Fairleigh Dickinson sits just 15 miles from Madison Square Garden. On Sunday, the Knights played for an opportunity to play at the World’s Most Famous Arena in the Sweet 16. But it was not meant to be.
FDU, who was just the second 16-seed to advance to the Round of 32, fell to No. 9 Florida Atlantic 78-70.
Johnell Davis had a monster game for the Conference USA champions. He became the first player in NCAA Tournament history to tally at least 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and five steals (since steals became an official stat in 1986). He registered 29 points, 12 boards, five dimes and five takeaways.
It was a game of runs. The Owls scored the first nine points of the contest. The Knights pulled within one midway through the opening period. FAU then extended the lead back to nine. In the second half, FDU led for much of the early going. Then with the game tied at 54, Davis hit back-to-back shots to give the Owls the lead for good.
“We’ve been in these situations before numerous times, and we found a way,” Davis said. “Usually, it’s in different ways. So absolutely, I think our guys believed, even when we were down seven points, I think we believed we were going to find a way.”
Alijah Martin was the only other Owl in double figures with 14 points.
FDU was led by Demetre Roberts’ 20 points. Sean Moore contributed 14 points and nine rebounds. Joe Munden Jr. was also in double figures with 13.
This run to the Sweet 16 marks the program’s only two wins in the Big Dance, and it is just FAU’s second appearance in the Tournament.
“We never felt like we were a Cinderella team,” FAU coach Dusty May said.
The Owls are now 33-3 on the season and will meet fourth-seeded Tennessee Thursday.