Peacocks trying to become first #15 seed in NCAA history to reach the Elite 8
Saint Peter’s (21-11, 14-6 MAAC) vs. Purdue (29-7, 14-6 BIG TEN)
Date: Friday, March 25, 2022
Location: Wells Fargo Center (Philadelphia)
- Coming off a historic wins over #2 Kentucky and #7 Murray State in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, the Saint Peter’s men’s basketball team returns to action in the Sweet 16, facing off with Purdue University Friday night inside the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
- The Peacocks come into the matchup with the nation’s longest win streak, winning each of its last nine games after knocking off Murray State 70-60 in the second round. Purdue, meanwhile, is coming off a strong 71-61 over Texas to advance to the Regional Semifinal.
Last Time Out
- The Peacocks continued to make history, proving doubters wrong once again as they continued their magical run, advancing to the Sweet 16 Saturday with a 70-60 victory over Murray State University inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse in the 2022 NCAA Championship’s second round matchup.
- The Peacocks got a team-high 17 points from KC Ndefo and another clutch shooting night from Doug Edert who finished with 13 as they advanced to become one of the last 16 teams remaining in college basketball. SPU now has the nation’s longest winning streak at nine straight games and will advance to play #3 Purdue Friday night (March 25th) in Philadelphia looking to advance to the Elite 8.
- SPU led wire-to-wire in the contest and handed Murray State, who previously held the record for the longest active win streak, just their third loss of the season to improve to 21-11 overall while the Racers ended their season 31-3.
- Ndefo, the three-time reigning MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, recorded 10 rebounds to go along with his 17 points to record his seventh career double-double while also adding six blocks to become the first player in program history to reach 300 career blocks.
- The Peacocks are the first team in the history of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to advance to the Sweet 16.
- The Peacocks allowed just 60 points against a team who came into the contest averaging over 80 points per game. With that, SPU has now held eight of its last nine opponents to under 70 points.
- All-time: Purdue leads 1-0
- Streak: Purdue (1)
- Last Saint Peter’s Win: N/A
- Last Purdue Win: 3/18/11 (NCAA Tournament First Round, Chicago Ill.)
- After nearly a month between games from Dec. 18 to Jan. 14, SPU has gone 18-5 in the 2022 calendar year to win the MAAC title and advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history.
- Ndefo is the anchor of the Peacocks as he heads into the contest averaging 10.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.8 blocks, 2.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game this season. He was named Second Team All-MAAC and is now the three-time defending MAAC Defensive Player of the Year.
- Daryl Banks III leads the Peacocks offensively overall on the season averaging 11.4 points per game this season. Banks has scored in double figures 19 times this season with 14 of those performances coming against MAAC opponents including in seven of the last 10 contests.
- SPU heads into the contest with one of the top defenses in the NCAA, leading the MAAC and ranking 19th in DI allowing just 62.2 points per game.
- After the win over Fairfield on Friday, Feb. 18, SPU won its 10th MAAC contest for the third consecutive season. It is the first time the Peacocks have won double-digit conference contests in three straight seasons since 1986-89.
- The Peacocks are the first MAAC team to win an NCAA Tournament game since Siena did so in 2009.
- Two weeks ago, three Peacocks were announced to All-MAAC teams for their strong performances on the court this season.
- Ndefo was named the MAAC Defensive Player of the year for the third time in his career and earned Second Team All-MAAC honors. He also was selected as an NABC Second Team All-District honoree on Tuesday.
- Banks III earned a spot on the All-MAAC Third Team for the second straight year giving him three All-conference honors after being named to the All-Rookie team his freshman season.
- Freshman Jaylen Murray nabbed a spot on the All-Rookie team for the Peacocks after averaging 5.8 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game in his first collegiate season.
- The 2021-22 MAAC Preseason Player of the Year, Ndefo now has a program-best career total of 304 blocks, good for the third-most among active players in DI.
- In the home win over Quinnipiac on Friday, Feb. 4, Ndefo swatted 11 shots to set the single-game program record for blocks in a game. It was tied for the second-most blocked shots all-time in a MAAC game.
- After leading the country in blocks per game in 2020-21, Ndefo is atop the MAAC and 13th in the country with 2.71 blocks per game this season.
Money From the Stripe
- Saint Peter’s has two of the top free throw shooters in the MAAC in Doug Edert and Banks III. Edert is the MAAC leader shooting 88.5 percent from the stripe this season while Banks is third shooting 85.3 percent from the line.
