Maybe all the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights needed was a little confidence? The Knights' struggles have long been documented, but now new head coach Greg Herenda has not one, but two signature wins early on in the season.
FDU took down Rutgers earlier this week 73-72 as part of the Preseason NIT, and this afternoon they dispatched another high profile in-state rival Seton Hall 58-54 in the Prudential Center. Is it safe to tout the Knights as the State Champions of New Jersey for this season?
Herenda found success today on the defensive end by playing in a 2-3 zone versus the Pirates. The strategy worked well given the points total for Seton Hall and the fact that the Knights out-rebounded Seton Hall 33 to 29.
Scooter Gillette was also a key to the defensive success for the Pirates. His impressive 15 points and six rebounds were certainly a highlight, but his shock blocking is what set the Knights apart. Gillette blocked four shots on the day, including two in the last 90 seconds of the game. Gillette's last block with less than 10 seconds left gave the Knights a chance to seal the game.
Gillette's final block would eventually send Xavier Harris to the line for the Knights, but the sophomore would miss both free throws with FDU up just three points. Enter the hero of today's game, Sidney Sanders. Sanders, the smallest player on the court, would battle for the rebound from Harris' free throw and come away with it. Sanders would then hit the nail in the coffin with a free throw and a four point win for the Knights. When it was all said and done, Sanders finished the afternoon with 23 points, 9 assists, and 9 rebounds.
Herenda clearly has plenty of momentum continuing a seven game road trip for the Knights. Next up on the slate is a short trip to Stony Brook (5-3) on Wednesday and a match up Saturday with Princeton (5-1).