ALBANY, NY – The No. 9 Saint Peter's men's basketball team made history on Friday night, defeating No. 1 Rider 66-55 in the quarterfinal round of the 2018 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championship. The Peacocks became the first No. 9 seed in MAAC history to reach the semifinal round and the first ever No. 9 seed to knock off a No. 1 seed in the MAAC tournament. The win is the fourth in a row for Saint Peter's and it sends the Peacocks into the semifinals for the second straight season and third in the past four years.
Saint Peter's (14-17) had eight players score over three points in the win with Samuel Idowu (Brooklyn, NY/Lafayette Educational Complex) leading the way with 12 points. Last's night hero, Nick Griffin (Rockville, MD/George Washington/Col. Zadok Magruder), tallied 11 points in tonight's game, while Elijah Gonzales (Portland, OR/Clackamas), Cameron Jones (Fairless Hills, PA/Pennsbury), and Quinn Taylor (Amarillo, TX/Tascosa) each posted nine points in the victory.
The regular season champions, Rider (22-9), had three players combine to score 36 of their 55 points. Stevie Jordan and Tyere Marshall both scored 13 points and Anthony Durham added 10 points for the Broncs.
Saint Peter's defense once again prevailed, as the Peacocks held its fourth consecutive opponent under 60 points. The Peacocks held Rider to a .306 (15-49) field goal percentage and an impressive .143 (3-21) percent from the 3-point arc. Every opponent during the four-game stretch has shot under 50 percent from the field and less than 33 percent from behind the arc. In the second half, Saint Peter's defense put Rider on lock down as the Broncs went 7 for 31 from the field and an abysmal 0 for 17 from long range. Rider scored more than half their second half points at the free throw line (16 points).
In the opening frame, the Peacocks jumped out to an early 7-1 lead. Rider responded with a 10-3 run that gave them an 11-10 lead over the Peacocks. After two lead changes and two ties, the Peacocks found themselves down, 25-17 with 4:07 to go in the half. From that point on, Saint Peter's defense shut Rider down, holding them without a field goal or point and closing the half on a 10-0 run that put the Peacocks ahead 27-25 at intermission.
The Peacocks picked right back up in the second half where they left off in the first half with stout defense as the team extended their lead to double-figures. Rider remained without a made field goal in the half for 8:48, extending the drought to 12:55 overall minutes without a field goal. Once the Peacocks went up by more than 10 points less than four minutes into the half, the Peacocks held the double-figure advantage up until just under four minutes remained when Rider cut the Peacock lead to nine points. Nine would be the closest that Rider got as the Peacocks made late free throws down the stretch to close out the upset victory, 66-55 over Rider.
The Peacocks have one day off and then the team returns to action on Sunday night at 7 p.m. in the semifinal round. Saint Peter's will take on the winner of No. 4 Iona/No. 5 Manhattan, who meet on Saturday at 9:30 p.m.