March Madness roundup: Saint Peter’s fairy tale continues, Kansas overcomes Providence
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - The Saint Peter’s Peacocks continued their Cinderella story in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament by beating the Purdue Boilermakers 67-64 in a thrilling Sweet 16 matchup.
How many people knew that Friday was National Peacock Day? Probably even fewer than those who had heard of the Saint Peter’s Peacocks before this tournament started. It's safe to say name recognition isn't a problem now, especially after they put Purdue to the sword.
In a tight first half that saw five ties and eight lead changes, it was tough to settle on who would come out winning this matchup.
But at least up to halftime, it was Purdue who had a 33-29 advantage.
There was more back and forth action in the second half as both teams cycled through seven lead changes before the Peacocks finally had the edge with just over two minutes to play.
It was that lead that Saint Peter’s kept all the way to the final buzzer to become the first team in NCAA history to advance to the Elite Eight as a 15-seed.
Daryl Banks III (21) scored six of Saint Peter’s last 10 points in the game, including a bucket to tie, followed up with the shot that put the Peacocks up for good in the second half. He finished the game shooting 6-for-14 from the field to lead his team with 14 points and three rebounds.
The Peacocks will play on Sunday in the next round against the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Kansas survives against Providence
Meanwhile, the Kansas Jayhawks, survived as the last number-one seed in the tournament after escaping with a 66-61 win over the Providence Friars.
Right from the start, the Jayhawks played strong defense to hold the Friars to only eight points in the first ten minutes of the game and ultimately just 17 first-half points to lead Providence by nine at halftime.
But then both teams blew up for over 40 points apiece in the second half to make things more interesting as the game progressed.
Kansas stayed in front for just over 12 minutes during that time and enjoyed their largest lead of the game –13 points – before the Friars grabbed their first lead of the game with under six minutes to play.
That lead didn’t even last minute as the Jayhawks snatched the advantage back with seven straight points, never looking back.
Providence kept showing small signs of life in the closing minutes, but Kansas drained seven crucial free throws in the final minute, giving the Jayhawks enough space to escape with the win.
Remy Martin, a senior guard who came off of the bench for Kansas, made five of those last seven free throws, part of a 7-for-13 shooting night that netted him a game-high 23 points, seven rebounds, and three assists.
The Jayhawks now have an upcoming Elite Eight matchup against the Miami Hurricanes on Sunday.
Cover photo: Twitter/@PeacocksMBB