#No. 9 Florida Atlantic takes down No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson [Video]
No. 9 Florida Atlantic takes down No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson [Video]
FDU became just the second No. 16 team to beat a No. 1 seed in 152 attempts on Friday when it upset Purdue. And after trailing by seven at halftime against Florida Atlantic, the Knights went on a 12-1 run to start the second half and take a four-point lead.
The Knights got the lead to five shortly after that, but Florida Atlantic didn’t wither. The Owls went on a 14-5 run of their own to turn a 49-44 deficit into a 58-54 lead, and FDU never led again as FAU pulled away in the final minutes of the game.
It’s the first Sweet 16 appearance in school history for Florida Atlantic in just the school’s second trip to the NCAA tournament. FAU first made the NCAA tournament in 2002 but lost to Alabama as a No. 15 seed.
FAU’s Johnell Davis and Alijah Martin combined for 43 of FAU’s 78 points. Davis was 10 of 16 from the field and scored 29 points. He’s the first player in men’s NCAA tournament history to score at least 25 points, grab 10 rebounds, dish five assists and get five steals. Davis had 12 rebounds and exactly five assists and five steals.
“That just feels amazing,” Davis said after the game. “My team just believed in me, that’s all.”
Right before that quote, Davis let a curse word slip on live television before he caught himself. Sideline reporter Jamie Erdahl had a great quip back.
Davis and Martin were FAU’s leading scorers all season as the Owls went 32-3 and won Conference USA. FAU’s only non-conference loss came to Mississippi and it lost just two C-USA games all season long before beating UAB by 22 in the conference tournament title game.
The Owls outscored opponents by 13 points per game this season, and there’s a strong case to be made they were under-seeded at No. 9 entering the NCAA tournament. FAU ranked No. 21 in KenPom.com’s advanced statistics ahead of Sunday’s game and had the 28th best offensive rating and 37th best defensive rating by the site’s metrics. While FAU’s schedule wasn’t as good as other Power Five teams thanks to its conference, its record and margin of victory made clear that it was going to be a tough opponent for anyone in the NCAA tournament.
FAU will play No. 4 Tennessee in the Sweet 16 on Thursday night.
FDU’s magic runs out
While FDU’s tournament run is over, they didn’t disappoint casual viewers over the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. Sunday night’s game was a frantic end-to-end affair that was one of the more entertaining games of the first two rounds. Neither team was fazed with a Sweet 16 berth on the line.
But the shots that FDU was able to make against Purdue simply weren’t falling against Florida Atlantic. FDU shot just 38% from the field on Sunday and had a rough start to the game as numerous shots at the rim wouldn’t fall.
Demetre Roberts led the Knights with 20 points but was just 2 of 11 from the 3-point line and 8 of 21 overall. FDU once again held its own on the boards despite being one of the shortest teams in the country.
And it also forever has a spot in NCAA tournament lore as a 16 seed. Not only is FDU the second men’s No. 16 seed to get a win over a No. 1, it’s the only No. 16 seed to win two games in the NCAA tournament after beating Texas Southern in a First Four game.
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