Fairleigh Dickinson was vying to become the first 16 seed to reach the Sweet 16. Sweet, right?
Not if nine-seeded Florida Atlantic had anything to say about it. Instead, it was the Owls making history of their own, putting a stop to the Knights' bid at Cinderella glory with a grinding 78-70 victory to advance to their first-ever Sweet 16.
FAU opened up a seven-point lead (32-25) after a first-half slog, but the offense picked up in the second frame as they survived a surge from FDU early on.
Joe Munden Jr.'s free throws with 7:31 left in regulation pulled the Knights within 58-56, but from there the Owls turned it on to pull away with the win. FAU proceeded to go on an 18-11 run over the next six minutes to open it up to a 10-point advantage (74-64) with 1:25 left.
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A Bryan Greenlee three preceded a thunderous dunk by Johnell Davis to put an exclamation point on the run. Nicholas Boyd set both opportunities up, as he had all night for the Owls (tied for the game and team-lead with five assists).
THE OWLS ARE TAKING OVER🦉 @FAUMBB pic.twitter.com/LguWVZKJCm— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) March 20, 2023
Davis led the way for FAU with a monstrous game-high 29 points and 12 rebounds (10 defensive) to go along with five assists on 10-for-16 shooting. Alijah Martin was key as well with 14 points. The Owls also won the turnover battle with seven to FDU's 11.
As for the Knights, three players hit double digits in scoring with Demetre Roberts setting the pace (20 points, seven rebounds). Sean Moore added 14 points and nine boards (seven on the defensive glass), while Munden Jr. chipped in 13 points.