BROOKLYN, NY – The Saint Peter's men's basketball team can head into Christmas weekend with jolly spirits as big time performances from senior leaders, Quadir Welton (Philadelphia, PA/Math, Civics and Science Charter) and Trevis Wyche (Neptune, NJ/Saint Peter's Prep) led to a, 65-58, victory at St. Francis College Brooklyn on Friday afternoon in non-conference action. Wyche posted a season-high 20 points, and Welton registered his third double-double of the year with 17 points and 14 rebounds, leading the squad to its first road win of the season. The win improves the Peacocks overall record to 5-6 on the year and snaps a three-game setback.
Eight straight points in the first four possessions powered by six points from Welton got the Peacocks out to a fast start and early 8-0 lead over the Terriers. The fast pace slowed down drastically, with the Peacocks going on a drought for the next six minutes, allowing the Terriers to score 14 straight unanswered points, giving them a 14-8 lead over the Peacocks with 10:11 remaining. Samuel Idowu (Brooklyn, NY/Lafayette Educational Complex) ended the Peacock slump with a layup with just less than 10 minutes to go in the half to cut the deficit to 14-10. It wouldn't take long for the Peacocks to regain the lead after Nick Griffin (Rockville, MD/Col. Zadok Magruder (George Washington)) nailed a three-point bucket off of a pass from Antwon Portley (Lancaster, TX/Lancaster), giving the Peacocks the 15-14 lead. Hustle play extended that lead, after a blocked shot by Griffin, an offensive board by Welton, and a forced turnover by the Peacock defense, helping to extend the advantage to 19-14. Welton continued his strong play, adding a three-point play with 5:18 on the clock extending the Peacock lead to 22-16. The Peacocks closed out the half scoring 10, while the Terriers scored 11, giving the Peacocks a 32-27 lead to end the half. In the first 20 minutes of play, Welotn posted game-highs of 11 points and 8 rebounds, while Wyche and Idowu added six points each.
In the second frame, both teams cooled down to start the half, with the Peacocks scoring three and the Terriers scoring four points by the first media timeout, with the Peacocks holding a slim 35-31 lead. The contest then went neck in neck and with the game clock at 10:49, the Peacocks got in the bonus after St. Francis posted its eighth foul of the half, allowing the Peacocks to shoot free-throws the rest of the way with a tight score of 40-39. The Terriers would tie the game for the first time since it was 8-8, at 41 each, with 10 minutes left. But the Peacocks quickly answered on a made layup by Welton giving the Peacocks their final lead of the game. St. Francis kept the game tight with the Peacocks, but late in the contest, Wyche showed why he is an all-league player, taking over the game on four straight possessions. First he hit his defender with a crossover and scored a layup on an up and under move to give the Peacocks a 54-50 lead with less than three minutes remaining. Then off a defensive rebound by Wyche, he hit the backend of two free throws to extend the lead to 55-51. Next possession, with 1:45 remaining, Wyche hit his man with another crossover and made a beautiful behind the back dish to Welton who scored the wide-open layup to extend the lead to 57-52 with 1:36 left. Finally, Wyche followed up with another nice move to the basket and reveres layup to push the Peacock lead to 59-52 with a little over one minute left to just about seal the victory. The Terriers didn't go away quietly as they hit a couple more deep three-pointers, but made free throws by Portley, Chazz Patterson (Browns Mills, NJ/Trenton Catholic), and Wyche, secured the win for Saint Peter's.
"We talked about trying to grind and getting a grind win on the road, and we talked about it not having to be pretty," said head coach John Dunne. "Even though St. Francis doesn't have a great overall record with just two wins, they have been in almost every game and they play really hard. They've got some guards that can score and the kid (Glenn) Sanabria is a heck of a player and he made a bunch of tough shots, but at the end of the day we showed some mental toughness and I am proud of the guys."
"If you are going to have success, your leaders have to play; your better players have to play," added head coach John Dunne. "The guys that play the high minutes have to perform, and they (Welton and Wyche) know that up to this point, they have had some ups and downs throughout the course of the season but they were really really good today and they need to build off of that."
Sanabria, who scored a game-high 21 points, led the Terriers in the game.
In the grind out win, the Peacocks logged a plus 12 rebounding margin, a plus 14 points in the paint advantage, and a plus five turnover edge over the Terriers, while also holding a game lead for over 32 minutes in the contest.
The Peacocks close out non-conference play on the road at No. 24/25 Notre Dame. The Peacocks meet the Fighting Irish on Wednesday, December 28 at 7p.m. to close out 2016. Notre Dame will be the first nationally ranked team the Peacocks face since taking on No. 21 George Washington last season on December 19.