Saint Peter’s pulled off the biggest upset of this NCAA Tournament, becoming just the 10th ever No. 15 seed to knock off a No. 2 seed. The Peacocks stunned No. 2 Kentucky – a national title contender – with a 85-79 overtime win in the first round Thursday at Indianapolis.
Saint Peter’s, a mid-major from Jersey City, New Jersey and winner of the MAAC tournament’s automatic bid into the Big Dance, won its first-ever NCAA Tournament game in its first appearance since 2011. This will go down as one of the biggest upset losses in coach John Calipari’s tenure with Kentucky; its his first first-round loss since taking over the program in 2009.
Daryl Banks III carried the Peacocks (20-11) offensively in the upset, finishing with 27 points off five three-pointers. Banks’ free throws with 1:45 left gave Saint Peter’s a 77-76 edge in overtime. Oscar Tshiebwe, USA TODAY Sports’ national player of the year, came up huge in overtime with big buckets. He finished with 30 points and 15 rebounds.
But Saint Peter’s junior guard Doug Edert (20 points off the bench) was arguably the star of the game with his playmaking in crunch time. His three-pointer with 2:41 left in overtime made it 75-all when the Peacocks needed a basket to regain momentum.
At the end of regulation, Edert came up clutch. His runner with 21 seconds left tied it at 71-all to force overtime and his three-pointer at the top of the key with 1:18 left gave the Peacocks a momentous 69-68 lead. Saint Peter’s guard Matthew Lee made two clutch free throws with 22 seconds left to help seal the game.
“I’ve got guys who have a chip on their shoulder,” Saint Peter’s coach Shaheen Holloway said after the game. “I’ve got guys who think they can play for Kentucky.”
Kentucky shot itself in the foot in multiple ways, namely by going 1-for-6 from the free-throw line in overtime. TyTy Washington drilled a three-pointer with 21 seconds left to cut the deficit to 81-79, but it wasn’t enough to pull out the victory. The Wildcats (26-8), coming off a 9-16 losing season in 2020-21, were looking to avenge last season and get to a Final Four in the East Regional.
Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.