Prairie View A&M entered its opening-round NCAA tournament match against Fairleigh Dickinson riding a wave that included winning 21 of its previous 22 games, winning a regular season SWAC title, and capturing the conference tournament title.

But that winning momentum came to an end Tuesday for the Panthers in an 82-76 loss to the NEC champions.

Prairie View A&M (22-13) led by as many as 13 points before ending the first half with a 41-34 lead.

The Panthers managed to reestablish a 13-point lead early in the second half before Fairleigh Dickinson (21-13) managed to fight its way back into the game and eventually take a 68-66 lead with 4:20 remaining.

Gary Blackston led the Panthers in scoring with 26 points. Devonte Patterson had 17 points and 8 rebounds.

FDU advances to the main NCAA bracket and will face No. 1 seed Gonzaga of the West Region on Thursday.


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