Fairleigh Dickinson became just 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, hard-charging defense Friday night.

The shortest team in the tournament, the Knights (21-15) showed no fear, pouncing on 7-foot All-American center Zach Eady from the start. FDU’s players were faster and more composed than the Big Ten champion Boilermakers (29-6).

Five years ago, UMBC showed the way for the little guys, defeating Virginia in its first 16-1 win after many close calls over the years. However, No. 16 had a 1-150 record before shocking FDU.

Fairleigh Dickinson vs. Purdue
Joe Munden Jr. #1 of the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights celebrates after defeating the Purdue Boilermakers 63-58 in the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Nationwide Arena on March 17, 2023 in Columbus, Ohio.

Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Fairleigh Dickinson didn’t even win the Northeast Conference Tournament, losing by one point in the title game to Merrimack, which was ineligible for the NCAA Tournament due to NCAA rules barring it from the postseason because it still has four games to play. year of transition from Division II.

FDU held Purdue scoreless for more than 5 1/2 minutes down the stretch and took a five-point lead on a Moore 3-pointer with 1:03 left. The Knights held on from there, scoring their second straight double-digit lead to send the Boilermakers home. Purdue was a No. 3 seed when it lost to No. 15 seed St. Peters in the Sweet 16 last year.


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