March Madness: FDU upset of Purdue 'one of the most unbelievable stories of all'

By Sports Desk March 18, 2023

Fairleigh Dickinson delivered on coach Tobin Anderson's pre-game optimism as they beat Purdue, but he was not content to settle for "one of the most unbelievable stories of all".

FDU became just the second 16-seed ever to advance at the NCAA Tournament with Friday's sensational 63-58 win.

Purdue had won the regular season title and the Big Ten Tournament this year, but Anderson was confident his underdogs could cause an upset.

Indeed, following the Knights' win in their play-in game, Anderson told the team: "The more I watch Purdue, the more I think we can beat them. Let's go shock the world."

FDU did exactly that, with the coach gushing in his latest post-game message to his players – while he also outlined a desire to keep this fairytale run going.

"We outplayed them for 40 minutes, we were the better team for 40 minutes," Anderson said.

"Our style was tremendous. We played how we had to, we played how we had to play. Unbelievable team effort, unbelievable approach.

"Listen, you just made history boys. You just made friggin' history, college basketball history tonight. After four wins last year, this whole team together... it is one of the most unbelievable stories of all – and that's all on you guys.

"Listen, we're playing pretty damn well now. Hydrate, do all the stuff we have to do, and we can do something even more.

"Hey, we are going to enjoy this, and I am so proud of you. What an unbelievable, special moment for the rest of our lives."

This will go down as perhaps the biggest upset in March Madness history, yet it also felt painfully familiar for Purdue.

The Boilermakers lost to 15-seed Saint Peter's last year, becoming the first team to lose consecutive NCAA Tournament games against 15-seeds or worse – excluding the First Four.

Purdue coach Matt Painter acknowledged his team would have to "sit in it", adding: "There's nothing you can say that's going to change it, right?

"I mean, it stinks. They outplayed us. They out-coached us. I think that's the one thing as a coach that you always face, and you'll get ridiculed. You'll get shamed, you'll get whatever.

"It's basketball. You've got to get better. You've got to keep fighting to get yourself in this position and then be better. And that's what we have to do."

Boilermakers center Zach Edey had been one of the most dominant players in college basketball this year, averaging 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks, but his 21 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks were not enough.

There will be discussion now around Edey's future amid doubts about his suitability to the NBA, with Painter saying his "level-headed" star would "take the information in and make a decision and do what's best for him".

The coach added: "He's a good dude. It's too bad. He deserves better than this. He deserves better."

Related items

  • James after reaching 40,000 NBA points: 'Records are always meant to be broken' James after reaching 40,000 NBA points: 'Records are always meant to be broken'

    LeBron James cannot discount another player going on to reach 40,000 NBA points, as he celebrated reaching the milestone despite a Los Angeles Lakers loss.

    The Lakers lost 124-114 to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, though with a haul of 26 points, James reached 40,017 points.

    When James reached nine points, he was presented with the game ball and received an ovation from the crowd at the Crypto.com arena.

    Coincidentally, James surpassed the 40,000 mark on the 62nd anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game for the Philadelphia Warriors against the New York Knicks.

    While teammate Anthony Davis believes no other player will come close to matching James' points haul, James himself warned records are there to be broken, even though no other active player has yet reached 30,000 career points.

    "Obviously we have a lot of great guys in our league that can score the ball, and if they were to stay healthy and they would play a long time, then they can eclipse it," James said.

    "And then, records are always meant to be broken. You can never say never for any record. At one point we said that Big O's [Oscar Robertson's] triple-double record would never be broken and Russ [Westbrook] did it, and now looks like Joker [Nikola Jokic] and Luka [Doncic], they're doing it every night.

    "I feel like I'm still that threat out on the floor and I am still able to do the things that I was doing 10 years ago. And some things I was doing 20 years ago, which is weird to say."

    Davis did joke, though, that James' record-setting games usually come in defeats for the Lakers.

    "I was just telling him in the locker room he might have to stop breaking records because we always lose any time he breaks a record," Davis said. "And he said the same thing."

    Indeed, that streak is quite something. James was on the losing side when he reached his 30,000th and 35,000th career points. When he became the all-time leading NBA points scorer last year, the Lakers lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    "For me, the main thing is always the main thing, and that's the win," James said.

