JERSEY CITY — Saint Peter’s University has loads of new fans, as the first New Jersey team to reach the NCAA Sweet 16 in over 20 years.

“Strut Up” became the rally cry as St. Peter’s Peacocks beat Murray State (from Kentucky) on Saturday, 70-60, throwing the university’s home gym into a frenzy.

New Jersey and New York roots run deep for coach Shaheen Holloway, a Queens, New York native who played at St. Patrick’s High School in Elizabeth.

He then moved on as a standout point guard at Seton Hall University, where Holloway helped lead Seton Hall to the 2000 NCAA Sweet Sixteen.

When asked post-game about dealing with opponents' physicality, Holloway “went Jersey” in explaining the team’s approach.

"I got guys from New Jersey and New York City, you think we scared of anything? You think we're worried about guys trying to muscle us and tough us out? We do that, you know, that’s who we are,” Holloway said.

"We have been playing against bigger teams the whole time,” he continued. “So them being a little bigger and stronger, it didn't faze us. When you got tough, hard-nosed kids, they're ready to play."

Saint Peter's University is a private (Jesuit Catholic) school founded in 1872.

It had a total undergraduate enrollment of 2,355 as of fall 2020.

Newfound fans have been "flocking" for St. Peters Peacock gear.

The team's next game is slated for Friday in Philadelphia, against either Texas or Purdue (that game is Sunday).

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at erin.vogt@townsquaremedia.com

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