Once upon a time, Eric Moore almost played a part in a monumental upset of a Pitt team that was ranked No. 2 in the country. Now he’s going to try to do it again for the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights, who come into the Petersen Events Center tomorrow night looking to upset the fifth-ranked Panthers in the season opener for both teams.
Moore was at the University of Buffalo on December 9, 2006 when the Panthers played at Alumni Arena in Buffalo. Pitt trailed by 10 points with 12 minutes remaining, but mounted a comeback and averted the upset with a 70-67 victory. Moore played a big role in that game. He scored 14 points and made a number of big 3-point shots that staked the Bulls to an early lead.
“He made shots and had the game of his career,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon earlier this week. “I’ve known him since he was at Saint Benedicts. We know he can make shots. We probably know more about him than any of their other players.”
Moore is one of three transfers and four newcomers to FDU's starting lineup. Alvin Mofunaya from Saint Joseph’s and Terence Grier from Rhode Island are the other two transfers who will be in the starting lineup. Senior point guard Cameron Tyler did not play last season, but he was a productive player in his first two seasons.
DU coach Tom Green also returns starting guard Sean Baptiste, who averaged 18.5 points per game last season, and part-time starting forwards John Galvin and DeJuan Pursley.
Baptiste and Moore are the two most proven players. Moore averaged 12.5 points per game for the Bulls in 2006-07.
“I’m not sure what to expect,” said Green, a native of Brockway, Pa. “I’m just trying to introduce the players to each other in practice.”
Green, who is in his 25th season as head coach at Fairleigh Dickinson, is trying to rejuvenate his program, which is 22-36 the past two seasons, with the infusion of transfers. The Knights have been to four NCAA tournaments under Green and recently had back-to-back 20-win seasons in 2004-05 and 2005-06.
“I’ve done it every which way possible in my 25 years,” Green said. “I’ve done it with high school kids, transfers and junior-college transfers.”
Dixon said Green’s team almost always use the 3-point shot as a big part of the offense, so expect the Knights to fire up some long-distance shots.