JERSEY CITY, NJ – The 2016-17 Saint Peter's men's basketball team has already made countless history this season, now adding a national postseason tournament title appearance to the list. The Peacocks will take on Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Friday, March 31 in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) championship at 9p.m. EST on CBS Sports Network. The program is just 40 minutes away from its first ever national postseason tournament crown.
The Peacocks enter the final contest of the season with a 22-13 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 22 wins are tied for the third most in a single season by a Saint Peter's team (22 win seasons in 1979-80, 1982-83, and 1988-89) and are the most wins since the 1990-91 season. The team will also play in their 36th game of the season, setting a new program record for games played in a single season. The three wins in the CIT for Saint Peter's are the most ever in a national postseason tournament and the appearance in the championship game is the first for the program in its history.
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. In the semifinals, the Peacocks dominated Furman from start to finish, earning a 77-51, blowout victory at home to move on to the final round. The Peacocks are the second MAAC team in its 36-year history to make a national postseason championship game, joining the 2014 Siena squad that won the College Basketball Invitational (CBI).
The Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders enter the CIT final with a 24-11 record, and have made the programs deepest postseason run. The Southland runner-up in 2016-17, has advanced further than any other program in their conference and their four wins in the CIT is more than any Southland team in one tournament ever. Senior Rashawn Thomas, who became the first player in program history to surpass the 2,000-point career threshold in the semifinal game, leads the Islanders offensively with his 22.6 points per game. Ehab Amin, who is the nations leader in steals per game, leads the team defensively.
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.