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Fairleigh Dickinson wins 2016 Northeast Conference basketball tournament: Knights come through with 87-79 win

The Knights were down early, but rode a second half surge to their first NCAA Tournament bid in over a decade.

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Fairleigh Dickinson clinched a berth in the 2016 NCAA Tournament with an 87-79 victory over Wagner in the Northeast Tournament championship. The No. 2 seed Knights took down the top-seeded Seahawks, and will make their fifth-ever NCAA Tournament appearance as a result, their first since 2005.

Wagner jumped out to an early 13-2 lead, and was shooting well over 50% from the floor as a team throughout the first half. Despite jumping out to that early lead, though, they only went into halftime with a 35-33 lead.

Fairleigh Dickinson clawed back into the game thanks to the efforts of Earl Potts Jr and Darian Anderson. Those two finished fifth and sixth in the conference in scoring this season, and they filled it up again on Tuesday night when their teammates weren't contributing much. Potts especially was huge for the Knights, keeping his team in the game long enough for the rest of his teammates to get it going offensively. Potts finished with 27 points, and also added seven rebounds. Anderson actually finished with more points than Potts thanks to a late three-point play, ending with 28 points, six boards, and five assists.

Fairleigh Dickinson took their first lead with just over 90 seconds gone in the second half, and steadily built their lead into double digits down the stretch in the second half. Wagner was able to chop the lead back down to six points with just over two minutes remaining, but that was as close as they would get.

Despite the Knights' second half run, Wager never stopped controlling the glass. The Seahawks finished with a 43-32 advantage, but things still went sideways for them down the stretch because their hot first half shooting turned cold. Corey Henson led the Seahawks with 24 points, Michael Carey finished with a double-double at 18 points, 11 rebounds, and Mike Aaman had 11 points and eight rebounds.