JERSEY CITY, NJ – For the second straight season, the Saint Peter's men's basketball team defeated Fairleigh Dickinson (FDU) by over 20 points, knocking off the Knights this year, 77-53, on Wednesday night in the team's home opener at the Yanitelli Center. The Peacocks used a balanced scoring attack, as five players scored in double figures in the win, led by graduate guard, Nick Griffin (Rockville, MD/George Washington/Col. Zadok Magruder) who scored a team-high 19 points. Joining Griffin with double-digit performances were Samuel Idowu (Brooklyn, NY/Lafayette Educational Complex) with 16 points, Nnamdi Enechionyia (Springfield, VA/Samford/St. James School) and Elijah Gonzales (Portland, OR/Clackamas) who tallied 12 points each, and Davauhnte Turner (Simsboro, LA/Independence CC/Gambling HS) who registered 11 points. The Peacock's record improved to 3-3, having now won three out of their last four games.
"I thought it was a great team effort," said head coach John Dunne. "Every year as a coach, you wonder how unselfish your team is going to be and you wonder if you are going to get them to play hard and especially as hard as the group from a year before. I think we are doing those two things. I think we are really selfless and I think we are sharing the ball."
The Peacocks fell behind FDU, 9-4, but quickly responded to tie the game at nine each after a three-pointer by Gonzales and a jumper from Griffin. FDU responded with a basket that was then answered by a putback layup from Griffin to again tie the contest. The Peacocks took their first lead since 2-0, when Turner caught a putback two-handed slam dunk after a missed shot by Jeremiah Livingston (Stamford, CT/Odessa College/Westhill), giving Saint Peter's a 13-12 lead. The Peacocks maintained the lead before FDU tied the game up at 16 a piece and 18 all, but Gonzales kept the hot hand off of the bench, hitting a mid range jumper, to give the Peacocks the 20-18 edge, which also proved to be the final lead change of the night. Over the next four minutes, Saint Peter's put together an 8-0 run, beginning with a three-ball from Cameron Jones (Fairless Hills, PA/Pennsbury), followed by a layup from Griffin, and a three by Idowu, leading to a 10-point lead and erupting the home crowd into a frenzy. Holding the 28-18 advantage with two and a half minutes remaining before intermission, FDU outscored Saint Peter's 9-5, sending the contest into the half with the Peacocks leading, 33-27. Gonzales and Griffin both paced the Peacocks with 10 points each in the first half of action.
Enechionyia, who had not made a field goal in the first half, caught fire out of the break, as he helped spark a 17-2 run that began the second half. The run was ignited by Enechionyia and Idowu exchanging four three-point field goals (two made by each) that helped grow the Peacock lead to 46-29. Then, back to back baskets by Turner, from a layup and a turnaround jumper in the paint, capped off the run that put Saint Peter's up, 50-29, with less than five minutes off of the second half clock. FDU cut the deficit of Saint Peter's to 52-36, but the second half scoring leader, Enechionyia, stopped the run with a layup that put the score at, 54-36 right before the under 12 minute media break. FDU again, put together a run on the home squad, cutting the Peacock lead down to 12 points twice at 54-42 and 56-44. Before the Knights could get any closer, back to back trifectas by Turner and Griffin put the advantage back up to 18, with the Peacocks leading FDU, 62-44 with exactly 7:00 on the game clock. The teams continued to exchange points as the Peacocks hovered between 16 and 19 point leads, until Quinn Taylor's (Amarillo, TX/Tascosa) jumper with a little over three minutes remaining, extended the Peacocks lead back to a commanding 20 points, at 71-51. A pair of free throws by Jones and consecutive jump shots by Enechionyia sealed the Peacocks second straight win in a row.
For the second consecutive game, the Peacocks displayed a strong showing with the long ball, knocking down 11 out of 26 three-pointers (42.3%), shooting over 40 percent from three for the second straight game. The Peacocks also held advantages over the Knights in the majority of the statistical categories, edging FDU in points in the paint (28-20), points off of turnovers (14-12), second chance points (15-11), and bench points (17-7).
The Peacocks will next travel to Elon, North Carolina for the first time in program history to take on the Elon Phoenixes on Saturday, December 2, at 7pm, before returning to Jersey City to host Houston Baptist next Wednesday, December 6, at 7pm.