COLUMBUS, OHIO - MARCH 17: Joe Munden Jr. #1 of the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights reacts in the second half of a game against the Purdue Boilermakers in the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Nationwide Arena on March 17, 2023 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Don’t call them Fairleigh Ridiculous any longer.

Fairleigh Dickinson University (Teaneck) stunned the entire basketball world by pulling off one of the greatest upsets in NCAA Tournament history, becoming only the second 16 seed to upend a number 1 seed in the tournament with a 63-58 win over Purdue.

When Tobin Anderson told his players in the locker room following FDU’s win over Texas Southern in the First Four about how he felt about his players pending match-up with Big Ten Champion Purdue he said simply, “I think we can beat them.”

What would have been bulletin board material turned into a rallying cry for Fairleigh Dickinson as they pulled a defensive effort that was right out of Steve Pikeill’s playbook with Rutgers. Their defense smothered the Boilermakers in the mid range game, and never allowed Purdue’s shooters to get comfortable in the paint.

While 7-foot-4 giant Zach Edey got his with 21-points on the night, nothing was doing for the rest of the Purdue roster. The Boilermakers were held to 35 percent shooting from the floor, and 19 percent from downtown.

FDU’s defense forced 11 steals, nine turnovers and three blocks.

FDU hung with Purdue all night, with its largest deficit of six points coming midway through the second half, before Demetre Roberts connected on a three-point jumper that cut the deficit to 47-44. FDU could feel it.

FDU continued to force missed shots by the Boilermakers and converting on the other end. Roberts hit another jumper with 10:33 to go that cut the deficit to one. Finally Grant Singleton nailed a three-pointer that gave FDU the lead back at 49-47.

They would never look back again. For well over four minutes Purdue would go totally cold offensively as FDU held a narrow 54-53 lead.

Finally a pair of free throws and a layup by Sean Moore gave FDU some breathing room at 58-53. Seconds later Purdue answered when Fletcher Loyer hit a three, but Moore responded with a monster three-pointer at the top of the key. The game — mentally and physically was over.

And as Demetre Roberts continued to do his thing swatting away shots near the rim on the defensive side, The Knights carried their coach to an improbable win — the greatest in program history as they join UMBC as the only 16 seed to win a tournament game.

FDU also joins Princeton in their trek to the second round of the tournament. There is just something about Jersey.

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