Anger Murray State and grab Sweet 16’s offer

INDIANAPOLIS – Can the Peacocks do it?

Just a day away from developing the NCAA tournament’s signature surprise when shipping from Kentucky with No. 2 seedsCan Saint Peter’s players turn the page fast enough to craft a second shocker in three days when they play in East Region action at Gainbridge Fieldhouse with a Sweet 16 berth at Murray State on Saturday night?

This is the biggest challenge for the Peacocks (20-11) as they meet the seventh-seeded Racers, who have the nation’s best record at 31-2, are on a 21-game winning streak and are unbeaten since December.

“Out of the high [Thursday] we have to put it behind us,” St. Peter’s guard Doug Edert said Friday. “Even though it was a great achievement for us, we have to get it over with. It’s a quick turnaround and we need to be prepared and move on. We have to kind of forget the past and just focus on the task at hand, which is preparing for Murray State and trying to beat them.”

Daryl Bank III
Daryl Bank III
Getty Images

Saint Peter’s guard Daryl Banks III, who scored a career-record 27 points in the win over Kentucky, called the excitement “an amazing moment” and added that the team “sort of sort of let it sink overnight.”

“But after that [Thursday], that’s in the past,” Banks said. “We have a game to play [Saturday]so came in [Friday] with a focus on our game plan and walk-through for Murray State. They’re a really good team. You have to stay locked up.”

Banks called Murray State “physical and big,” adding, “We know it’s a hard-nosed, [hard-]fought so we can’t dwell too much on the past because this is a game we need to get into.”

Saint Peters coach Shaheen Holloway stressed that there was no pressure on his team.

“I don’t see it as pressure at all,” he said. “There’s pressure when you have a child and you can’t feed them, that’s pressure. That’s something these kids love to do. They work for it all year round, I am only able to help them, to guide them. It’s the basketball game. That’s how I played as a player. I didn’t play with pressure at all. If you can’t be juiced by that when you play Kentucky in the NCAA tournament, something is wrong.

Still, Holloway knows what’s in store for his Murray State team, who have certainly taken note of the Peacocks’ excitement in Kentucky.

“They are a very good team, very well trained, great tradition, great history, have good players,” said Holloway. “When you watch them, what strikes me the most is their physicality, they’re after you. They pressure you man to man, they go deep, they’re athletic, they have multiple people who can score, so you can’t commit to one person.

“It will be a good chance for our boys. We have to go out there and do what St. Peter’s University is doing.”

What Saint Peter did to Kentucky was revealing. It certainly caught the attention of the state of Murray, which is also located in Kentucky.

“I wish I could just point out one thing,” said Racers coach Matt McMahon of Saint Peter’s strengths. “We have to play very well at both ends of the floor. They are so good defensively. they turn you around They force you to hit hard, difficult shots, and then they play really good basketball on offense.

“They shoot the ball well behind the 3-point line. They don’t shoot many of these, but they’re very efficient when they do. I think it will take a complete performance from both ends of the floor for us to emerge victorious.” Anger Murray State and grab Sweet 16’s offer


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