NEW ROCHELLE, NY – The starting backcourt of Nick Griffin (Rockville, MD/Col. Zadok Magruder (George Washington)) and Trevis Wyche (Neptune, NJ/Saint Peter's Prep) combined for 32 points as Saint Peter's men's basketball was defeated, 69-66, by Iona College on Sunday afternoon on ESPN3. The setback puts the Peacocks at 8-4 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) and a tie with Iona for second place in the standings behind Monmouth, but the Gaels own the tie breaker over the Peacocks with the season series sweep.
"I am really proud of my team," said head coach John Dunne. "Maybe we were a little nervous to start the game. I thought we gave up a couple of layups that clearly we shouldn't of, but then I thought we settled down. We made a couple of early shots that kind of relaxed us. I thought we controlled the first half well, up four at halftime. The second half, their (Iona) energy level was really good, but I thought we settled back into the game after the first few minutes. So the fact that we just played our seven game in 15 days, on the road, against a really talented good team, played them to overtime, had a chance to win it with two seconds to go, you know, I am really proud of my guys."
After falling behind 11-5 in the early goings, Dunne called a 30 second timeout to gather the team. Out of the timeout the Peacocks sparked an 8-0 run that began with a three by Nnamdi Enechionyia (Springfield, VA/St. James School (Samford)). Griffin followed with a jumper from the wing and a three-point basket on the ensuing possession to give Saint Peter's the 13-11 lead (13:00) forcing Iona into a timeout. Iona responded with an 8-0 run of their own to retake the lead at 19-13 by the 11 minute mark. The Peacocks drained back-to-back-to-back treys by Samuel Idowu (Brooklyn, NY/Lafayette Educational Complex), Chazz Patterson (Browns Mills, NJ/Trenton Catholic), and Wyche to give the Peacocks the lead again at 22-19. After Iona tied the game at 22, Antwon Portley (Lancaster, TX/Lancaster) got on the board with three ball, putting Saint Peter's back on top, 25-22. With two minutes to go in the half and the Peacocks up, 29-25, Griffin added another three, extending the score to 32-25. Iona added another three to take a 32-28 score into the break. The Peacocks had seven different players score a bucket in the first half and six different guys hit a three-pointer. The Peacocks went 8-15 (53.3%) from long range, while Iona matched going 6-8 (75%) from three.
Iona took the lead on two consecutive threes, 34-32, to open the second half. The Peacocks kept pace, evening up the game at 34-34 and 36-36. The Peacocks retook the lead, 39-36 after Wyche scored a layup and got fouled, completing the three-point play at 16:09. With Saint Peter's up 41-38, Iona outscored the Peacocks 11-2 over the next three minutes to post a 49-43 edge. By the under eight minute media break, the Peacocks trailed 52-49, with Wyche scoring nine of the Peacocks 17 points in the half. Trailing 55-51, Patterson hit a deep three-pointer, cutting the deficit to one point at 55-54 with 5:47 left. On the following possession, the Peacocks forced Iona into a turnover, leading to Quadir Welton's (Philadelphia, PA / Math, Civics and Science Charter) game-tying free throw, as he converted on the front end of a 1-and-1 (55-55). Iona held a two-point lead with one minute remaining, 59-57, when Welton came up with a steal and he scored the game-tying layup on a put back following Wyche's missed layup attempt with 18.8 seconds left. With the shot clock off, Iona looked to get the final shot of the game, but the Peacocks forced Iona guard Rickey McGill into another turnover with 2.0 seconds left. On the inbound Wyche tossed up a long three that missed, sending the Peacocks into overtime for the first time this season.
In the extra period, the Peacocks took a 62-59 lead, a few possessions into the overtime. Iona's Jordan Washington hit layups on the next two drives giving Iona the 63-62 lead. Wyche hit the front end of two free throws to tie the game again at 63 all before Iona's Deyshonee Much scored on a rare four-point play with 40 seconds remaining, giving Iona a 67-63 advantage. Griffin quickly hit a three for Peacocks, cutting the score to 67-66 with 28.1 remaining. After Iona hit two free throws going up by three, the Peacocks had one last chance to tie and missed on two three-point attempts but got the ball back after an Iona traveling call, having one more shot with .8 seconds left. On the inbound, the Peacocks failed to get a shot off after an Iona defender tipped the pass and the clock expired.
Wyche scored 12 of his game-high 17 points in the second half and overtime of the contest, and grabbed six rebounds to go with four assists, two blocks and a steal. Griffin added 15 points, and Welton registered his fifth double-double of the season scoring 10 points and notching 10 rebounds. The MAAC steals leader, Patterson made a game-high four steals in the contest to go along with eight points and four rebounds.
Iona was led offensively by Sam Cassell Jr., who scored 17 points and Washington who scored 15 points.
The Peacocks conclude the long month of January going 7-3 in 10 games. The seven wins in the month are tied for the single most wins in any month of John Dunne's career (won seven games in January of 2010).
The Peacocks get five days rest before returning to the hardwood on Friday, February 3 when the team takes on hOURglass rival Monmouth on ESPN3 at 7p.m.