By JUSTIN RIMPI and ANTHONY COVINO
Sports Staff Writers
The Fairleigh Dickinson Men’s basketball team pummeled the Wagner Seahawks tonight at home in the quarterfinals of the NEC tournament, 84-46.
The Knights (18-13) were prodded on by a raucous Rothman Center crowd of 1,190, by far the largest of the season.
The Knights get back in action on March 9 at 12 p.m. as they host No. 4- seeded Robert Morris. During the regular season, the teams split their series, each winning at home.
Senior forward Michael Holloway Jr. drained 6-of-7 from the field to lead FDU with 18 points as the Knights starters all scored in double figures. Sophomore forward Elyjah Williams scored 17, senior guard Darnell chipped in with 15, and both sophomore guard Jahlil Jenkins and junior forward Kaleb Bishop finished with 11.
Williams was forced into the starting lineup after sophomore Xzavier Malone-Key sustained a concussion earlier in the week during practice. This made Malone-Key unavailable for the crucial contest.
Malone-Key averaged 11.4 ppg during the regular season.
“We played really, really well against a very good opponent,” said head coach Greg Herenda. “Tonight we were down 6-0 and I thought we were going to get shut out. My guys really stepped up. We played defense in the first half maybe as well as we played it in the six years I’ve been here.”
When asked about FDU’s tenacious defense Edge said, “It starts with practice every day, stick with the scouting reports, and stopping the players.”
“It shows every day in practice and it showed today we were the better team,” Holloway Jr. said.
The Knights started in a zone defense but that changed after Wagner took a 6-0 lead. The Knights then shifted to a full-court press, changing the tempo of the game as the Knights turned Wagner turnovers into buckets.
The Knights’ stifling defense held the Seahawks to one of their lowest point outputs of the season. The Wagners shot 28 percent from the field and 20 percent from 3-point range. The Knights also turned the Seahawks over 21 times.
Edge finished with a career-high seven steals and 14 steals as a team.
The Knights shot almost 55 percent from the floor and 43 percent from behind the arc (9-21). Williams was a perfect 3-for-3 from downtown.
The Knights got off to a slow start as they were held scoreless for four minutes. Tourney jitters turned into a 27-4 run over the next 12 minutes and a 27-10 lead with just over four minutes remaining in the first half.
They would never look back.
The Knights shot over 63 percent from the field in the first half and 54.5 percent from downtown.
The Knights went into halftime leading 43-14.
Edge pored in 13 of his 15 points in the first half as he went 5-for-6 from the field. Williams also scored 12 in the opening half.
Elijah Davis led the Seahawks with 23.
The Knights had their largest lead, 79-37, with just under four minutes remaining.
Freshman guard Brandon Powell played 18 minutes, while junior guard Pat McNamara and sophomore guard Tyler Jones played eight minutes. Freshman guard Bassell Saliba Jr. played seven minutes. Sophomore center Oscar Okeke played five minutes.
Photograph by Anthony Covino
Freshman Brandon Powell played 18 minutes and finished with 3 points
Photograph by Anthony Covino
Jahlil Jenkins added 11 points in the Knights win over Wagner