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Saturday, May 28, 2022

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NCAA Match belongs to Saint Peter’s

There was one ultimate prayer for Purdue Boilermakers however, let’s be trustworthy: the invaders from the Massive Ten weren’t about to obtain any celestial intervention. Not this night time. Not this recreation. Not in opposition to the Saint Peter’s Peacocks. 

Not on Nationwide Peacock Day. 

(Is that basically a factor? On this night time, anyway, it was actually a factor.) 

No. Jaden Ivey’s shot from about 10 toes past the highest of the important thing would possibly’ve appeared good on TV. It would’ve appeared good to sure segments of Wells Fargo Heart in Philadelphia, particularly because it wasn’t simply Saint Peter’s diehards who have been on their toes, making an attempt to shout the ball vast, or brief, but in addition the parents within the constructing carrying UCLA and North Carolina gear. 

(And it wasn’t simply because all shades of blue stick collectively.) 

It by no means had a shot. It bounded harmlessly away. The buzzer groaned and the roar inside Wells Fargo Heart rose. It was over. It was achieved. The magical thriller tour for Saint Peters’ would final not less than one other two days. The proof overhead, frozen on the scoreboard, will stand ceaselessly. 

Saint Peter’s 67, Purdue 64

Peacocks 67, Boilermakers 64. 


“We’re completely happy,” Saint Peter’s guard Doug Edert stated, “however we’re not happy.” 

“We’re pretty much as good as any workforce within the nation,” guard Matthew Lee stated. 

Are you going to inform them they’re improper, that they’re delusional, that they’re indifferent from actuality? After what they’ve achieved since March 17? After what they’ve achieved going again to the MAAC event, or going again to Feb. 20, once they misplaced at Siena, 84-71, dropping their document to 12-11? 

Effectively, they’re 10-Zero since. They shocked Kentucky and ruined in all probability 50 p.c of the brackets in existence. They dominated Murray State, which was imagined to be the gold customary of mid-majors this 12 months. And Friday night time it was Purdue, which spent a while this 12 months because the No. 1 workforce within the nation. 

Shaheen Holloway (right) speaks with Matthew Lee during Saint Peter's win over Purdue.
Shaheen Holloway (proper) speaks with Matthew Lee throughout Saint Peter’s win over Purdue.
Noah Ok. Murray-NY Submit

(A reign that ended when New Jersey’s OTHER workforce, Rutgers, beat the Boilermakers again in December. Some folks hate New Jersey for kicks; Purdue’s indignant followers have some legit stuff to grouse about.) 

“What,” a gleeful Shaheen Holloway stated, “are they gonna say subsequent?” 

Holloway, the Peacocks’ coach, stated this with a wink. He is aware of 95 p.c of the constructing was on his facet Friday night time, as was 95 p.c of America. He is aware of folks love the underdog in March, so it isn’t as if anybody is lined up in opposition to the Peacocks. 

However he additionally is aware of that a lot of the emotion tied up in his workforce is as a result of they’re the lovable story, the little-engine-that-could story, the primary workforce from the MAAC to advance so far as the Elite Eight, the primary No. 15 seed to advance that far. Individuals like to root for a workforce like Saint Peter’s, but it surely’s one thing else to imagine in a workforce just like the Peacocks. A lot as you would possibly need to. 

Doug Edert celebrates with fans.
Doug Edert celebrates with followers.
Noah Ok. Murray-NY Submit

And Holloway is aware of that with out perception, the Peacocks in all probability wouldn’t have made it previous Quinnipiac within the MAAC semifinals, not to mention by means of the gauntlet they’ve already negotiated. 

“We belief one another,” the coach stated. “And it’s stunning to see.” 

It’s. It truly is. And the factor is, the best way these video games have gone? Increasingly more individuals are actually beginning to imagine within the Peacocks, and never merely to be charmed by them. They haven’t gained on any loopy last-second trick photographs. They needed to beat Kentucky in additional time. Murray State by no means got here near rattling them. Purdue led them after the sport’s ultimate TV timeout Friday. It didn’t matter. 

“We preserve getting in these conditions,” Lee stated, “and we preserve prevailing.” 

“We really feel like we belong,” Edert stated. 

Belong? It’s their event now. It’s their season. Wells Fargo might be their dwelling court docket Sunday, a Pennsylvania annex of Jersey Metropolis’s Run Child Run Enviornment. They aren’t a cute story. They aren’t Cinderella, not after three wins within the event, and 10 straight going again to February. Belong? Please. They need to rename the entire bracket the Saint Peter’s Invitational at this level. Would you thoughts? Would anyone?

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