You would think the Jersey story coming out of this year’s NCAA tournament would be a deep run by Rutgers or Seton Hall. Think again. Rutgers dropped a hard fought battle with Notre Dame in the 11th seed play in game in Dayton. Seton Hall struggled to score in their opening match up with TCU in San Diego and were never in the game. This year’s story comes out of a little school in Jersey City with an enrollment of less than 2,500 students. It’s not just a Jersey story. The Peacocks have captivated the nation.
St Peter’s continues their improbable run with a charge into the sweet 16. They did it with another impressive performance against #7 seed Murray State. The Peacocks were in the lead the whole way on Saturday and withstood every run by Murray State defeating them 70-60 in another upset win.
The difference after this victory is that the Peacocks can no longer be considered a Cinderella story. They are playing like they belong and with contributions from different players. This time it was forward KC Ndefo who had 17 points, 10 rebounds and played stellar defense throughout the game with 6 blocks. No surprise, as he is a 3 time MAAC defensive player of the year. Steady play continued from guard Doug Edert, who added 13 points, many of them coming late in the second half to seal the win.
To understand how amazing this run is, St. Peter’s is only the third 15 seed to make it to the sweet 16 in tournament history.
The Peacock’s are back on campus and will rest up and get ready. They’ll need the prep time as the competition will get stiffer. But no trips to the airport for now, they only have a 90 minute bus ride from Jersey City to Philadelphia to take on mighty Purdue, the #2 seed in the East bracket, Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
It’s a tough ticket with the cheapest seats going for close to $300 according to stubhub.com. Perhaps an even tougher ticket is entry to the fanatical watch parties that have been going on in Jersey City at St Peter’s home court, Run Baby Run Arena, where fans are showing their Peacock pride. What a fun ride!