March Madness: Fairleigh Dickinson make history as second 16-seed to ever advance
The Fairleigh Dickinson Knights made history on Friday as they knocked off one-seed Purdue 63-58 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
In doing so, FDU became the second 16-seed in tournament history to advance into the second round, joining the 2018 UMBC Retrievers.
Adding to the unlikeliness of their upset, the Knights are the shortest team in all of division one basketball this season – among 363 teams – and they had to deal with seven-foot-four National Player of the Year candidate Zach Edey.
Edey still had his way, scoring 21 points on seven-of-11 shooting while adding 15 rebounds and three blocks. He became the first player in tournament history to put up those numbers and still lose, dating back to when blocks became an official stat in 1986.
It was the only shocking upset of the day, although the six-seed Iowa State Cyclones were totally outmatched in their 59-41 defeat at the hands of the 11-seed Pittsburgh Panthers.
Despite a quiet game from the top NBA prospect in action Friday – Keyonte George – the three-seed Baylor Bears had no issue sending home the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos 74-56.
George, a six-foot-four freshman guard, is averaging 15.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists as a starter on a quality outfit, but he had just nine points against the Gauchos as the Baylor starters got an early rest.
The most eye-catching individual performance of the day came from reigning National Player of the Year Oscar Tshiebwe, with the six-foot-nine senior piling up 25 rebounds in the six-seed Kentucky Wildcats' 61-53 triumph over the 11-seed Providence Friars.
Tshiebwe finished with 11 offensive rebounds to go with 14 on the defensive end, adding eight points, three steals and two blocks.
The other top seeds in action all survived and advanced, with two-seed Marquette beating 15-seed Vermont 78-61, three-seed Gonzaga getting the better of Grand Canyon 82-70, and three-seed Xavier surviving an early scare to overcome Kennesaw State 72-67.