PHILADELPHIA — Saint Peter’s is keeping March mad.
Daryl Banks III scored 14 points, Clarence Rupert had 11 — all in the first half — and the Peacocks took down third-seeded Purdue 67-64 in an East Region Sweet 16 game Friday in Philadelphia to become the first team in NCAA Tournament history to make the Elite Eight as a No. 15 seed.
Saint Peter’s (22-11) overcame Purdue star Trevion Williams’ 16 points and eight rebounds. The Peacocks once again applied their aggressive defense and forced 15 turnovers before outshooting the Boilermakers (29-8) down the stretch.
Banks tied the game at 57 with a jumper for Saint Peter’s, and Purdue’s ensuing shot to beat the shot clock missed the rim. Banks made it 59-57 with a floating layup, and Williams was crowded inside to force a missed shot.
Free throws brought it to 63-59 before Mason Gillis’ putback of a missed trey trimmed it back to two with 25.8 seconds left. Banks made two more foul shots, and Jaden Ivey responded for Purdue with a 3-pointer with eight seconds to play.
But Doug Edert, one of the faces of Saint Peter’s tourney run, made the game-clinching free throws with 4.1 seconds left. He finished with 10 points and drew the love of the heavily pro-Saint Peter’s crowd.
Zach Edey and Sasha Stefanovic posted 11 points apiece for Purdue, Gillis chipped in 10 and Ivey added nine go with eight rebounds.
Edert tied the game at 17 when he knocked down a 3-pointer, his only basket of the half. A minute later, Jaylen Murray grabbed a steal and was fouled on the fast break, with his resulting free throws pushing the Peacocks ahead. Stefanovic guided Purdue back with two open 3-pointers.
The Boilermakers took the lead 33-27 on a 6-0 run completed when Stefanovic made a nimble cut and caught Williams’ feed for a layup. But Murray got a layup to fall at the buzzer to bring Saint Peter’s within 33-29 at halftime.
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Saint Peter’s opened the second half with an 8-0 run to regain the lead while holding Purdue scoreless for the first 5:47. The stretch included a Purdue shot-clock violation induced by stifling defense.
Purdue coach Matt Painter used a timeout to reset. The Boilermakers returned and scored the next eight points, with three straight buckets by Williams.
Isiah Dasher and Matthew Lee hit 3-pointers to tie the game at 45-45, but KC Ndefo earned his fourth foul and Purdue entered the bonus with 9:04 to play.
–Adam Zielonka, Field Level Media