INDIANAPOLIS — Can the Peacocks do it?
A mere day faraway from engineering the signature upset of the NCAA Tournament in dispatching No. 2-seeded Kentucky, can the Saint Peter’s gamers flip the web page shortly sufficient to creator a second shocker in three days after they play Murray State Saturday night time in East Region motion on the Gainbridge Fieldhouse with a Sweet 16 berth on the road?
This is the largest problem for the Peacocks (20-11) as they face the seventh-seeded Racers, who’ve one of the best file within the nation at 31-2, are using a 21-game successful streak and haven’t lost since December.
“Off the excessive from [Thursday] we’ve to place it behind us,’’ Saint Peter’s guard Doug Edert mentioned Friday. “Even although it was an important accomplishment for us, we’ve to place it behind us. It’s a fast turnaround, and we’ve to be ready and carry on rolling. We need to form of neglect the previous and simply concentrate on the duty at hand, which is making ready for Murray State and attempting to get the win over them.’’
Saint Peter’s guard Daryl Banks III, who scored a career-high 27 factors within the win over Kentucky, known as the upset “a tremendous second’’ and added that the group “form of let it sink in’’ in a single day.
“But after [Thursday], that’s prior to now,’’ Banks mentioned. “We have a recreation to play [Saturday], so got here in [Friday] with a concentrate on our recreation plan and walk-through for Murray State. They’re a very good group. You have to remain locked in.’’
Banks known as Murray State “bodily and large,’’ including, “We understand it’s going to be a hard-nosed, [hard-]fought battle, so we will’t dwell on the previous an excessive amount of as a result of it is a recreation we’ve to be locked in for.’’
Saint Peter’s coach Shaheen Holloway emphasised that there’s no stress on his group.
“I don’t look at this as pressure at all,’’ he said. “Pressure is when you have a kid and you can’t feed your kid, that’s pressure. This is something that these kids love to do. They work all year-round for it, me I’m just in a position to help them to guide them through it. It’s the game of basketball. That’s how I played when I was a player. I didn’t play with any pressure at all. If you can’t get juiced off of this, playing in the NCAA Tournament against Kentucky, something is wrong.”
That mentioned, Holloway is aware of what his group is dealing with in Murray State, which absolutely took discover of the Peacocks’ upset of Kentucky.
“They are an excellent group, very nicely coached, nice custom, nice historical past, received good gamers,’’ Holloway mentioned. “When you watch them, the factor I’m impressed essentially the most about is their physicality, they get after you. They stress you man to man, they get down low, they’re athletic, they’ve a number of folks that may rating so you’ll be able to’t lock in on one individual.
“It’s going to be a superb likelihood for our guys. We need to go on the market and do what Saint Peter’s University do.’’
What Saint Peter’s did to Kentucky was eye-opening. It definitely received the eye of Murray State, which can also be positioned in Kentucky.
“I want I may simply level to 1 factor,’’ Racers coach Matt McMahon mentioned of Saint Peter’s strengths. “We’ll need to play very nicely at each ends of the ground. They’re so good defensively. They flip you over. They drive you to take robust, tough photographs, and then on the offensive finish they’re taking part in actually good basketball.
“They shoot the ball nicely from behind the 3-point line. They don’t shoot a ton of them, however they’re very environment friendly after they do. I believe it’ll take an entire efficiency at each ends of the ground for us to come back out victorious.’’