INDIANAPOLIS — Saint Peter’s acted like it’s been there before.
After the 15th-seeded Peacocks bounced Kentucky out of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night, they calmly exchanged handshakes with the Wildcats before heading to the opposite sideline to celebrate with a small contingent true believers.
The little Jesuit school in Jersey City, NJ, got 27 points from Daryl Banks III as they knocked out basketball royalty, beat second seed Kentucky 85-79 in overtime and sent countless brackets into the digital trash.
“It was an incredible feeling,” Banks said. “You grow up watching March Madness, the tournament, so let that sink in – knowing the game was over – it was really good.”
The Peacocks (20-11) became the 10th seeded No. 15 to win a first-round game since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985 and handed Kentucky their first first-round loss under the coach John Calipari.
“At the end of the day, every team that’s made it to the NCAA Tournament deserves to be here. Every team that’s made it to the NCAA Tournament believes they can improve. It’s about tonight,” said said Saint Peter coach Shaheen Holloway.
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion Saint Peter’s remained tight throughout and Banks’ two free throws with 1:45 left in overtime gave the Peacocks the lead for good. Doug Edert’s layup with 24 seconds left in regulation sent the game into overtime. He also made the last two free throws for the Peacocks and finished with 20 points.
Not bad for a school with an enrollment of about 3,500 that has made half as many NCAA tournament appearances (four) as Kentucky has national titles (eight).
“It’s huge,” Banks said. “We’re putting Jersey City on the map. We come from Jersey, a small school, probably a lot of people don’t even know who we are.”
Oscar Tshiebwe had 30 points and 16 rebounds for Kentucky (26-8), but his pair of missed free throws early in overtime cost dearly, and the Wildcats lacked a reliable secondary scorer. TyTy Washington Jr. was held to five points on 2-of-10 shooting.
The match featured 16 ties and 13 lead changes. Kentucky took a 68-62 lead on Sahvir Wheeler’s driving layup with 4:12 to go. Saint Peter’s followed with seven unanswered points, capped by Edert’s three-point nod with 1:25 remaining. Kellan Grady put Kentucky back in front before Edert forced OT.
The Wildcats had their sights set on a ninth title behind Tshiebwe, the 6-9 forward who is a candidate for National Player of the Year honors. And Kentucky played in front of a mostly blue-clad crowd at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, a 2.5-hour drive from Lexington.
“It’s sad because I’ve wanted this moment for a long time,” Tshiebwe said.
Banks set the tone throughout, making all four three-pointers for 16 points in the first half. He finished 9 of 19 from the floor and 5 of 8 from deep, with a raucous reaction after most big hits. Teammates followed suit.
Edert shot 5 of 7, including his two three-point tries. Saint Peter’s finished 9 of 17 overall on three-pointers and shot 29 of 57 overall (50.9%). The Peacocks also stayed close on the boards (35 to Kentucky’s 36) and went 18 of 21 from the line.
“It’s amazing, it’s really amazing,” Edert said. “They had a big crowd, a lot of people. I don’t know if you saw it, but we also had our own little section there.”
Kentucky was 26 of 61 (43%) overall and 23 of 35 from the line. The Wildcats were hesitant with the ball at times, a hesitation that ended in forced shots.
“My thing this week, because I knew they had never played in that kind of stuff, was to release them and we never got to that point,” Calipari said. “Even in time outs I was trying to do it. … As a manager it’s your job to figure out how to finish the game and we didn’t.”
NORFOLK STATE 49
FORT WORTH – Matthew Mayer scored a career-high 22 points and defending national champion Baylor beat Norfolk State.
Freshman Jeremy Sochan added 15 points and seven rebounds for the top-seeded Bears (27-6), who face eighth-seeded North Carolina on Saturday.
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player of the Year Joe Bryant had 15 points for 16th-seeded Norfolk State (24-7).
The Spartans were one of the biggest underdogs in first-round games this year, at 20 1/2 points, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Despite some size up front, they couldn’t keep up with the Bears and never came close to being surprised.
Flo Thamba scored 14 points and Adam Flagler had 11 points for the Bears after a few early fouls.
NORTH CAROLINA 95,
FORT WORTH — Brady Manek scored 28 points, Caleb Love had 21 of 23 before halftime and North Carolina routed Marquette.
Love made six three-pointers, all in the first 19 minutes, to tie Carolina’s single-game tournament record as the Tar Heels (25-9) built a 28-point lead.
Manek, who also had 11 rebounds, finished with five three-pointers as he and Love combined to go 11 of 24 from long range. Armando Bacot grabbed 10 rebounds en route to the school season record (422).
RJ Davis had 12 assists for Carolina.
Olivier-Maxence Prosper scored 16 points for the Golden Eagles (19-13), who lost their third straight game in the first round.
HOLY MARY 82,
PORTLAND, Ore. — Logan Johnson scored 20 points and fifth-seeded Saint Mary’s took advantage of No. 12-seeded Indiana’s grueling schedule.
Tommy Kuhse added 19 points and six assists for the Gaels (26-7), the only team to beat Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference this season.
