PHILADELPHIA – The time has not yet come for the biggest losers in the NCAA men’s tournament.
Tiny St. Peter’s University is alive and advancing to the final eight, killing another basketball powerhouse in the NCAA tournament. The 15th-ranked Peacocks, 3 Burdock, stunned the target 67-64 ahead of a crowd that included several St. Peter’s fans Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Jersey roared at the turnbike and approval.
Peacocks (22-11) No. 1 in the Eastern Regional Final on Sunday. Level 4 UCLA and No. 8 North Carolina are advancing to face the winner and have a chance to reach the final fourth place in New Orleans. They are number one now. 2 Kentucky, no. 3 Burdock and no. 7 have dropped Murray State and finished 8th in the top 13 or lower.
“I got a crowd playing basketball and having fun. That’s all we do, “said St. Peter’s coach Shaheen Holloway in a televised interview with his players.
The Peacocks caught national attention as soon as they fell to Kentucky – one of the national title favorites – advancing to the 16th round and finishing third and 15th. St. Peters is the only place in New Jersey that has advanced so far. Holloway on the 2000 Seton Hall team since the men’s match as a point guard.
“We’re happy but made no mistake, we’re not satisfied,” said guard Doug Edert, who finished with 10 points, including two clutch free throws in the final seconds. “We feel own.”
The game was tight with 15 lead changes throughout and both teams had deep control of the trade in the second half. Burdock, known for his big, tall, athletic prowess, came out of St. Petersburg and out, but the Peacocks found a way to win anyway.
“They beat us like they beat the other two teams. They grinded us, ”said Purdue coach Matt Painter.
St. Peter’s defender Matthew Lee tied the game at 57 with 3:17 remaining, exactly one minute later when Peacock’s leading scorer Daryl Banks hit a driving lap to lead III with 14 points. Teams traded baskets and free throws, but were not caught by Burdock.
The Peacocks came to Friday’s game wearing T-shirts that read “More Possible”.
“What are they going to say now?” Holloway said as his soldiers celebrated behind him. “Let’s see later.”
– Adam Zakoria
Kansas is the No. 1 seed to reach the 8th round only.
CHICAGO – Kansas’ senior line-up was relegated to the 8th round on Friday, beating Providence 66-61 in the Midwest regional semifinals, becoming the only first-place team to advance in a week when upsets are the norm.
The Jayhawks controlled the match early on, blocking six Providence shots in the first 12 minutes and dominating the resumption of the first half. Providence, however, made its first Sweet 16 appearance in the quarter century, reaching the stabbing game again.
After trailing until the 13th, Noah Horchler quickly sank two 3-pointers in a row and pulled Fryers into a point in the second half. A few minutes later, he drove to the basket to give Providence a quick taste of lead.
But against the experienced Kansas team it proved to be not enough, even if sometimes elegant.
At the end of the first half, Jalan Wilson, a Jayhawk forward, missed two places, but each time he got his own rebound and was able to force the ball through the ring. Ochai Akbaji, the national player of the final of this year, scored only 2 of 8 field goals. But as Kansas looked tense and the fans became more aggressive, Akbaji reappeared later in the second half when Christian Brown served from behind the 3-point line to the alley-off. Akbaji cheered on the Jaihawk fans who were quiet all night at the United Center in Chicago.
Kansas, with its junior starter Redshirt Sophomore leaning on Remy Martin, a super-senior and Arizona State Transfer, he led the Jayhawks with 23 points. Brown, a junior and Wilson, a redshirt sophomore, both reached double digits in rebounds.
The Jay Hawks will enter their favorite against Iowa State or Miami on Sunday, and they are due to play each other late Friday. Iowa ranks 11th in the Midwest region and Miami ranks 10th.
But the Jayhawks’ performance on Friday, following a closer-than-expected victory in the 32nd round against Creighton, left little to worry about their longevity in the latter part of the match. Kansas advanced to the 8th round for the eighth time during the tenure of coach Bill Self at Lawrence. Only one of those trips ended with a national title.
– Mitch Smith
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