Raising the roof: Saint Peter’s upsets second-seeded Kentucky

Bedlam broke out in Jersey City, N.J., on Thursday night after the Saint Peter’s Peacocks shocked the Kentucky Wildcats 85-79 in overtime in the NCAA tournament.

Immediately, veteran broadcaster Dick Vitale called it “one of the biggest upsets ever in March Madness.”

In an East Region game played at Indianapolis, the Peacocks entered with a No. 15 seed and little notoriety.

The Wildcats, a two seed, came in with one of the highest-salaried coaches in college basketball and NBA prospects up and down the roster.

The Peacocks prevailed, with Daryl Banks III scoring 27 points and Doug Edert coming off the bench for 20, including five points in the final 1:26 of regulation and five more in the overtime.

Saint Peter’s won for the first time in four trips to the tournament. In addition, the Peacocks became the 10th No. 15 seed to win a first-round game — and the second in two years — since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

Last year, No. 15 Oral Roberts knocked off Ohio State, 75-72. Oddly, both games were decided in overtime, and both were also played in Indiana. Oral Roberts’ victory came in West Lafayette.

Kentucky had never lost in the first round under coach John Calipari, who reportedly makes $8.5 million a year.

Oscar Tshiebwe produced 30 points and 16 rebounds for the Wildcats, who led by six points with 4:13 remaining in regulation and couldn’t finish off the victory.

The eight-time NCAA champion Wildcats were making a record 59th appearance. They entered with 26 victories, the 39th time they have won at least 25.

St. Peter’s had a more modest reputation. They had won only 19 games this year and had played in only three previous tournaments, in 1991, 1995 and 2011.

15 seeds over 2s

1991: Richmond beats Syracuse 73-69
1993: Santa Clara beats Arizona 64-61
1997: Coppin State beats South Carolina 78-65
2001: Hampton beats Iowa State 58-57
2012: Lehigh beats Duke 75-70
2012: Norfolk State beats Missouri 86-84
2013: Florida Gulf Coast beats Georgetown 78-68
2016: Middle Tennesse State beats Michigan State 90-81
2021: Oral Roberts beats Ohio State 75-72
2022: Saint Peter’s beats Kentucky 85-79 (overtime)

Thursday’s upsets

(12) Richmond defeats (5) Iowa in the Midwest, 67-63.
(12) New Mexico State defeats (5) Connecticut in the West, 70-63.
(11) Michigan defeats Colorado State in the South, 75-63.