Jersey City, New Jersey (WABC) – St. Peters, the honor of Jersey City – is only the third No. 15 to make it this far in the NCAA Tournament – and now Peacock is aiming for № 15. 3 Purdue in the Sweet 16.

For the second year in a row, number 15 has captured the imagination of basketball fans.

Last year it was Oral Roberts, who missed a three-point result from a win over Arkansas and reaching the top eight. This time it’s those cute St. Peter’s Peacocks who beat Kentucky and Murray and don’t have a single player who became the first team of the All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

The Peacocks (21-11) will meet Purdue at number 3 (29-7), and this group of New Jersey’s strongest is not intimidated by Boilermakers ’significant advantage in size.

“Everyone keeps saying we can’t do it, we can’t do it, we don’t have it and we don’t have it,” said coach Shahin Holloway. “We have a heart. That’s what’s important. “

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Lowest in all respects, Saint Peter’s became the latest favorite of the NCAA tournament, which only the most avid hoop fans had heard of before it came out on the court with the March Madness logo.

Even mid-major Murray State was taller and stronger than Peacocks, but that didn’t bother coach Holloway or his 195-pound striker weighing 6 feet 7 and 7 pounds, who scored 17 points and 10 rebounds and played in defense against bruises on the rim.

“I’m going to say this. It’s going to be a little crazy. I have guys from New Jersey and New York,” Holloway said. “Do you think we’re afraid of anything? Do you think we’re worried about the guys trying to push us on the muscles and hold us back?”

Yes, the Jesuit school of 3,000 entrants has a lot to do with Jersey.

“We played with great teams all the time,” Holloway said. “So they’re a little bigger and stronger, it doesn’t bother us. If you have tough, tough kids, they’re ready to play.”

They were willing enough twice in three days to break the hearts of Kentucky residents and join the Florida Gulf Coast (2013) and Oral Roberts (last year) as 15 seeders to reach the regional semifinals.

St. Peters has stopped the winning streak with 21 games and an unforgettable season for Murray (31-3), which is 265 miles from Lexington in the southwest corner of Kentucky.

Memories will last a lifetime for Peacocks and Holloway, hoop prisoners from North Jersey who played at Seton Hall and studied there as an assistant. On Friday, Pirates coach Kevin Willard approved Holloway as a replacement if he leaves in the off-season.

The last team from New Jersey got into Sweet 16? It would have been Setan Hall in 2000, and Holloway was a playmaker.

“I was a decent player,” he said. “I’m small. People thought of me. So I had something to prove every time. That’s why I trained like that.”

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Doug Edert came off the bench and scored 13 points for the Peacock, including several big baskets late. At the beginning of the second half, “St. Peters” played 13 points and never fell behind, but Murray State was still tense. Justice Hill scored a three-pointer to get the Racers in the 59-57 range with 4:07 left. Edert followed with the 3rd and the rest, and Peacock closed it on the free throw line.

“I always do my best to take as many pictures as possible,” Edert said. “I don’t think about anything when I’m in the game. I just let it happen. “

St. Peters beat Murray State 38-31 and controlled the boards 32-20. The teams came together for 46 fouls.

The Peacocks turned 23 out of 31 off the line, and the Racers turned 16 out of 25.

Campus was buzzing after the victory, and Holloway said he received more than 800 text messages.

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