CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – The Saint Peter's men's basketball team's historic season was capped off on Friday night with the programs first ever national postseason tournament championship. The Peacocks defeated Texas A&M Corpus Christi, 62-61 in dramatic fashion to claim the 2017 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) title.
All nine Peacocks that played in the game scored at least two points in the win. Tournament MVP, Quadir Welton (Philadelphia, PA/Math, Civics and Science Charter) recorded his ninth double-double of the season and 21st of his career, scoring 12 points and grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds. Cavon Baker (Queens, NY/New Hope Academy [Md.] (Houston)) scored a team-high 15 points in 26 minutes of action off of the bench, while Trevis Wyche (Neptune, NJ/Saint Peter's Prep) added 11 points in the victory.
The Peacocks fell behind 9-3 by the first media timeout, getting a three-pointer from the specialist, Nick Griffin (Rockville, MD/Col. Zadok Magruder (George Washington)). Saint Peter's got within two points on back-to-back threes from Baker and Antwon Portley (Lancaster, TX/Lancaster), making it 11-9 with a little under the 14 minute mark. The Islanders responded with the next five points, extending the lead to 16-9 (11:59). After falling behind 23-11, the Peacocks did exactly what they have done in earlier CIT games, turning defense into offense and going on a big run. The run by the Peacocks extended for the next 6:07, as the team put together a 15-0 run, taking the lead at 26-23. The run began with the Welton scoring six straight in the paint and Quinn Taylor (Amarillo, TX/Tascosa) added a layup off a Wyche dime for the first eight points, cutting the deficit to, 23-19. Baker followed with a layup and Wyche with a step back jumper at the top of the key extending the run to 12-0 and tying the game at 23-23. Samuel Idowu (Brooklyn, NY/Lafayette Educational Complex) hit the go-ahead three, giving the Peacocks the 26-23 lead, the team's first lead since 3-2. The Islanders scored the final five points of half to take a 28-26 lead into the break. The Peacocks forced Texas A&M Corpus Christi into missing seven out of their last nine field goal attempts to close the half.
Texas A&M Corpus Christi opened up the second half scoring five straight points, but the Peacocks answered with four, trailing 33-30. The Islanders scored six straight points on three consecutive turnovers by the Peacocks, putting them behind 39-31. Baker scored on a layup to stop the run, then Wyche hit a three, making the score 41-36 with 12:48 on the clock. With the Islanders leading the Peacocks 43-36, the Peacocks outscored the Islanders 10-2, which began with a Wyche layup and Chazz Patterson (Browns Mills, NJ/Trenton Catholic) steal and transition layup cutting the score to 43-40. Baker scored on a layup, making it a 43-42 deficit, before a backdoor pass from Welton to Portley turned into a layup that gave the Peacocks a 46-45 lead with the clock reading 9:18 to cap off the 10-2 run. Texas A&M Corpus Christi retook the lead at 51-48 and looked to extend that lead after a steal but Baker came up with a huge block on the ensuing fast break layup attempt, then Wyche tied the game with three in transition at the other end for a five points swing, knotting the game at 51-51. After Portley missed a three-pointer, Welton came up with an offensive-board and scored on a hook shot, giving the Peacocks a 53-51 lead with 3:16 remaining. The Islanders tied up the game at 53 a piece, but Baker hit a huge trifecta to give the Peacocks a 56-53 lead (2:09). The Islanders hit a two-point field goal and Welton hit two from the charity stripe to give Saint Peter's a 58-55 advantage with one minute and a quarter left. On the ensuing possession, the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, Patterson came up with a big steal and was fouled. Patterson drained both free throws extending the lead to 60-55 with one minute left. Texas A&M Corpus Christi's had a chance to cut into the lead again but came up short on two missed free throws. After a Peacock timeout, Patterson was fouled but missed the front end of the bonus, giving the Islanders life. Texas A&M Corpus Christi called a timeout and out of the break hit a corner three-pointer that cut Saint Peter's lead to 60-58 with 14 seconds left. Baker was fouled on the inbound, and after making the first free throw, missed the second, giving the Peacocks a 61-58 lead with 11 seconds on the clock. With one shot left to tie, the Islanders heaved up a deep three that had no chance of going in but Portley was charged with a foul, putting Texas A&M Corpus Christi at the line for three. All three free throws went down, tying the game at 61-61. On the inbound, Wyche threw a football pass to Welton who made a great catch at the other end of the floor where he called a timeout with 2.6 left. Head coach John Dunne drew up an excellent play in the huddle that led to Wyche getting free under basket where he made the catch under the rim and drew a foul on a layup attempt with 0.9 left. With a title on the line, Wyche hit the front end of one and one, giving Peacocks a 62-61 lead. After he missed the second free throw, Texas A&M Corpus Christi got the rebound and tossed up a full court heave but missed, sealing the championship for the Peacocks and capping off the historic season.
The Peacocks closed out the season winning 11 out of their last 12 games and finished the season with a 23-13 overall record, which is tied for the second most in a single season by a Peacock team. Saint Peter's becomes the second MAAC team ever to win a national postseason tournament and the first team from New Jersey to win a national postseason tournament title since Princeton in the 1975 NIT. Joining Welton on the All-Tournament team was senior classmate Wyche.
Ehab Amin, Texas A&M Corpus Christi
Chris Clemons, Campbell
Rashawn Thomas, Texas A&M Corpus Christi
Quadir Welton, Saint Peter's - MVP
Trevis Wyche, Saint Peter's