- From Nov. 27 to Jan. 26, Banks III made 34 straight free throws which is currently the fourth-longest streak in Division I this season.
- In total, the duo has missed just 24 free throws in 182 attempts headed into the contest.
Defense Wins Championships
- The Peacocks currently rank fifth in the country in field goal percentage defense, 16th in 3-point field goal percentage defense, 19th in scoring defense and 22nd in blocked shots per game.
- The Peacocks have allowed under 70 points in 20 of their last 24 games and hold a 19-5 record this season when allowing less than 70.
- In their current nine-game winning streak that includes the conference and NCAA tournament, SPU is allowing just 55.7 points per game.
- SPU has had one of the most balanced groups in the country this season and have had 26 consecutive games with at least eight different scorers.
- Offensively, nine different players have scored in double figures in a game this season.
- Of the 12 student-athletes who have seen action in a game this season, all 12 have at least one start. Additionally, all 12 are averaging at least 8.5 minutes per contest.
- As a team, SPU is ranked second in the MAAC shooting 35.5 percent from 3-point range as a team this season.
- Edert leads the way for the Peacocks and sits third in the conference shooting 42.5 percent from downtown on the year which would rank 12th in the country if he met the NCAA qualifying number of attempts.
- Banks III also sits in the top-10 in the MAAC shooting 37.9 percent from deep to rank sixth overall in the league.
Crashing the Boards
- The Peacocks are one of the top rebounding teams in the MAAC, leading the league with a +3.1 rebounding margin this season.
- SPU has done a strong job on the offensive glass this season as they sit third in the conference and inside the top-100 in the country with 11.0 offensive rebounds per game.
- Positive results on the boards has been a strong indicator of success for the Peacocks this season as they have outrebounded their opponent in 12 of their 21 victories on the year.
- Led by strong defense and a well-rounded offensive attack, the Peacocks knocked off #2 Kentucky and #7 Murray State to become just the third #15-seed to advance to the Sweet 16 in history.
- It is the first Big Dance for SPU since winning the MAAC Title in the 2010-11 season. The Peacocks were a #14 seed in the 2011 tournament and fell in the opening round against #3 Purdue 65-43.
- The Peacocks have been to the NCAA Tournament two other times in NCAA history as well, appearing in the 1994-95 tourney as well as in 1990-91.
- Prior to their appearance in this year’s tournament, SPU has previously earned a #15 seed in 95 and a #12 seed in 91 but were previously unable to get over the hump as they currently sit 2-3 in NCAA Tournament games all-time.
- Head Coach Shaheen Holloway has experience in the NCAA Tournament as both a player and an assistant coach. In the 2000 NCAA Tournament as a student-athlete at Seton Hall, Holloway led the Pirates as a #10 seed to the Sweet Sixteen, hitting the game-winning shot in overtime against Oregon in the opening round.
- It is also the first postseason non-conference tournament appearance since 2017 when the Peacocks won the CIT Tournament title.
Breaking Down the Boilermakers
- Purdue comes into the contest 29-7 overall after finishing the regular season 14-6 in Big Ten play and advancing to the conference title game before falling to Iowa.
- The Boilermakers were ranked 10th in the final AP top-25 poll and advanced to the Sweet 16 after knocking off #14 Yale 78-56 and #6 Texas 81-71 in the first and second rounds, respectively.
- Sophomore Jaden Ivey is the top offensive option for the Boilermakers averaging 17.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. Ivey is a consensus All-American and is averaging nearly 20.0 points per contest this postseason (Big Ten Tournament & NCAA Tournament).
- Sophomore Zach Edey and seniors Trevion Williams and Sasha Stefanovic join Ivey in double figures averaging 14.5 points, 11.9 points and 10.4 points per game, respectively.
- Purdue has been fantastic all season in a number of different categories, including rebounding where they rank second in the NCAA with a +9.6 rebounding margin this season. The Boilermakers also sit inside the top 10 as a team in field goal percentage, free throw attempts and makes, 3-point field goal percentage, total assists and total rebounds.
- As a team, Purdue has struggled this season in the turnover battle, ranking 307th in the country in turnover margin (-2.2), 346th in turnovers forced (9.53) and 331st in steals per game (4.7).
- The winner of the Sweet 16 contest will advance to Sunday’s Elite Eight matchup to face off against the winner of the contest between #4 UCLA and #8 North Carolina with a spot in the Final Four on the line.
COURTESY ST. PETER’S ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS