DAYTON, Ohio — Darnell Edge scored a career-high 33 points, and Fairleigh Dickinson rallied to win its first ever N.C.A.A. Tournament game, taking down Prairie View A&M, 82-76, in the tournament opener Tuesday night.
Edge was 7 for 9 from beyond the 3-point line, and Jahil Jenkins scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half for the Knights (21-13), who advanced out of the First Four to play Gonzaga, the No. 1 seed, on Thursday in Salt Lake City.
Prairie View (22-13), also seeking its first tournament win, built up 13-point leads in both halves, but Fairleigh Dickinson took control in the second half behind the shooting of Edge and Jenkins.
A 3-pointer by Gary Blackson pulled Prairie View back to within two points, 78-76, but a layup from Mike Holloway Jr. and a pair of free throws by Edge with 17 seconds left sealed the outcome for Fairleigh Dickinson.
Blackson led the Panthers with 26 points and Devonte Patterson had 17.
Prairie View threatened to run away with it early, ripping off a 14-0 first-half run as Fairleigh Dickinson committed nine turnovers in the first 10 minutes to fall into a 19-6 hole. The Knights chipped away, with Edge hitting a 3-pointer and a layup in the last minute of the half to reduce the deficit to 41-34 at the intermission.
The Knights got their first tournament win in six tries, and they earned it by staging a furious comeback and holding off Prairie View down the stretch.
Prairie View’s only previous tournament appearance was 21 years ago. It had high hopes after winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference regular season and tournament, going 21-2 to finish the season.