Greg Herenda: "This Is Magical"

Fairleigh Dickinson won its first NCAA Tournament game in school history Tuesday

March 20, 2019 - 8:33 am
Darnell Edge Fairleigh Dickinson NCAA Tournament

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Fairleigh Dickinson won its first NCAA Tournament game in school history Tuesday, overcoming a 13-point deficit to beat Prairie View A&M 82-76.

“We just had to stay the course,” Fairleigh Dickinson head coach Greg Herenda said on Ferrall on the Bench. “Prairie View is really talented – and I knew they were talented to the basket, but they made 15 threes. Once they started making threes, we were in a dogfight. But our guys just play every possession. It’s a long game, and we have fearless guards.”

Indeed, Prairie View shot 15-of-28 (53.6 percent) from three, but Darnell Edge scored a career-high 33 points and Jahlil Jenkins scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half.

“We just keep playing,” Herenda said. “If you come to a practice, that’s where it’s made. It’s made behind the scenes. I’m a hard coach. I’m an old-school guy. We grind them, but you grind them for a night like tonight, and our boys reaped the benefits.”

Herenda spoke to CBS Sports Radio right before his team left Dayton for Salt Lake City. Fairleigh Dickinson (21-13) will face No. 1 Gonzaga (30-3) on Thursday at 6:27 p.m. ET.

“The pilot will not need any gas,” Herenda said. “The gas comes from within, man. It’s going to be just heaven to get on the plane and really grasp what happened. It’s physically and mentally and spiritually challenging to do what they just did. But God bless them. They did it, and I was happy to go along for the ride. This was magical.”

Gonzaga lost to Saint Mary’s in the WCC Championship last week, but the Zags were one of the most consistent teams in the country all year. They even beat Duke in November.

“We know it’s going to be hard, but we’re hard to guard,” Herenda said. “Small is good now in college basketball. Back in the day when I grew up, you couldn’t beat the big teams. But now with the three-point line, it’s hard to guard Jahlil. It’s hard to guard Darnell. We’ve got to defend better, we’ve got to rebound better – but we’re going out there to win a basketball game. I’m not thinking about a 16-1. I’m thinking about stops and rebounds and execution on offense. That’s the only way you can think about it and you go from there.”