    "I hated that it had to happen in the defeat, especially versus the team that plays extremely well. We played some good basketball tonight, but weren't able to close it out. So, bittersweet but enjoyed every moment tonight on the floor."

  • NBA: James reaches 40,000 points but Nuggets win 6th straight NBA: James reaches 40,000 points but Nuggets win 6th straight

    LeBron James scored his 40,000th point, but the Denver Nuggets closed strong and won their sixth straight game, 124-114 over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.

    James finished with 26 points and nine assists while reaching his latest milestone on a layup with 10:39 left in the second quarter. He extended his lead as the league’s career scoring leader.

    Nikola Jokić had 35 points and 10 rebounds, Michael Porter Jr. added 25 and 10 and Jamal Murray had 24 points, 11 assists and six boards to help Denver get within one-half game of Minnesota for the Northwest Division lead.

    The Nuggets closed the game on a 16-6 run, with Aaron Gordon’s 3-pointer with 3:49 left putting them ahead for good.

    Jokic made a turnaround hook before Murray hit a jumper and Justin Holiday converted a running layup for a 117-110 advantage. After Anthony Davis’s basket got the Lakers within 117-112 with 1:49 left, Murray made a layup and Jokic added a layup of his own.

    Booker injures ankle in Suns’ loss

    Jalen Green poured in 34 points with six 3-pointers to lead the Houston Rockets to a 118-109 win over the Phoenix Suns, who lost star guard Devin Booker to an ankle injury.

    Booker left late in the game after he injured his right ankle when he stepped on teammate Royce O’Neale’s foot. Booker had 24 points in 38 minutes before departing.

    Fred VanVleet scored 24 points and Alperen Sengun added 21 with 10 rebounds as the Rockets snapped a three-game skid and avenged Thursday’s loss at Phoenix.

    Kevin Durant had 30 points for the Suns, who had a nine-game home winning streak snapped.

    Butler leads Heat past Jazz

    Jimmy Butler scored 18 of his season-high 37 points in the third quarter and the Miami Heat defeated the Utah Jazz 126-120 for their 10th win in 13 games.

    Bam Adebayo added 23 points and Caleb Martin had 18 for the Heat, who beat the Jazz at home for the seventh straight time.

    Butler hit all three of his 3-point attempts and had a steal, extending his streak of having at least one 3 and one steal to 13 consecutive games – the fourth-longest run in the NBA this season and tying Tim Hardaway for the second-longest such streak in Heat history.

    Keyonte George scored 31 points and Lauri Markkanen added 25 as the Jazz lost their third straight and eighth in nine games.

  • Giannis becomes Milwaukee's winningest player as Bucks cruise past Bulls Giannis becomes Milwaukee's winningest player as Bucks cruise past Bulls

    Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 46 points as he became the player with the most wins in the Milwaukee Bucks' history on Friday, with the Chicago Bulls beaten 113-97 at United Center.

    For Milwaukee coach Doc Rivers, however, the focus is squarely on preparing for the postseason as the Bucks eye their third NBA Championship.

    Antetokounmpo surpassed the 40-point mark for the eighth time this season, also adding 16 rebounds and six assists, as the Bucks recorded their fifth straight victory.

    The win was the 489th of Antetokounmpo's Bucks career including both regular-season and playoff games, taking the two-time NBA MVP clear of Sidney Moncrief as the winningest player in franchise history.

    "Everybody has to be on the same page, and I feel like the last couple of games, we're doing that and that's why our defense has taken a step," Antetokounmpo said after the win. 

    "Hopefully, we can keep it up. Right now, it's just about trust. We've just got to trust one another. That's it, win or lose, we have to have the same trust."

    For coach Rivers, who has led the team to an 8-7 run since replacing Adrian Griffin in January, all that matters is ensuring Milwaukee are ready for the postseason.

    "We're winning games, but for us, it's not about that right now," Rivers said. "Our whole key is getting ready. That's the first thing I told the players. 

    "We still have work to do, we're still pushing, we've got to get better. It's nicer to get wins than to lose, but we're not where we want to be yet."

    Milwaukee, who sit third in the Eastern Conference with a 40-21 record, are back in action against the 38-20 Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. 

    They then embark on a four-game California road stretch on Wednesday, when they face the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center. 

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.