The No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats stunned the 15th seed St. Peter, hitting 85-79 in overtime in Indianapolis.
Daryl Banks III scored 27 points as the junior school from New Jersey stunned one of the most established college basketball teams in the United States, claiming its first NCAA men’s championship win in program history.
Kentucky holds the NCAA records for most men’s games in the championships, most matches played and most wins.
But in the face of a Goliath-like challenge, St. Peter did not bend under pressure, causing astonishing turmoil and breaking arches around the world.
“It’s huge,” Banks said afterwards. “He put Jersey City on the map, in New Jersey, we came from a small state.” “It’s possible that a lot of people probably don’t even know who we are. It’s a huge thing for our school and everyone back home.”
Oscar Chiboye 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 give up over time.
To highlight the experience gap between the two teams, St. Peter made half as many NCAA appearances (four) as Kentucky’s with national titles (eight).
The Peacocks, who came from a university with no more than 2,637 students, are now advancing to the round of 32.
Saint Peter’s will now face No. 7 Murray State, who advanced with a No. 10 San Francisco victory 92-87 at the OT. It’s the contestants’ 21st straight win – the longest active streak in the men’s Division I.
“There’s no disrespect for anyone, but we didn’t come here just to lose. We came here to fight and we did,” said St Peter’s coach Shaheen Holloway.
“Beer enthusiast. Subtly charming alcohol junkie. Wannabe internet buff. Typical pop culture lover.”