JERSEY CITY, NJ – With 5.7 seconds remaining in the game and a two point lead, senior forward Quadir Welton (Philadelphia, PA/Math, Civics and Science Charter) nailed two free throws to secure the 58-54 win over Quinnipiac University on Monday night in Jersey City. The Peacocks improve to 3-2 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) and 7-8 overall.
Welton finished the night with a game-high 15 points and six rebounds along with two blocks. Trevis Wyche (Neptune, NJ/Saint Peter's Prep) added 13 points, and both Cavon Baker (Queens, NY/New Hope Academy [Md.] (Houston) and Nick Griffin (Rockville, MD/Col. Zadok Magruder (George Washington)) scored 10 points each in the win.
"I'm just really proud of our guys; it was a grind win," said head coach John Dunne. "We did not have our best effort. We got back late from Albany the other night, but I thought after a tough loss against Siena, I thought we bounced back and had a good focused day yesterday and we had a real good walk through today so I knew our hearts and our focus was in the right place. I didn't think we had our best energy, and Quinnipiac was coming off of a grind game too, so at the end of the day, we knew it was going to be a grind of a game. I'm just proud of the guys for getting the W. We're learning how to win these grinds although we dropped one the other night to Siena; the other night the shots didn't go but tonight we made big shots in big moments and it just feels good to get the win."
The Peacocks jumped out to a 6-2 early lead scoring all six points from three consecutive forced turnovers in as many possessions, leading to buckets from Welton and Wyche on the offensive end. The Bobcats responded with a 7-0 run, taking a 9-6 lead. Samuel Idowu (Brooklyn, NY/Lafayette Educational Complex) ended the Bobcat run with a top of the key three pointer to tie the game at 9-9. In the very next possession Chazz Patterson (Browns Mills, NJ/Trenton Catholic) forced a steal leading to his own transition three to give Saint Peter's a 12-9 advantage. Out of the media break, the Peacocks forced Quinnipiac into a traveling violation, leading to a three-point make by Baker, extending the Peacocks lead to 15-9 (10:32) and giving the team another tally on a Quinnipiac mishap. With the Peacocks leading 21-14, the Bobcats put together an 8-2 run to pull within one point at 23-22 with 3:37 left. Baker put out the Bobcat flame with a made jumper, and his second three-point field goal of the night off a Welton steal extending the lead to 28-22. In the next possession, Baker returned the favor to Welton, forcing the steal this time and getting the ball to Welton where he was foul and converted on both free throws, to extend the lead to 30-22.
At the break, Saint Peter's led Quinnipiac, 30-24. The Peacocks forced Quinnipiac into 15 turnovers, which tied their season worse for a half and converted the turnovers into 24 points.
A monster dunk by Welton and a midrange Griffin jumper got the Peacocks out to a 34-26 lead to start the second half only for Quinnipiac to answer with an 8-0 run to tie the game up at 34-34 by the 13:48 minute mark. After the Peacocks added their next four points from the line (38-34), the Bobcats scored the next five straight points retaking the lead at 39-38, with 10:23 on the clock. Welton quickly responded with a layup and then Griffin added a three in back-to-back possessions, to take and extend the lead to 43-39. With 5:41 in the game, Wyche scored a layup on a drive to the rim, making it a 49-44 contest. The Bobcats answered again, for the fourth time with a seven plus point run, putting together a 7-0 run to take over the lead again at 51-49 with just under four minutes left in the game. Saint Peter's kept their poise as Wyche scored the game-tying basket with 3:38 on the clock, and after a made free throw by Quinnipiac, Griffin drained a three with a little over 2 minutes remaining, giving the Peacocks a 54-52 lead.
With the tight lead late in the game, Wyche hit the backend of two charity stripe shots to give Saint Peter's a 55-52 lead with one minute and a half left. Idowu then hit the second of two free throws to give the team a 56-52 edge with 45 seconds to go. The Bobcats quickly rushed down the floor and hit a layup in nine seconds to cut the deficit to 56-54 with 36 ticks remaining. The Peacocks took a six second difference between the shot and game clock into the final possession. Griffin put up a missed three point shot with time expiring on the shot clock but Welton secured the offensive rebound, leading to a foul that put him at the line for two. Welton drained both free throws with 5.7 seconds left, leaving Quinnipiac with no opportunity but to throw up a three that missed with not time left on the clock.
Quinnipiac was led offensively by Reggie Oliver, who scored 12 points and was the only Bobcat in double figures.
The Peacocks hit the road for two straight games against current MAAC leaders Rider and Fairfield. The road trip will start a stretch of six games in 12 days, and seven games in 15 days for the squad.