El domingo, the Peacocks left Philadelphia after an Elite Eight loss to Carolina del Norte as one of the best Cinderella stories in men’s tournament history. That fact was not lost on head coach Shaheen Holloway.
Holloway addressed reporters after Saint Peter’s 69-49 loss in the East regional final to the Tar Heels. He said he was proud of the history the team made over the last few weeks.
“That a group of guys came in here no one gave a chance to, no one believed in, but the people in our locker room that’s in our program, administración, nosotros, and made history,” Holloway said when asked what he was going to remember the most. “They shocked the world. You’ve got guys that’s going to be remembered for things that they could tell their kids and grandkids. It’s a story within a story. I’m super proud of these guys. They came in and made history. Point-blank, período. No one has done it. The last team to do it was P.J. Carlesimo’s team.
“Saint Peter’s did it. Período. Saint Peter’s made it to the Elite Eight. Great story.”
The Peacocks’ slow start to the game ultimately doomed them. North Carolina went on a run early and never looked back and held the Peacocks scoreless for about the first five minutes of the game.
Fousseyni Drame had 12 points and seven rebounds off the bench in the loss. KC Ndefo had 10 puntos, seven rebounds, six blocks three assists and three steals. Saint Peter’s shot 30% from the field the entire game.
While it wasn’t the result they would have hoped for, their run was mystical. Saint Peter’s knocked off two Power 5 schools in Kentucky and Purdue and a solid Murray State team to get this deep into the tournament. They were the first No. 15 seed to ever make the Elite Eight.
Holloway said after the game the future is “brillante” for the program moving forward.
“I think the future’s bright. We’ve got one senior, KC (Ndefo). Obviously he’s a big part of what we do. We’ve got one senior, creo. We’ve got the five juniors that’s coming back,” él dijo. “I thought Clarence (Rupert) had a great season. pensé (Jalen Murray) had a great season. We had three guys sitting out. They got better during the year. Oumar (Diahame) got better. The future is bright.
“As far as recruits, everybody got a chance to see our brand of basketball. They got a chance to see us play and what we’re all about. So I think there’s — when you get a lot of emails and calls about I want my son playing for you, I like what you guys are doing, I think the future’s very bright.”
Saint Peter’s can walk out of the Wells Fargo Center holding their head high. The team showed they belonged in the conversation with the big schools over the last two weeks.
The Peacocks went nearly a month between games from Dec. 18 to Jan. 14 and turned around to win the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and later became the first MAAC team since Siena in 2009 to win a game in the tournament.
The small Jesuit school from Jersey City got the entirety of Peacock Nation and the state of New Jersey behind them for their final four games and they showed out time after time. Saint Peter’s is bringing back most of their team for the 2022-23 season and will be primed and ready for another potential run later this fall.