Oh, How Sweet It Is! St. Peter’s Heads to Sweet 16
ST. PETER’S 70 – MURRAY STATE 60
The magic will continue for at least another week!
In a year where Rutgers and Seton Hall dominated the headlines in the college basketball world here in New Jersey, it is St. Peter’s University, a private Jesuit college in the heart of Jersey City, off JFK Boulevard, and blocks away from Journal Square that has the entire state, if not the entire country buzzing.
The Peacocks did it again on Saturday. They upset another heavy favorite, this time in seventh ranked Murray State, who had won 21 straight games, and hadn’t lost a game since December 22 at Auburn.
The Peacocks did it with grit, determination and an undeniable commitment to one another. Because, let’s be real — nobody gave them a chance against Kentucky and Murray State, except for themselves. Now they head to Philly and the Sweet Sixteen for the first time ever!
St. Peter’s is also the third 15th seed to ever make it to the regional semi finals. Oral Roberts did it last year. Florida Gulf Coast did it back in 2013.
If there is one thing that is true about the people of Jersey City, Hudson County, and even New Jersey for that matter, it is this: the people there never forget a face; they are passionate, and are incredible loyal (unless your a jerk … and if you are, they’ll let you know about it).
And in this tournament, between Rutgers last second heart-breaker to Notre Dame, and St. Peter’s incredible run here, the Nation has seen what Jersey sports is all about.
In this game St. Peter’s never trailed. Not for one second. Sure the game was tied on a number of occasions in the first half, but St. Peter’s played out front the entire night. The Peacocks flustered Murray State’s offense, holding them to 32 percent shooting in the first half, as St.Peter’s carried a slim 32-27 lead into the break.
In the second half, St. Peter’s jumped out to an 8-0 run with Matthew Lee’s three pointer, and Clarence Rupert’s jumper paving the way to a 40-27 lead.
Slowly Murray State stared to chip away at the lead, and for much of the second half the two schools were dancing the line of a six-point St. Peter’s lead.
One of the more crucial moments came with 5:48 to go when Doug Edert, who again was incredible off the bench, drew a foul while attempting a three-pointer at the top of the key. He would nail all three free throws to give the Peacocks a 57-50 lead.
After Trea Hannibal cut the St. Peter’s lead to just three points when he drew a defensive foul on a layup. Edert responded with a jumper of his own with 4:25 to go to make it 59-54.
Justice Hill answered with a three of his own to bring Murray State to within two-points, 59-57, but Edert had the answer again — this one from down town to push the lead back out to five with 3:39 to go. Edert finished the game with 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting.
With one minute to go, St. Peter’s held a four point lead, 64-60. All they had to do was hold on and make their foul shouts, which they did. Daryl Banks III, Matthew Lee and Hassan Drame all connected to help build a 70-60 lead as the time ran out.
But give credit to the St. Peter’s defense here for the way they finished the game. Murray State missed four three pointers inside the final minute, and the Peacocks were quick on the glass to rebound and force Murray State to use its fouls.
As reality set in, Murray State was frozen on the bench in shock. St. Peter’s bench was jumping in jubilation as that little school from Jersey was moving on to the next round.
Depending on Sunday’s action, St. Peter’s will play either Texas or Purdue on Friday.