The Saint Peter's Peacocks handed the Kentucky Wildcats their first opening-round loss under head coach John Calipari (pictured). File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
March 17 (UPI) -- The 15th-seeded Saint Peter's Peacocks upset the second-seeded Kentucky Wildcats 85-79 in overtime Thursday night in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Entering Thursday, the Wildcats had beaten 30 straight double-digit seeds in the tournament. Saint Peter's halted that streak behind 27 points from Daryl Banks III to emerge as the first Cinderella team of this year's tourney.
It was the Peacocks' first win in the NCAA men's tournament. Saint Peter's also became the 10th No. 15 seed to win a first-round game since the tournament field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
The Peacocks (20-11) advance to face Murray State in Saturday's second round in the East Region.
Saint Peter's, which captured the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title, kept the game close throughout and Banks' two free throws with 1:45 remaining in overtime put the Peacocks in front for good.
Doug Edert's layup with 24 seconds left in regulation sent the game into overtime. The junior guard also converted the final two game-clinching free throws for the Peacocks and ended with 20 points.
Kentucky, meanwhile, was handed its first opening-round loss under head coach John Calipari. The Wildcats got 30 points and 16 rebounds from junior forward Oscar Tshiebwe, but the team otherwise struggled offensively.
TyTy Washington was held to just five points on 2 of 10 shooting, while Keion Brooks Jr. and Kellan Grady each shot below 30% from the field and finished with eight points.
Saint Peter's, a private Jesuit school in Jersey City, N.J., has made half as many NCAA Tournament appearances (four) as Kentucky has national championships (eight). The Peacocks didn't flinch against their more talented opponent, and they now strut into the next round.
In other action from Thursday's opening round of the 2022 tournament, No. 1 seeds Gonzaga and Baylor cruised into the second round with decisive victories over Georgia State and Norfolk State, respectively.
No. 3 seed Tennessee, No. 4 seed Providence, No. 5 seed Saint Mary's and No. 8 seed North Carolina each opened with first-round wins. No. 9 seeds Creighton and Memphis also picked up wins in their respective matchups.
Iowa and UConn, meanwhile, fell victim to the 5-12 seed upset. No. 12 seed Richmond held off fifth-seeded Iowa 67-63, while No. 12 seed New Mexico State upended UConn 70-63 to advance.
No. 11 Michigan also earned an upset victory, defeating No. 6 Colorado State 75-63 in the first round.
In late games, Kansas topped Texas Southern 83-56; Murray State beat San Francisco 92-87; UCLA edged Akron 57-33; and Arkansas got by Vermont 75-71.