh on Sunday in the Midwest Region.
Xavier led 68-67 when Burden — who'd been successful all day with dribble penetration — turned into the paint past Jerome Hunter and appeared to have a path to the rim. The 7-foot Nunge moved over and swatted the ball into the backboard.
Kennesaw State made just two baskets in the final 9:57 as its chances of a signature March moment slipped away painfully.
Coles hits late floater as TCU edges Arizona State
Watching from the bench for most of last season, JaKobe Coles patiently waited his turn.
His reward came Friday night, a floater from the lane with 1.5 seconds left that lifted No. 6 seed TCU to a come-from-behind 72-70 win over 11th-seeded Arizona State in the first round.
Coles took the pass from Miles from the top of the 3-point circle, dribbled once, took two steps and let go of the game-winner.
A desperation heave by Arizona State guard Frankie Collins at the buzzer missed everything, and left coach Bobby Hurley wondering if he should have used a timeout to set up a play.
While TCU (22-12) advanced to play Gonzaga on Sunday, Arizona State's season ended in heart-breaking fashion. Nobody could say the Sun Devils (23-13) didn't put on a show.
They took an 11-point lead early in the second half punctuated by a pair of highlight-reel dunks. One was from Collins — with a defender draped all over him — and another from Devan Cambridge, who finished a fast break with a backward power slam.
That's when TCU started chipping away.
Joey Hauser scored 17 points and No. 7 seed Michigan State clamped down defensively on No. 10 seed Southern California in the second half on Thursday for a 72-62 win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament's East Region.
Coach Tom Izzo's Spartans (20-12) will face Marquette on Sunday for a spot in the Sweet 16. Marquette coach Shaka Smart sat on press row for part of the second half to get a closer look at what could be his next opponent.
Smart watched as Michigan State ramped up its defensive intensity after halftime to muzzle the streaky Trojans (22-11), who were knocked out in the tournament's first round for the second straight year.
Tyson Walker and Jaden Akins added 12 points apiece for Michigan State, which held USC to 34 per cent shooting in the second half. It felt like every possession was a challenge for the Trojans, who only stayed within range with some late 3-pointers and some atrocious free-throw shooting by Michigan State.
Michigan State, appearing in its 25th straight tournament under Izzo, will move on in what has been a unique and challenging season for the Spartans. The team became the face of a grief-stricken school after a gunman killed three students and injured five others in a campus shooting on Feb. 13.
Playing in Big Ten country, and backed by a crowd wearing even more green on St. Patrick's Day, the Spartans took control in the second half.
Jones leads Marquette past Vermont
Kam Jones scored 18 of his 19 points in the second half as second-seeded Marquette beat No. 15 Vermont 78-61 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday.
Oso Ighodaro scored 14 points and David Joplin added 12 as Marquette (29-6) pulled away in the last 10 minutes and cruised to the rout, advancing to face seventh-seeded Michigan State.
Michigan State beat No. 10 Southern California on Friday.
Jones' second-half surge included scoring 17 straight for Marquette, including a trio of 3-point shots. By the time he was finished, the Golden Eagles increased their lead from five points to 17 with just under 10 minutes left.
Dylan Penn, Matt Veretto and Robin Duncan each had 11 points for Vermont (23-11), whose 15-game win streak was snapped by the Golden Eagles.
Marquette led 39-30 at the half, despite Big East Player of the Year Tyler Kolek hitting only 3 of his 10 shots from the floor.
Kolek wasn't a big factor in the game, getting his fourth foul early in the second. He finished with eight points after scoring in double figures for the previous 13 games.
Marquette extended its winning streak to 10 games.
Ailing VCU through to next round
Mitchell Saxen had 17 points, seven rebounds and four blocks, and Saint Mary's beat ailing VCU 63-51 in the NCAA Tournament on Friday.
Alex Ducas also scored 17 points as the fifth-seeded Gaels (27-7) advanced to the second round for the second straight year. Logan Johnson had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and reserve Augustas Marciulionis scored 13 points.
Ace Baldwin led VCU (27-8) with 13 points, but he appeared to sprain his right ankle on his landing after taking a jumper with just over 14 minutes left in regulation. The Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year lay on the court for a couple of minutes before receiving treatment on the bench and back in the locker room.
VCU was down 38-34 when Baldwin left and 48-39 when he came back with 9:03 left after the Gaels of the West Coast Conference went on a 10-5 spurt sparked by a three-point play by Kyle Bowen.
Saint Mary's, which held a 37-29 rebounding edge, will play No. 4 seed UConn or 13th-seeded Iona and coach Rick Pitino on Sunday.
The NCAA appearance was the first for 12th-seeded VCU since it had to forfeit a game in the 2021 tournament because of a COVID-19 outbreak. The Rams had won nine in a row.
Caleb Lohner scored a season-best 13 points in just 18 minutes, and No. 3 seed Baylor beat UC Santa Barbara 74-56.
Baylor (23-10) overcame a one-point halftime deficit to advance to play the Creighton-North Carolina State winner on Sunday in the South Region.
Lohner's only other double-digit performance since transferring from BYU to Baylor for this season came back in November when he scored 11 against Virginia.
The Gauchos (27-8) looked like easy pickings for the Bears in the opening minutes before they used a 13-1 run to take a 26-22 lead.
The Gauchos led the Mountain West Conference with a .493 shooting percentage and that sharpshooting carried over to Ball Arena, where they shot 61.5 per cent in the first half to take a 36-35 lead into the locker room.
That all went away after halftime, however. The Gauchos were held to 30.4 per cent shooting in the second half and the Bears pulled away.
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