INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — No. 2 seed Kentucky fell to Saint Peter's in overtime in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, 85-79.
Kentucky struggled shooting from the field, especially at the guard position and didn't hit free throws in overtime in the upset.
The Wildcats had a difficult time with the Peacocks in the first half. Kentucky took a 5-2 lead on a Sahvir Wheeler three pointer. However, Saint Peter's hit three straight three pointers, two by Daryl Banks to build their own 11-9 lead.
Kellan Grady continued his struggles into the first half missing all three of his shots from the field. All three were also three pointers. He did connect on 5-6 shots from the free throw line. And Jacob Toppin was a big help off the bench. He hit all three of his shots and both of his free throws to finish as the second leading scorer with eight while adding a rebound and an assist.
Consensus All-American Oscar Tshiebwe went 4-5 from the field and led UK at the break with 12 points and 6 rebounds. But, UK just couldn't shake the pesky Peacocks, especially Daryl Banks. He hit all four of his three pointers and had 16 points and this back and forth scoring half by the two teams ended in a 37-37 score.
Tshiebwe scored eight of the first 12 points for Kentucky in the second half to help the Wildcats build their biggest lead to 49-44. But Saint Peter's did not back down. When Jaylen Murray hit a three pointer, the Peacocks had a 53-52 lead.
Kentucky got the lead back and extended it to their largest of the game with Wheeler scoring six of their ten points. UK was up 68-62 with 4:06 to go in the game. Saint Peter's would respond with a 7-0 run as Doug Edert hit a long, long three pointer to put the Peacocks up 69-68 with 1:18 to go in the game.
After missing his first seven shots, Kellan Grady hit a three pointer to give UK a 71-69 lead. But Edart countered with a lay-in to tie it and send it to the overtime.
In the OT, Tshiebwe scored the first four points to give UK a 75-71 lead. But Saint Peter's tied it up on a free throw and another long three from Edert. The Peacocks would take the three point lead on a Banks free throw and a lay-in by Hassan Drame, 79-76. And they'd hit free throws down the stretch for the 85-79 win.
Oscar Tshiebwe led the WIldcats with 30 points and 16 rebounds. Sahvir Wheeler added 11 points and 6 assists while Toppin had nine with Grady, Mintz and Brooks finishing with eight each.
The last time Kentucky lost in the first round was against Marquette in 2008, 74-66.
Kentucky sees its season end with a 26-8 record.