Fairleigh Dickinson had plenty of supporters on social media as it produced an upset of No. 1 seed Purdue in the NCAA Tournament, and the school whose record it matched may have been the most vocal.
UMBC, which defeated top-seeded Virginia as a No. 16 seed five years ago, sent a barrage of tweets from its official athletic department account following FDU’s 63-58 victory.
“WE HAVE A FRIEND NOW,” UMBC tweeted at 9:15 p.m., a few minutes after Fairleigh Dickinson withstood any final comeback attempt from the Boilermakers.
“What should our 16-seed club t-shirts look like?” the account typed a few minutes later, tagging the Harvard women’s basketball team — which stunned Stanford as a No. 16 seed in 1998 — and FDU’s account.
UMBC even sent out a push for followers to make a trip to Columbus ahead of Fairleigh Dickinson’s next game — a matchup with Florida Atlantic — in the Round of 32 Sunday.
Sean Moore led the Knights with 19 points, and the Teaneck, New Jersey university managed to secure the upset despite allowing 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey to record 21 points and 15 rebounds — dominating inside against his undersized opponent.
After UMBC defeated the Cavaliers in 2018, the Retrievers narrowly lost to Kansas State in the Round of 32, trailing by five points at halftime and losing by seven to eliminate its chance of a Sweet Sixteen berth.
Still, the Retrievers etched their name into Tournament history by becoming the first men’s team to knock off a No. 1 seed in the first round.
Their record stood unmatched for the next three tournaments, with the 2020 event canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the 1-150 record by No. 16 seeds in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament improved marginally Friday night — and busted every remaining March Madness bracket.
And UMBC, along with Harvard’s women’s basketball team, had a new companion for their exclusive group.