JERSEY CITY, NJ – Senior forward Quadir Welton (Philadelphia, PA/Math, Civics and Science Charter) recorded his second double-double of the season, and redshirt junior guard Nick Griffin (Rockville, MD/Col. Zadok Magruder (George Washington)) scored a team-high 17 points, in Saint Peter's men's basketball conference opening loss to Iona College on Friday night. The Peacocks drop to 0-1 in Metro Atlantic Athletics Conference play, and 3-3 overall.
Head coach John Dunne noted, "I'm proud of my guys. I thought we had a lot of poise; I thought we at times when our shots weren't falling in the past, would have melted down a little bit more but we stayed positive and kept trying to grind. They (Iona) made a lot of shots in a stretch and we missed them. I'm not going to be too upset with my guys for missing open looks but I thought we got a lot of open looks that weather it was inside out threes, which are great threes, or shots at the rim that just didn't go down. They (Iona) are a talented team and made a bunch of threes that I thought was fairly contested well, but at the end of the day, tip your hat to them, they played well, now we have to get ready for Sunday."
Both teams came out on fire by the first media timeout, posting a 14-10 score with Iona having the early edge. The Peacocks went 4-of-6 (66.7%) from the field, while the Gaels went a perfect 6-of-6 (100%) from the field in the first four minutes of action. The Gaels withheld the lead early on until a Griffin three at the 9:15 mark gave the Peacocks their first lead of the night at 24-22. The Peacocks extended the lead to a quick 26-25, before allowing the Gaels to go on a 13-5 run that put them down 38-31. The Peacocks regained momentum, closing out the half on a 5-0 run off of a layup by Welton and Griffin's third three of the half, to cut the game to a two-point deficit with just six ticks remaining in the half. With those same .06 seconds on the clock, Iona's Schadrac Casimir managed to hit an up and under layup at the buzzer to give Iona the 40-36 first half nod. Griffins nine points led the Peacocks in the half. Despite the Peacocks shooting over 40 percent from the field (13-30, 43.3%) and from three (7-15, 46.7%), they still trailed the Gaels who were shooting just over 58 percent from the field.
Welton, as he has done so in almost every game of the season, got the Peacocks going to begin the second half. The big man opened up the second half for the Peacocks grabbing three straight offensive boards on three straight possessions, making two put back layups and hitting the front end of two free-throws to score the teams first five points. Welton grabbed four offensive boards in the first four minutes and possessions of the half, giving the Peacocks five second chance points. Still trailing, back-to-back-to-back three point baskets by Griffin, Sam Idowu (Brooklyn, NY/Lafayette Educational Complex) and Griffin, cut the deficit to just two points at 55-53 with 10:32 on the clock, before the Gaels posted a 9-2 run to extend the lead over the Peacocks back to nine points. Cavon Baker's (Queens, NY/New Hope Academy [Md.] (Houston)) deep jumper that banked in and his fast break layup sparked a quick 4-0 run that cut the nine point deficit to five at 64-59, but again the Gaels went on an 8-2 run this time, that pushed their largest lead of the game to 11, with a 72-61 lead with only 2:18 left in regulation. The Peacocks could not find one last run, dropping the MAAC contest 79-65 to the Gaels.
Welton finished his double-double night with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Idowu finished the night with nine points and senior guard Trevis Wyche (Neptune, NJ/Saint Peter's Prep) added seven points. The Peacock bench outscored the Gaels bench, 36-6 and the Peacocks registered 15 second chance points from 17 offensive rebounds, that was led by Welton's six solo offensive boards.
The Peacocks are back in action on Sunday, December 4, when they host Manhattan in the Yanitelli Center at 2:00 p.m.