The Cinderella story of the 2022 NCAA Tournament sprinkled more magic into the Big Dance on Saturday night as No. 15 seed Saint Peter's, just two days after earning its first-ever win in March Madness with a stunning upset of No. 2 seed Kentucky, punched its ticket to the Sweet 16 with a 70-60 takedown of No. 7 seed Murray State in the second round.
The Peacocks' win, done in wire-to-wire fashion, made them just the third No. 15 seed in tournament history to advance into the Sweet 16 and second in as many years after Oral Roberts busted brackets in similar fashion as a No. 15 seed a year ago. In what was an ugly, low-scoring defensive battle for much of the game, defensive star KC Ndefo -- a three-time winner of the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year -- fittingly led the way with 17 points for Saint Peter's to go with 10 rebounds, six blocks, one steal and one hell of a March Madness highlight.
"These guys came out here on a mission," said Saint Peter's coach Shaheen Holloway. "Everybody keeps saying 'we can't do this, we can't do that, we don't have this, we don't have that.' We have heart, and that's the only thing that matters."
located in Jersey City, New Jersey, just outside of New York City. Its win -- which ended a 21-game winning streak for Murray State -- sends it back closer to home where it will play in the Sweet 16 pod located in Philadelphia, about 90 minutes from the school's campus.
After winning in the first round as an 18.5 point underdog to Kentucky in overtime, Saint Peter's eliminated fellow Bluegrass State power Murray State as an 8-point underdog Saturday, ensuring that every team in this year's tournament field from Kentucky would not see the second weekend. It will face the winner of either No. 3 seed Purdue or No. 6 seed Texas in the Sweet 16 where it is expected to also be an underdog.
"We have a good team," said Holloway. "I'm proud these guys get a chance to play on a different type of stage. NCAA Tournament is every kid's dream. These guys get a chance to show their talent on the big stage, and that's what I'm proud of."