The No. 2-seeded Kentucky Wildcats were stunned by No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s, being beaten 85-79 in overtime in Indianapolis.
Daryl Banks III scored 27 points as the small school from New Jersey stunned one of the most established college basketball teams in the US, claiming its first men’s NCAA tournament victory in program history.
Kentucky holds NCAA records for the most men’s tournament appearances, most games played and most victories.
But in the face of the Goliath-like challenge, Saint Peter’s didn’t bow under pressure, pulling off the stunning upset and busting brackets around the world.
“It’s huge. Putting Jersey City on the map, in New Jersey, we come from a small state,” Banks said afterwards. “Probably, a lot of people probably don’t even know who we are. It’s huge for our school and everybody back home.”
Oscar Tshiebwe had 30 points and 16 rebounds for Kentucky, but Banks’ free throws with 1:45 left in overtime gave the Peacocks the lead and they didn’t relinquish it as time ticked down.
To highlight the gulf of experience between the two teams, Saint Peter’s have made half as many NCAA tournament appearances (four) as Kentucky have national titles (eight).
The Peacocks, coming from a university of just 2,637 students, now advance to the round of 32.
Saint Peter’s will now face No. 7 Murray State, who advanced by beating No. 10 San Francisco 92-87 in OT. It’s the Racers’ 21st straight win — the longest active streak in men’s Division I.
“No disrespect to anybody, but we wasn’t coming down here just to lose. We came down here to fight and we did,” Saint Peter’s head coach Shaheen Holloway said postgame.