Note: This story on Fairleigh Dickinson originally appeared on CBSsports.com in February as the team was midway through conference play in its first season under coach Tobin Anderson. Since then, the Knights secured the NEC’s automatic bid to the Big Dance and won First Four game and were then matched up against Purdue. The game pitted FDU’s tiny lineup against the Boilermakers and their 7-foot-4 center, Zach Edey. For a program coming off a 4-22 season, even making it to the Big Dance marked a stunning turnaround, and pushing Purdue to the brink only validated the incredible nature of the program’s turnaround.
HACKENSACK, N.J. – Any college basketball fan who remembers Loyola-Chicago’s opening night win over Fairleigh Dickinson likely remembers it for the absurdity of the full-court pass and Christian Laettner-esque, buzzer-beating jump shot from the Ramblers’ Sheldon Edwards that tied the game at the end of regulation.
Loyola-Chicago proceeded to win 88-82 in an overtime game that had Sister Jean’s divine touch written all over it. On a dull opening night of college basketball void of marquee matchups, it was one of the highlights.
Three months later, the game remains fresh in the mind of first-year Fairleigh Dickinson coach Tobin Anderson for another reason. Though Edwards’ shot at the end of regulation still haunts him and solicits an eye roll, his team’s competitiveness that night stands out as a sign of the good coming FDU’s way.
“I was worried going into the first game that our size would hurt us,” Anderson said. “Loyola was kind of like the first test. It’s an A-10 school, their place, packed house and our guys were not flustered at all.”
Anderson was right to be concerned. After a prolific nine-year run at Division II St. Thomas Aquinas College, he inherited a team that finished 4-22 last season and proceeded to construct one of the smallest rosters in the modern era of…
Source link : https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/fairleigh-dickinson-vs-purdue-how-the-ncaa-tournaments-smallest-lineup-got-to-the-big-stage/
Author : David Cobb
Publish date : 2023-03-18 00:48:14
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