JERSEY CITY, NJ – The Saint Peter's men's basketball team suffered its third straight setback on Monday night, falling 72-70 to Canisius College in the Yanitelli Center. The loss drops the Peacocks to 8-6 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) and 12-12 overall. Despite the six league losses, the Peacocks have lost each of the last five by just one possession and by a combined total of 10 points.
"We didn't have our best focus, we didn't have our best energy," said head coach John Dunne. "Canisius was extremely focused I thought; 21 assists to eight turnovers for them and we had 21 turnovers which is really uncharacteristic for us. So we weren't ready to play. I will take accountability for that and we will rebound for Thursday's game."
Canisius jumped out to an early 7-2 lead but the Peacocks got going with a three by Nnamdi Enechionyia (Springfield, VA/St. James School (Samford)) and six straight points by Mamadou Ndiaye (Laurel, MD / Oakland Mills) to give the Peacocks an 11-10 lead. After falling behind 12-11, Chazz Patterson (Browns Mills, NJ/Trenton Catholic) drained a three from the far corner, sparking a 10-2 Peacock run, extending the lead to 21-14 and forcing Canisius into a timeout (9:05).
Ndiaye's layup at the 6:13 minute mark, gave him his eighth point of the game, setting a new career-high and giving Saint Peter's a 25-18 advantage. After a pair of Nick Griffin (Rockville, MD/Col. Zadok Magruder (George Washington)) free throws, the Peacocks took their largest lead of the game, 32-23, with 3:24 left in the half, but Canisius used a late 9-0 run over the last two plus minutes, tying the game at 32-32 with 44 seconds remaining in the half. With 14 ticks left, Quadir Welton (Philadelphia, PA / Math, Civics and Science Charter) missed a jumper attempt but Cavon Baker (Queens, NY / New Hope Academy [Md.] (Houston)) came from the near sideline and slammed in a monster put back dunk to give Saint Peter's a 34-32, halftime lead. Griffin and Ndiaye each logged eight points in the opening half. The Peacocks who came in averaging 11.1 turnovers per game, surrendered the ball 11 total times in the first half resulting in 16 Canisius points.
The Peacocks opened up second half with back-to-back threes by Trevis Wyche (Neptune, NJ/Saint Peter's Prep) and Enechionyia, extending the lead to 40-35. The Peacocks then went up, 42-37 after Wyche hit a mid-range jumper but Canisius responded with eight straight points to take the lead at 45-42. After the Golden Griffins extended the lead to 48-44, the Peacocks sprinted out to an 11-0 run, sparked by Baker, Samuel Idowu (Brooklyn, NY/Lafayette Educational Complex), Antwon Portley (Lancaster, TX/Lancaster), and Wyche to give the Peacocks the 55-48 lead with 8:41 to play. Canisius answered the run with a 10-4 run of their own, retaking the lead at 58-57.
The game tied at 60-60, and 62-62, before Griffin knocked in a three to give the Peacocks a brief 65-64 lead, but Canisius responded with a quick basket on the next possession, holding a 66-65 edge with 1:30 left. Canisius scored again, going up 68-65, but a quick layup by Wyche made it 68-67 with 24 seconds left. Canisius made two free throws to take a 70-67 lead after the Peacocks committed an intentional foul. With 8.7 seconds on the clock, Wyche advanced the ball pass midcourt and tossed up a three-point attempt and got fouled, putting him at the charity stripe with a chance to tie. Wyche drained all three free throws, knotting up the game at 70-70 with 5.5 seconds on the clock. With no timeouts, the Golden Griffins' Malik Johnson went the length of the floor and banked in a contested go-ahead and game-winning layup with 0.1 left on the game clock, leaving the Peacocks with no chance.
Turnovers proved to be the difference in the contest as the Peacocks turned the rock over 21 times, the second most this season by the team and most in a MAAC contest, resulting in 32 Canisius points. Inversely, the Golden Griffins only committed eight turnovers in the game.
Wyche scored all of his team-high 17 points in the second half and added five assists. Both Griffin and Idowu finished their evenings with 11 points each. Welton grabbed a team best 10 rebounds, logging double figure rebounds for the seventh time this season.
Canisius was led by Kiefer Douse's game-high 22 points and Kassius Robertson's 15 points.
The Peacocks hit the road for the next two games, traveling to Connecticut to face Quinnipiac on Thursday, February 9 at 8p.m. and Manhattan on Sunday, February 12 at 6p.m.