NIAGARA UNIV., NY – The Saint Peter's men's basketball team's second half rally, led by Davauhnte Turner's (Simsboro, LA/Independence CC/Gambling HS) career-high 22-points, came a 3-point buzzer beater short, as the Peacocks fell to Niagara University, 73-70 on Sunday afternoon. The Peacocks Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) record drops to 2-4, and the team overall record falls to 8-9 after the back-to-back losses in Western New York over the weekend.
Both Samuel Idowu (Brooklyn, NY/Lafayette Educational Complex) and Nnamdi Enechionyia (Springfield, VA/Samford/St. James School) scored 12 points, with Idowu pulling in a game-best seven rebounds. Nick Griffin (Rockville, MD/George Washington/Col. Zadok Magruder) added nine and Cameron Jones (Fairless Hills, PA/Pennsbury) had eight points. Elijah Gonzales (Portland, OR/Clackamas) handed out a team-high four assists for the second straight game.
Niagara (11-8, 4-2 MAAC) won its fourth straight contest after the win and MAAC leading scorers Matt Scott and Kahlil Dukes scored 23 and 21 points respectively for the Purple Eagles.
Saint Peter's went down 10-2 after Niagara made its first four out of five shots, forcing a Peacock timeout. Out of the timeout, Griffin drained a jumper on the first possession and Idowu followed with a layup that put the Peacocks behind, 10-6. From this point on in the half it became Turner's show as he scored 12 out of the final 20 Peacock points of the half. Turner got started with a drive and layup cutting Saint Peter's deficit to 15-8. Turner then knocked down a three and made a layup, cutting the deficit to 22-15, giving him five straight and seven of the last nine Peacock points. After the Purple Eagles took a 24-19 lead, Turner made five straight points for the Peacocks to match five from Niagara, making the score 29-24 with 1:33 left. The Peacocks got to within one possession behind a put back layup by Enechionyia, cutting the score to 29-26, but Niagara closed out the half with the final four points, taking a 33-26 lead over the Peacocks at the break. The difference in the first half was turnovers and points off of turnovers, as Niagara scored 13 points off of 10 Peacock mishaps.
Coming out of the break, the Peacocks surrendered the first five points of the half, falling behind by double-digits the only time on the day (38-26), forcing a timeout. Out of the timeout, the Peacocks outscored the Purple Eagles 15-7, cutting the gap to 45-41. The charge was led by Enechionyia who scored eight of the Peacocks 15 points, forcing Niagara to call a timeout of their own. Turner again took the game over, this time outscoring Niagara 10-6 by himself behind two layups and two trifectas that knotted the game at 51. Niagara jumped back out to the lead, but Jones drained back-to-back threes, making it a two-point game of 59-57. The Purple Eagles again extended their advantage, upping the lead over the Peacocks to 66-59 with six minutes to play. The Peacocks slowly cut into the deficit beginning with a pair of Idowu free throws. Then Griffin put in a layup that cut the game to 66-63. After Niagara went up 68-65, Idowu made a put back layup that made it a one-point game. Niagara scored a field goal to respond, but Griffin hit a long three, that tied the game for the third time at 70 all with two minutes to go. On the following possession, Scott hit a mid-range jumper for Niagara, putting them up 72-70 with 1:36 remaining. On the ensuing Peacock possession, Mamadou Ndiaye (Laurel, MD/Oakland Mills) got a good look at a go-ahead three that just missed and Niagara recovered the rebound with 1:04 left. Niagara too missed a three that would have extended the lead, giving the Peacocks the ball with 29.1 seconds reading on the game clock. The Peacocks moved the ball and Enechionyia got a shot off in the paint through contact that could have been called a foul but ended up resulting in a missed field goal that Niagara recovered. A bench technical foul resulted in a made free throw that put the Purple Eagles up 73-70 with nine seconds left. On the inbound, the Peacocks fouled Scott putting him at the line for the one-and-one which could seal the win. The MAAC leading scorer missed the front end and Ndiaye recovered the rebound. With just eight ticks on the clock, Turner pushed the ball over half court and put up a three at the buzzer that bounced off the rim twice but didn't drop in, ending the game at 73-70.
The Peacocks won the second half battle, outplaying the Purple Eagles in points (44-40), rebounds (13-10), forced turnovers (8-3), points off of turnovers (10-2), points in the paint (16-12), fast break points (8-3), and bench points (16-4).
The Peacocks return to Jersey City for a two-game home stand next week. The first game will be on Thursday, January 18 against hOURglass Rival, Rider at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, January 21, the Peacocks invite Manhattan to the Yanitelli Center for a noon tip.