By JUSTIN RIMPI
The Fairleigh Dickinson Knights have finished up their regular season and earned the No. 2 seed in the Northeast conference tournament. The Knights begin their quest for their second NEC title in four years on Wednesday March 6 at 7 p.m. as they host the Wagner Seahawks.
The Knights finished the season winning five in a row, and 11 of their last 13 games, 17-13 overall and 12-6 in NEC play. St. Francis (Pa.) finished the season with the same conference record as FDU and took the top seed in the tournament based upon tiebreakers. They were co-regular season champions.
This is the first time since the 2005-2006 season that the Knights have won the NEC regular-season crown.
The Knights finished the 2018-2019 season with the highest winning percentage in the NEC at .567.
The Knights last made the NCAA tournament in 2015-2016 when they won the conference tournament by defeating Wagner on the road. The Knights would ultimately fall to Florida Gulf Coast during a “First Four” game.
There are two players on this year’s team that were a member of the team that won the conference tournament in 2015- 2016. Senior forward Michael Holloway Jr. and senior guard Darnell Edge were both members of that team.
The Knights were lead this season by Edge who averaged 16.2 ppg and shot just below 48 percent from behind the arc, which was good enough for 19th in the country.
Edge, who led the nation the nation last season in free-throw percentage finished this season at just below 89 percent from the charity stripe.
All five of the team’s starters ended the year averaging double-figures. Sophomore guard Jahlil Jenkins averaged 13.4, Holloway averaged 12.4, sophomore guard Xzavier Malone-Key averaged 11.4, and junior forward Kaleb Bishop averaged 10 on the year.
The team’s offense is peaking at the right time with the Knights averaging 77.4 ppg during their five-game win streak.
The Knights have to win three games before they will be crowned NEC champions. The semifinals and finals of the conference tournament are March 9 and 12, respectively. The teams get reseeded after the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds so that the higher seed hosts the game.