Peacock fans’ feathers unruffled after crushing Elite Eight loss to Tarheels

The large dance could also be over for the St. Peter’s Peacocks – however the native followers who rallied across the small Jersey Metropolis college received’t quickly neglect the squad’s historic Cinderella run to the NCAA event’s Elite Eight.

“They’ve confirmed to do one thing wonderful,” Maya Barrow, 32, instructed The Publish from a packed viewing celebration at Jersey Metropolis’s Hudson Corridor because the Peacocks had been dropping to the College of North Carolina Tarheels en path to a crushing defeat on Sunday night time.

“They’ve put Jersey Metropolis on the map. They’re wonderful. We’re one hundred pc behind them,” Barrow mentioned from the beer corridor the place over 300 followers had gathered to cheer on the underdogs.

Forward of tip-off, expectations for the sport had been tempered for the crew that received the hearts of New Jersey, however spirits had been excessive as the gang danced to NJ-native Bon Jovi’s “Dwelling on a Prayer” waving blue peacock feathers.

Saint Peter’s graduate pupil Tom Petrillo, 31, was elated that the crew had made it into the Elite Eight — changing into the primary fifteenth seed within the event’s historical past to take action.

“You bought to be completely happy for them as a result of they obtained this far,” mentioned Petrillo, who was sporting a Peacock Delight T-shirt. “No one anticipated for them to get this far. Everybody thought they’d be out within the first spherical.”

“This was a troublesome, robust recreation,” he mentioned  “You’re speaking a few college that has 4,000 college students taking part in North Carolina … It places us on the map. It says come right here, we’re good.” 

Peacock fans
“For a crew that small to go this far is super. It’s going to raise the economic system of Jersey Metropolis.” shared a fan.
Stephen Yang
Peacock fans
Peacock followers present help and encouragement to the crew.
Stephen Yang
Saint Peter's University Peacocks supporters at Hudson Hall restaurant watch a televised game against the University of North Carolina Tar Heels in the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament
Peacocks supporters react at Hudson Corridor restaurant watch celebration.
James Keivom

The eighth seed Tarheels finally proved to be too overwhelming for the scrappy, defensively-minded Saint Peter’s crew. UNC rode a hot-shooting first half to take a commanding 38-19 lead over Saint Peter’s after the Peacocks began the sport 4-20 from the sector.

The second half was a lot of the identical as Carolina outmuscled and outshot St. Peter’s to a 69-49 last on the best way to its twenty first Last 4 look – essentially the most in NCAA historical past. 

At a recreation viewing occasion on campus, Saint Peter’s College college students, decked within the Peacocks’ white and blue, by no means gave up cheering for the struggling crew whilst UNC’s lead topped 20 factors.

North Carolina's Armando Bacot, right, tries to get a shot past St. Peter's Fousseyni Drame, center, and Isiah Dasher during the first half of a college basketball game in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA tournament, Sunday, March 27, 2022
North Carolina’s Armando Bacot, proper, tries to get a shot previous St. Peter’s Fousseyni Drame, middle, and Isiah Dasher.
People react as they attend an on-campus watch party at Saint Peter's during the NCAA men's college basketball tournament game between Saint Peter's and North Carolina
Followers react as they attend an on-campus watch celebration at Saint Peter’s.

However as time wound down, actuality set in.

“It’s tragic, you recognize what I imply. They had been proper there. You had been made to imagine all the pieces was potential,” mentioned Jersey Metropolis resident Alex Corridor, 22, after storming out of Hudson Corridor with eight minutes left of the sport. “They did loads of good. You possibly can really feel the power in each bar in Downtown Jersey Metropolis.” 

Chris Petitt, 61, who grew up in Jersey Metropolis, held an empty martini glass O’Hara’s Bar and Grill in Jersey Metropolis as the ultimate minutes ticked off the clock. To him, the Elite Eight loss was “nonetheless an accomplishment. It’s not a failure.”

“It sucks. I’m disillusioned. I’m a manner again St Peter’s fan. Noticed them again in ‘74 … I want they made extra of a recreation of this,” he mentioned.

Pettit mentioned he thinks Carolina found out how you can beat St. Peter’s, who shocked the nation after upsetting 2-seeded Kentucky and 7-seeded Murray State within the previous rounds.

Head coach Shaheen Holloway of the St. Peter's Peacocks reacts with players after being defeated.
Head coach Shaheen Holloway of the St. Peter’s Peacocks reacts with gamers after being defeated.
Getty Photos
Clarence Rupert #12 of the St. Peter's Peacocks waves to the crowd while leaving the stadium after being defeated by the North Carolina Tar Heels 69-49 in the Elite Eight round game of the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Center on Sunday in Philadelphia.
Clarence Rupert #12 of the Saint Peter’s Peacocks waves to the gang whereas leaving the stadium.
Getty Photos

“For a crew that small to go this far is super. It’s going to raise the economic system of Jersey Metropolis.” 

Because the clock ran out in O’Hara’s, the gang erupted into chants of “Let’s go Peacocks!” in spit of the 20-point defeat.

“I feel that they had nothing to lose. It felt prefer it was all gravy after they beat Kentucky,” Jordan Rabinowitz, 31, ofJersey Metropolis mentioned after the sport. “I’m disillusioned that they didn’t get to the Last 4. It will have added one other layer to the magnitude of how the run has been.”

North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina Tar Heels have a good time after defeating the St. Peters Peacocks.
USA TODAY Sports activities

North Carolina will face arch-rival Duke College for the primary time ever within the Last 4 in a part of a storybook ending to the profession of legendary Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski, who’s retiring after this season.

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