Trayce Jackson-Davis had 12 points for Indiana (21-14), which arrived in Portland Wednesday morning after a sleepless night due to flight delays from Dayton after the First Four. The Hoosiers won their first tournament game since 2016 by defeating Wyoming 66-58 on Tuesday night.
Thursday’s game was Indiana’s fifth in seven days. Saint Mary’s returned after a 10-day layoff after falling to the Bulldogs in the WCC Tournament title game.
Saint Mary’s pulled out at the end of the first half and led by as much as 34 points – and the overworked Hoosiers couldn’t catch up.
RICHMOND 67, IOWA 63
BUFFALO, NY — Jacob Gilyard scored 24 points, Tyler Burton added 18 points and 11 rebounds, and No. 12 seed Richmond relied on his experience to defeat Big Ten tournament champion Iowa.
Nathan Cayo also had 15 points, including some big shots in the streak, as the tournament champion Atlantic 10 Spiders (24-12) improved their NCAA tournament record against fifth-seeded teams to 4-0. They will next face the region’s No. 4 seed, Providence.
Keegan Murray scored 21 points and Patrick McCaffery added 18 for the Hawkeyes (26-10), who couldn’t build on their streak of four wins in four days at the Big Ten tournament last weekend.
The Hawkeyes’ fourth-best offense nationally, which entered the NCAA Tournament averaging 83.8 points, was held to its third-lowest total of the year and worst production in a year. 48-46 loss at Rutgers on Jan. 19.
Gilyard sealed the win by making all four free throw attempts in the final 16 seconds.
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 57
BUFFALO, NY – Al Durham had 13 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists and Jared Bynum made three big free throws with 29.9 seconds left as Providence ended the longest winning streak in basketball university by beating South Dakota State.
It was a typical grind for regular-season Big East champions. The Brotherhood’s turnaround season after 13-13 in 2020-21 now features 16 single-digit wins.
The Jackrabbits (30-6) rode a 21-game winning streak.
The Friars (26-5) led three in the final minute and Bynum dropped a three-pointer with 3 seconds left on the shot clock. The shot missed, but Douglas Wilson was called for a foul. Bynum knocked down all three shots to give Providence a six-point lead. Bynum finished with 12 points and Noah Horchler had 13 for Providence.
Baylor Scheierman led the Jackrabbits with 18 points and 10 rebounds and Wilson had 13.
SAN DIEGO STATE 69
FORT WORTH – Trey Alexander converted a three-point play late in overtime, and Creighton rallied for a win over San Diego State.
The Bluejays (23-11) hadn’t led since the first five minutes of the match when Alexander, who also had the equalizer late in regulation, drove on the right and was fouled on the lay- up. The free throw put Creighton ahead 71-69 with 1:08 to go.
Trailing by two, the Aztecs had the ball with 4.3 seconds left when Matt Bradley touched Aguek Arop and then ran around him for the transfer. Bradley lost control of the ball before shooting, and Creighton secured it with 0.8 to go.
Alexander scored 18 points and Ryan Kalkbrenner had 16 points and 10 rebounds before leaving with an apparent left leg injury in overtime.
Chad Baker-Mazara scored 15 of his 17 first-half points for the Aztecs (23-9), who were in position for their first tournament victory since 2015. Gus Bradley added 15.
Every hour Central
At PPG Paints Arena
Loyola-Chicago vs. Ohio State, 11:15 a.m. CBS
Delaware vs. Villanova, 1:45 p.m. CBS
Tenn.-Chattanooga vs. Illinois, 5:50 a.m. TNT
To the. Birmingham vs. Houston, 8:20 p.m. TNT
In Viejas Arena
San Diego, California.
Wright State vs. Arizona, 6:27 p.m. TruTV
TCU vs. Seton Hall, 8:57 p.m. TruTV
Au Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Greenville, South Carolina
Jacksonville State vs. Auburn, 11:40 a.m. TruTV
Miami vs. Southern Cal, 2:10 p.m. TruTV
At the Fiserv Forum
Iowa State vs. LSU, 6:20 p.m. TBS
Colgate vs. Wisconsin, 8:50 p.m. TBS
At PPG Paints Arena
Montana State vs. Texas Tech, 12:45 p.m. TNT
Notre Dame vs. Alabama, 3:15 p.m. TNT
Au Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Greenville, South Carolina
Cal St. Fullerton vs. Duke, 6:10 p.m. CBS
Davidson vs. Michigan State, 8:40 p.m. CBS
At the Fiserv Forum
Yale vs. Purdue, 1 p.m. TBS
Virginia Tech vs. Texas, 3:30 p.m. TBS
Arkansas 75, Vermont 71
Michigan 75 Colorado St. 63
Providence 66 South Dakota Street 57
Memphis 64 Boise Street 53
Baylor 85 Norfolk Street 49
Tennessee 88, Longwood 56
Richmond 67, Iowa 63
Gonzaga 93 Georgia Street 72
North Carolina 95, Marquette 63
New Mexico St. 70, UConn 63
St. Peter’s 85, Kentucky 79, OT
Saint Mary’s (California) 82, Indiana 53
Creighton 72, San Diego St. 59, OT
Murray St. 92, San Francisco 87, OT
UCLA 57, Akron 53
Kansas 83, South Texas 56
Gallery: NCAA Tournament, 2022-03-17