Fairleigh Dickinson University did something on Friday that has only been done once before.
The Knights, who are a 16-seed, upset No. 1 Purdue University 63-58 to advance to the second round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Down three points with less than ten seconds left, Purdue heaved up a three-point shot but missed the opportunity to tie. The Knights then made two free throws at the opposite end.
This is the second time in NCAA men’s tournament history that a No. 16 seed defeated a No. 1 seed. In 2018, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County became the first to complete the feat over the Virginia Cavaliers.
Knights head coach Tobin Anderson was speechless on the court following the win.
“We just have faith in what we do and our guys are so tough and competitive,” Anderson told the TNT broadcast. “I love our guys. They’re tough. They’re great. They played their tails off. That’s an unbelievable win. It’s unbelievable. We shocked the world.”
FDU players celebrated the historic feat together on the court. Purdue players and fans at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, looked on in complete shock.
Boilermakers big man Zach Edey, who was earlier named one of the semifinalists for the Naismith Player of the Year, finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds in the loss.
The Knights made the tournament this year after a turnaround season in which they finished with a 20-15 record. Last season, FDU finished with a measly 4-22 record.
The 15-win increase over last season was the second-best improvement in Division I men’s basketball, following Southern Mississippi.
The Knights are the second Northeast Conference school ever to advance to the second round in NCAA tournament history. Iona did it in 1980 – but the school’s victory was later vacated.
FDU will next play Sunday, facing the winner of the game between Memphis and Florida Atlantic.