ALBANY, NY – The Saint Peter's men's basketball team came up a half court heave at the buzzer shy of a win against Siena on Saturday night in a road contest at the Times Union Center, falling 56-54 to the Saints. The Peacocks drop to 2-2 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) and 6-8 overall on the season.
"First of all, I'm proud of the effort that we gave; we could have folded a few times when we weren't making shots," said head coach John Dunne when asked about the second half. "The hardest thing to do is maintain your energy and defensive focus when your not playing well offensively and you are missing a lot of makeable shots, but I am proud that we fought. To go 6-22 overall for 27% and to go 2-8 from three, the fact that it was a one possession game, shows that we have a lot of heart, just weren't good enough offensively. Fortunately we have a game in two days and hopefully we will be feeling good and I know we will play better offensively on Monday."
The Peacocks fell behind by four early until Chazz Patterson (Browns Mills, NJ/Trenton Catholic) got the squad going with a corner three point bucket, followed by a made layup by Quadir Welton (Philadelphia, PA/Math, Civics and Science Charter), giving the Peacocks their first lead at 5-4 by the first timeout break of the game. Siena took the lead back at 9-7 following a three by Brett Bisping and a layup by Marquis Wright. The game tied up a couple of times before Siena hit a jumper and a three to extend their lead over the Peacocks to 17-12 (12:42). Antwon Portley (Lancaster, TX/Lancaster) hit a three pointer to stop the short Saints run at 17-15 (11:40). Trailing by five, Nick Griffin (Rockville, MD/Col. Zadok Magruder (George Washington)) hit a three pointer and a mid range jumper to tie the contest at 23-23 each with just under eight remaining before break. The Peacocks then regained the lead after a backdoor pass from Patterson to Quinn Taylor (Amarillo, TX/Tascosa) for a layup, giving the Peacocks the 25-23 lead (4:30). The game would see ties at 25, 27, and 29 until Trevis Wyche (Neptune, NJ/Saint Peter's Prep) hit two free throws to end the half with the Peacocks up 31-29. The Peacocks had eight different players score in the first half and forced Siena into 11 turnovers (eight steals) but only scored seven points off of the 11 turnovers. The half had seven ties and three lead changes with five points being the largest lead by either team.
The Peacocks did not start the second half off ideally as the team took almost 10 minutes to register a made field goal. The Peacocks started the second half failing to score in the first 3:55 minutes. The drought came to an end after Portley knocked in the front end of two technical foul free throws, and Welton knocked in two free throws of his own, cutting the deficit to 35-34. Portley added two more made free throws making score 39-36 with the Peacocks still trailing. The first field goal of the half came by way of a Wyche layup after a move to the basket, ending an almost 10 minute field goal-less drought and cutting the score to 40-38. A 9-2 Saint Peter's run powered by back-to-back Wyche layups and a baseline drive layup by Griffin with 3:28 left, tied the game at 50-50. Both teams added one free throw to the stat sheet to bring the game to a 51-51 deadlock with a minute and a half left. In the next possession, Siena's Nico Clareth hit the go ahead jumper to give Siena a 53-51 lead with 1:10 on the clock.
Out of a timeout, Wyche advanced the ball and made move to the rim missing a heavily contested layup, forcing the Peacocks to foul a Siena player putting them at the line in a one-and-one situation. With the front end free throw made but a backend miss, the Peacocks trailed 54-51, and would have the opportunity to tie or cut it to one point with 38 ticks left. With a hand in his face, Griffin got up a three point shot but missed at the chance to tie, but Patterson came down with an offensive rebound and fell to the ground for an unfortunate called traveling violation. Siena drained both charity stripe shots, extending the lead to 56-51 with 15 seconds but Griffin quickly drained a three with 5.1 seconds left, cutting the Peacock deficit to 56-54. With the Peacocks in full court press, the Saints advanced the ball on a long inbound toss giving Wright what looked to be a game sealing layup, but Patterson came out of no where from behind stuffing his layup attempt off the glass leading to Wyche recovering the defensive rebound and heaving up a half court shot at the buzzer that was too strong as it hit just a couple inches higher than the square on the backboard.
The Peacocks six made field goals tied a season low for shots made in a half (made six field goals in the second half in a loss at Fordham) and the unit shot 27.3 percent from the field overall in the final 20 minutes.
Griffin led the Peacocks in scoring on the night with 13 points, followed by Wyche who scored 10 points and added four rebounds, two assists, and three steals. Wyche made three of the teams six second half field goals. Welton recorded seven points, four rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and a steal.
The Saints were led by Wright's 16 points and Bisping's 13 point 11 rebound double-double.
The Peacocks return to the Yanitelli Center in a couple of days on Monday night for a 7p.m. meeting with Quinnipiac.