St. Pete’s With Upset of the Tournament (Already!)
St. Peter’s 85 – Kentucky 79 – OT
A day after Rutgers took Notre Dame to the brink in double-overtime, another New Jersey college was flexing its muscle in the NCAA Tournament: St. Peter’s.
The Jersey City based program, ranked 15th in the East region, defeated second ranked Kentucky 85-79 in overtime, in what was easily the biggest upset of the first full day of tournament action. Earlier on Thursday, 12th ranked Richmond upended fifth ranked Iowa.
Leading the way was Daryl Banks III who scored 27 points in the contest, and Doug Edert, who had 20 points and a couple of huge shots late in the second half to guide the Peacocks.
“It was an amazing feeling,” Banks said. “You grow up you watching March Madness, the tournament, so to let that sink in — knowing the game was over — it felt really good.”
St. Pete’s became only the 10th No. 15 ranked team to win a first round tournament game since the format was set up in 1985. It was also the first opening round loss for Kentucky while under head coach Jon Calipari.
St. Pete’s hung tough with Kentucky all night as both teams exchanged the lead. Finally in the wanning seconds, Edert, who hails from Nutley, nailed a three-pointer with 1:26 to go that gave the Peacocks a slim 69-68 lead.
After Kellan Grady connected on his second three-point attempt on the same possession with 49 seconds to go, to give Kentucky a 71-69 lead, Edert was at it again, tying the game on a drive into the lane to force OT.
In overtime, with Kentucky up 75-72, Edert hit his second three of the night, tying the game up at 75 with 2:41 to go. A minute later Banks drew a foul and connected on both free throws to give St. Pete’s a 77-76 lead.
Perhaps the biggest moment of the game came with 1:29 to go when Kentucky’s Sahvir Wheeler had the basketball bounce off of his thumb and out of bounds, resulting in a turnover back to St. Peter’s. The Peacocks took full advantage with Banks drawing another foul, and connecting on both shots again to make it 81-76.
Kentuck cut that lead down to two on a three-ball by TyTy Washington Jr. with 23 seconds to go, but St. Pete’s wouldn’t be denied. Matthew Lee hit both of his free throws to make it a two possession game once again. After a pair of misses by Kentucky, the Peacocks were on their way to one of the biggest wins in program history.