ALBANY, NY – The No. 9 Saint Peter's men's basketball team's historic run in the 2018 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championship came to an end on Sunday night in the semifinal round to the two-time defending champion, Iona Gaels. The Peacocks squandered a double-digit second half lead, resulting in a 65-62 heartbreaking defeat in the same round that the team exited last year's tournament in.
Saint Peter's (14-18) leaders were Quinn Taylor, (Amarillo, TX/Tascosa) who scored a career-high 19 points, and Davauhnte Turner (Simsboro, LA/Independence CC/Gambling HS) and Cameron Jones (Fairless Hills, PA/Pennsbury) who scored 10 points each with Turner dishing out a team-high three assists. Samuel Idowu (Brooklyn, NY/Lafayette Educational Complex) just missed a double-double, scoring nine points with 11 rebounds and four blocks.
Iona (19-13) had three players score in double-figures, led by Schadrac Casimir's game-high 24 points, Zach Lewis scoring 12 points, and E.J. Crawford scoring 10 points.
Saint Peter's never trailed in the first half, starting the game with a 6-2 lead. Iona stuck around, tying the game up four times with 20-20 being the last tie in the half. Saint Peter's closed the half on a 10-0 run, holding Iona without a field goal over the final 6:25. The run led to a 30-20 halftime advantage. The Peacocks held Iona to .276 (8-29) from the field and .214 (3-14) from 3-point range.
The Peacocks extended the lead over Iona to as much as 14 points (39-25) with 15 minutes to play. Iona then used an 8-0 run, cutting the Peacock lead to 39-36. Despite the run, the Peacocks kept control of the game, extending the lead back to seven points following a made 3-pointer by Jones, making the score 46-39. The lead slowly chipped away and with 3:14 remaining, Iona took their first lead of the night at 56-54. Taylor tied the game at 56 with two made free throws. With 34.2 to play, the Peacocks trailed Iona 63-58. Turner quickly moved the ball and scored a layup, cutting the deficit to 63-60 with 28.5 left. On the ensuing possession, the Peacocks defense forced a tie up and jump ball, taking over the possession. After being fouled, Turner made two free throws, putting the Peacocks down 63-62 with just 16.6 remaining. A double-bonus foul by Saint Peter's led to Iona extending the score to 65-62 with 13.0 on the clock. The Peacocks had one last chance to tie, but Nick Griffin's (Rockville, MD/George Washington/Col. Zadok Magruder) 3-point attempt bounced off the rim. Taylor recovered the offensive rebound but was stripped of the ball before he got a shot off.
The Peacocks season ends with a 14-18 overall record, closing the season as winners in four out of five. The graduate duo of Griffin and Nnamdi Enechionyia (Springfield, VA/Samford/St. James School) careers as Peacocks came to an end. Griffin finished the season as the team leading scorer with 403 points. Enechionyia scored 172 points on the year.