JERSEY CITY, NJ – The 2016-17 Saint Peter's men's basketball team will make history again as the team is set to host Furman University in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) semifinals on Wednesday, March 29 at 9p.m. on CBS Sports Network. The contest will mark the first ever national postseason game hosted at the Yanitelli Center in Jersey City, NJ.
The Peacocks enter the contest with a 21-13 overall record; the programs most wins in a single season under head coach John Dunne. This is the 12th time the program has won over 20 games in a season and just the second time under Dunne. The two wins in the CIT for Saint Peter's are the most in a national postseason tournament since the 1980 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) when that team knocked off Connecticut in the first round and then Duquesne in the second round. The team advanced to the semifinal round of a national postseason tournament for just the second time in program history, doing it first in 1968 when that team made the NIT semifinals, falling to Kansas 58-46 in the semifinal round.
Playing in the programs first national postseason tournament since a 2011 NCAA berth, the Peacocks advanced to the quarterfinal round of the CIT by rallying late in the second half to knock off Albany, 59-55 in the first round on March 16. The team then earned a bye in the second round and advanced to the quarterfinal round. In the quarterfinals, the Peacocks rallied from 17-points back, their largest comeback win of the season, to defeat Texas State 49-44 on March 25. The Peacocks are the first MAAC team to make a national postseason semifinal since the 2014 Siena squad that won the College Basketball Invitational (CBI).
The Furman University Paladins bring a 23-11 overall mark to Jersey City, which tied for the most wins in program history. The Paladins of the SoCon posted a 14-4 conference record this year en route to earning a share of their first league title since 1991. Furman, who is playing in its second consecutive CIT, advanced to the semifinal round with a 79-64 victory at Campbell on Saturday afternoon. Devin Sibley leads the team with 17.6 points per game, followed by Kris Acox and Daniel Fowler who average 13.1 and 10.8 points per game, respectively.
Wednesday's semifinal matchup will be the third meeting all-time between the two East Coast teams, with Furman holding a 2-0 advantage. The teams met in back-to-back seasons back in 1972-73 and 1973-74 with the Paladins getting the best of the Peacocks 116-76 and 120-91 in the team contest.
The Peacocks finished the regular season with a 14-6 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) record. The 14 MAAC wins were a program record and the second place regular season finish was the best for a Peacock team since the 1988-89 campaign. The Peacocks boasted one of the top scoring defenses in the country and finished the regular season leading the league in five team statistical categories. Senior center Quadir Welton (Philadelphia, PA / Math, Civics and Science Charter) earned All-MAAC first team honors and led the team in scoring (12.1 ppg) and rebounding (8.0 rpg) during the season. Senior guard Trevis Wyche (Neptune, NJ/Saint Peter's Prep) earned All-MAAC second team honors for the second consecutive year after averaging 11.4 points per game and leading the Peacocks in assists and the conference in assists to turnover ratio. Junior Nick Griffin (Rockville, MD/Col. Zadok Magruder (George Washington)) added 9.3 points per outing and sophomore Antwon Portley (Lancaster, TX/Lancaster) chipped in 7.8 points per contest. Senior Chazz Patterson (Browns Mills, NJ/Trenton Catholic) ranked second in the MAAC in steals per game and was named the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the first Peacock to win the honor and first Saint Peter's major award recipient since 2006.
Saint Peter's is the lone MAAC team playing in the postseason as the four other teams all fell in their respective tournaments (Iona – NCAA, Monmouth – NIT, Canisius and Fairfield – CIT). The Peacocks are also the only men's team in the conference to earn a win this post season with all four of the other teams falling in their first game.
The winner between the Peacocks and Paladins will move into the championship game on Friday, March 31 and will take on the winner of the Texas A&M CC and UMBC contest.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 29 - CBS Sports Network
Texas A&M Corpus Christi (23-11) @ UMBC (21-12) 7:00 pm
Furman (23-11) @ Saint Peter's (21-13) 9:00 pm
Friday, March 31 on CBS Sports Network