NEW ROCHELLE, NY – The Saint Peter's men's basketball team squandered two double-digit leads, including a 10-point lead with under five minutes remaining, resulting in a tough, 73-69, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) setback to the Iona Gaels on Friday night. The Peacocks overall record drops to 7-7 and the team's MAAC record goes to 1-2.
Samuel Idowu (Brooklyn, NY/Lafayette Educational Complex) led all scorers on the night with 20 points, tying his season and career best marks. In reserve, Davauhnte Turner (Simsboro, LA/Independence CC/Gambling HS) added 13 points and Mamadou Ndiaye (Laurel, MD/Oakland Mills) added 10 points.
Iona (8-7, 2-1 MAAC) was led offensively by Ricky McGill, Schadrac Casimir, and TK Edogi, who scored 19, 18, and 12 points respectively.
"I'm clearly disappointed that we didn't finish the game after being up 10," said head coach John Dunne. "You can't turn the ball over and beat good teams and we have to tighten up some things defensively. Overall, I am proud of my guy's effort. I thought that we gave good effort physically but mentally at some points we kind of folded a little bit, but we have a new group and even though we are about 15 games in, we're still learning how to win close games and we are close. I like where we are at and we have to learn from this one and get ready for Quinnipiac on Sunday."
The Peacocks opened the ESPNU nationally televised game with the night's first 11 points, which began with Nnamdi Enechionyia's (Springfield, VA/Samford/St. James School) mid-range jumper to start the game. Then three consecutive made trifectas by Idowu, Quinn Taylor (Amarillo, TX/Tascosa), and Enechionyia extended the lead over Iona to 11-0. Iona eventually got on the board and the two teams exchanged baskets over the next five minutes before Turner drained a contested three as the shot clock expired, that put Saint Peter's up 20-9 with just under 10 minutes left in the half.
Following another three-pointer made by Idowu that gave the Peacocks a 23-12 edge, Iona went on a 10-0 run, cutting Saint Peter's lead to 23-22. Idowu knocked home another three to end the Gaels run and put the Peacocks up 26-22, but Iona responded and tied the game at 26-26 with two minutes on the clock. Gonzales made a layup to break the tie but Iona's Svandrlik put a three-point shot down, sending the game into the half with Iona up 29-28 over Saint Peter's. The Gaels went on a 17-5 run to close out the half. Despite the deficit at halftime, the Peacocks held the Gaels to 33.3 percent shooting from both the field and three. Saint Peter's shared the ball well in the half, assisting on the first 10 made field goals and recording an assist on all but one shot in the half.
After the game had just one tie and one lead change in the first 40 minutes of action, the second half produced a completely different game as those numbers jumped to nine lead changes and four ties after the break . The seesaw half began on the Peacocks first possession after regaining the lead, 31-29, from a trio of Nick Griffin (Rockville, MD/George Washington/Col. Zadok Magruder) free throws. Casimir put Iona back in the lead, 32-31, after a three, but Taylor quickly answered with a layup that put Saint Peter's ahead 33-32. Another Iona three, this time by Zach Lewis, put the Gaels up, 35-33 over the Peacocks. Saint Peter's fell behind by as much as seven points before Iona held the lead at 42-38 with 13:29 reading on the game clock. The Peacocks went on a 20-6 run over the next nine minutes, putting them up by 10-points, leading 58-48 with 4:24 left on the clock. The 20-6 run was spearheaded by Idowu (six points), Ndiaye (five points), Taylor (four points), Cameron Jones (Fairless Hills, PA/Pennsbury) (three points) and Turner (two points). Iona managed to respond by scoring the game's next 14 points, to overtake the lead, 62-58 with 1:56 remaining in game. The Peacocks cut the deficit to two-points three times at 62-60 and 64-62, and 67-65 as late as 38 seconds left in the ballgame, but Iona hit a daggering three-pointer and then forced a steal which resulted in a fast break dunk to go up 72-65 with 13.3 seconds left, ending the Peacocks chance at the victory.
The Peacocks return to the Yanitelli Center for a brief game on Sunday, January 7, when Saint Peter's play host to Quinnipiac at 2pm. The Peacocks will look to remain perfect at home on the season, before returning to the road for the annual Western New York trip to Buffalo to take on Canisius and Niagara on January 12 and 14.