JERSEY CITY, NJ – The Saint Peter's men's basketball team fell to Elon University, 68-53, on Sunday afternoon at the Yanitelli Center in non-conference action. Redshirt-Senior guard Cavon Baker (Queens, NY/New Hope Academy [Md.} (Houston)) scored a season-high and Peacock best, 13 points in the contest. Baker had entered the day with six points against Iona (Dec. 2) as his season best.
The Peacocks jumped out to an 8-2 lead on buckets by Antwon Portley (Lancaster, TX/Lancaster), Chazz Patterson (Browns Mills, NJ/Trenton Catholic), and Quadir Welton (Philadelphia, PA/Math, Civics and Science Charter) early in the contest. With the Peacocks leading 12-9, after a Baker basket, Elon used two straight three–point baskets to take its first lead of the afternoon at 15-12 with 11:14 on the clock. Saint Peter's responded with a Portley three and a Baker transition basket from a steal and layup, retaking the lead at 19-15 (8:55). Baker would add another two, while Mamadou Ndiaye (Laurel, MD/Oakland Mills) scored the next four Peacock points and Samuel Idowu (Brooklyn, NY/Lafayette Educational Complex) added a made layup, giving the Peacocks 10 straight bench points and a 25-24 lead with three to play in the half. With just .03 seconds on the clock and the Peacocks down three, Patterson drained a deep three to knot the game at 28-28 heading into halftime.
Elon opened the second half on a 12-0 run to take its largest lead of 12 up to that point, with the 40-28 edge just three minutes into the half. The Peacock answered the Phoenix with four straight three-point field goals, sparking a 12-0 run of their own, to tie the game at 40-40. Nnamdi Enechionyia (Springfield, VA/St. James School (Samford)) caught heat, hitting three treys in a row on three straight possessions and Trevis Wyche (Neptune, NJ/Saint Peter's Prep) added a deep ball as well, accounting for the 12 points out of the under 16 media timeout, to lead the run. With the Phoenix back up, Baker continued to lead the Peacocks off of the bench, hitting a three and a layup for five straight points, cutting the Peacock deficit to 49-45 with 9:20 remaining. Elon used hot three point shooting to counteract a Peacock run, hitting three straight threes, to extend its lead back up to double figures at 58-45 with 4:53 left (its largest lead of the evening of 13 points). Trailing late, Saint Peter's began to full court trap, looking to use defensive to ignite a comeback. Portley hit a jumper at the top of the key, which cut it back to single digits late at, 58-49, with under three left. Off of the trap, Baker forced a steal and fast break layup and a monster slam-dunk by Ndiaye cut the deficit to eight points (61-53) with 1:45 left. Hopes of a Peacock comeback ended with Elon's 14th made team three-pointer of the day by Dainan Swoope, extending the lead to 11 points lead with under one minute left. Elon added a pair of layups to secure the 68-53 road win over Saint Peter's.
"I thought we had great energy to start the game on the defensive end, (offensively) we left a lot of points off the board, missing a lot of makeable shots in the first half and then the first half was tied," said head coach John Dunne. "They (Elon) had a lot more energy in the second half, which is disappointing since they had a tough travel day yesterday, and it was a home game for us. We have to look into the mirror and figure out why we can't have better energy in the second half. A lot of times you don't have good energy when you're not scoring the ball and when you go 14 from 41 from two (field goals), its going to be hard. We have to continue to work, continue to get better as individuals, and continue to get better as a team. Our energy, effort, attitude, everything needs to get better. We have a day off tomorrow, we need to try to improve the next few days, and try to get a win Friday against St. Francis."
The Peacocks won the points in the paint battle (22-20), the turnover battle (12-8), the points off of turnovers battle (22-9), and the bench point battle (21-9), but still came up just short in the contest. Baker was the only Peacock to score in double figures with his 13 points. Enechionyia added nine points on all three-point field goals, while Patterson and Portley contributed eight points each.
Elon shot 14-for 29 from long range (48.3%) and made 49 percent of their field goals in the game (27-55) despite the defensive efforts from Saint Peter's. The Phoenix had four players score in double figures; led by Brian Dawkins game-high 18 points, Tyler Seibring's 14 points, and Swoope and Steven Santa Ana added 12 points each.
The Peacocks have now dropped three straight and their overall record falls to 4-6 on the season. The men will hit the road again for two-games to close out the 2016 calendar year; first, traveling across the Hudson to take on St. Francis Brooklyn on Friday, December 23, and then heading to South Bend, Indiana to take on nationally ranked Notre Dame on Wednesday, December 28.