FDU has one of the most unlikely wins in college basketball. It’s the shortest team in Division I — 363 out of 363 teams — averaging just 6-foot-1. Almost every Purdue player gained significant height, including Eddy, a guard who was a full foot shorter.
FDU finished 4-22 last season and was ranked sixth in its conference’s preseason coaches poll. Rebounded with 20 wins this season. The Knights claimed the Northeast Conference’s automatic bid, but they didn’t actually win their conference tournament. They fell in the finals to Merrimack, which is transitioning from Division II and did not qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
Anderson, FDU’s coach, warned after Wednesday’s win that his team could compete with Purdue. “The more I watch Purdue, the more I think we can beat them,” Anderson said in the team’s locker room after Wednesday’s game.
He said Friday he was upset about the perceived slight. But his players suggested their coach was checked. “We showed why we’re here,” said 5-foot-8 guard Demetrius Roberts, who ran around Purdue’s taller guards en route to 12 key points.
“We all have a chip on our shoulder,” Anderson said.
A year ago, Anderson was the head coach at St. Thomas Aquinas, a Division II school in Sparkle, New York, where he coached Moore, a Columbus native who joined him at Fairleigh Dickinson. Painter praised Andersen as a “grinder” after Friday’s upset.
Purdue’s fans outnumbered FDU’s supporters, filling the arena with noise as its iconic Purdue Pete marched around the court to inspire the school’s many followers. But as the game progressed, FDU kept it close and chants of “FDU” began to ring out from its moderate fans and attendees of the Memphis and Florida Atlantic parties. .
Purdue regained control of the game in the first 10 minutes of the second half, which hinged heavily on Eddy, the national player of the year, who often swatted balls toward his teammates for grabs like a volleyball player.