JERSEY CITY, NJ – The Saint Peter's men's basketball team dominated Quinnipiac University on Sunday afternoon with an 84-58 blowout win over the Bobcats. The 26-point win for the Peacocks (8-7, 2-2 MAAC) was the largest margin of victory of the season and it improved the team's home record to 5-0. The 5-0 start at the Yanitelli Center is the best home start for the program since the 1986-87 season, when Saint Peter's began the season 6-0 in Jersey City.
Graduate guard Nick Griffin (Rockville, MD/George Washington/Col. Zadok Magruder) led all-scorers with a game-high 22 points. In his third consecutive start of the season, freshman guard Elijah Gonzales (Portland, OR/Clackamas) poured in 15 points and dished out a career-high nine assists. Graduate forward Nnamdi Enechionyia's (Springfield, VA/Samford/St. James School) matched Gonzales with 15 points and Samuel Idowu (Brooklyn, NY/Lafayette Educational Complex) chipped in with 10 points and a team-best two blocked shots on day.
Quinnipiac (5-11, 2-2 MAAC) was led offensively by senior guard Cameron Young's 18 points while Chase Daniels added 16 points for the Bobcats off the bench.
"I'm really proud of the performance today; it was a nice bounce back win," said head coach John Dunne. "After giving away the lead at Iona, you are kind of worried about the team's mental state coming into today, but yesterday was one of our best bounce back days. I felt pretty good coming into today about playing against [Quinnipiac's] man-to-man and I was a little concerned about what we would do against their pressure but we were outstanding. We found guys on target and Nick [Griffin] knocked down a couple of big threes and I thought defensively we had good energy."
Saint Peter's made baskets on its first three possessions of the afternoon, jumping out to a 7-3 lead over Quinnipiac. The Peacocks extended the early lead to 13-6 after back-to-back three-pointers by Enechionyia and Griffin, forcing the Bobcats to call a timeout. The lead jumped to double digits following a steal, made layup and completed three-point play by Gonzales, pushing the advantage to 16-6. The Peacocks continued their hot shooting, putting together a 10-2 run that grew the advantage to 26-8 with baskets from Mamadou Ndiaye (Laurel, MD/Oakland Mills). Julian Powell (Baytown, TX/Lee College/Goose Creek Memorial), Griffin, and Idowu. Quinnipiac cut Saint Peter's lead to 26-15 over the next two minutes but a quick 8-0 run by the Peacocks led by Gonzales scoring on a layup and a three in transition put the Peacocks right back up by 19 points with a 34-15 lead. Over the final five minutes of the half, Griffin scored five of the Peacock's nine points, leading to a 43-28 halftime lead. The Peacocks shot 16-26 (61.5%) from the field and 6-13 (46.2%) from behind the arc in the half, while holding the Bobcats under 30 percent from both the field and from three and forcing them into six turnovers.
The stifling defense continued right into the second half as the Peacocks forced steals in two of the first three Quinnipiac possessions, resulting in Saint Peter's going up by 20-points with a 50-30 lead. Quinnipiac was able to get to within 17 multiple times, but baskets by Davauhnte Turner (Simsboro, LA/Independence CC/Gambling HS), Griffin and Cameron Jones (Fairless Hills, PA/Pennsbury) extended the lead back to over 20 points, leading 60-38. The Saint Peter's lead reached its largest point of the day following the under 12-minute media break when Gonzales and Griffin drained consecutive trifectas, extending the thrashing to 71-45, with 8:58 to go. Through the final eight minutes of action, the Peacocks maintained the 20-point advantage, seeing the lead fall under the 20-point threshold just once more before an 84-58 final score.
On the day, Saint Peter's dominated all facets of the game leading for 38:33 and only trailing one time, at 3-2 after the first two possessions of the game. Offensively, the Peacocks produced season-highs in made field goals (32), field goal percentage (61.5%), made three-pointers (12), three-point field goal percentage (57.1%), assists (22) and the team produced their second highest scoring output of the season (scored 86 points against Lafayette). Defensively, the Peacocks tied for most forced steals (also recorded 10 steals against Northwestern). Defensively, Saint Peter's held Quinnipiac to 29.1 percent shooting from the field and 26.5 percent shooting from three. The Peacocks also outrebounded the Bobcats (33-31), scored more points in the paint (32-14), points off of turnovers (19-6), and fast break points (8-0).
Over the course of the 5-0 home start, Saint Peter's has outscored opponents by 68 points and a scoring margin of 13.6 points. Peacock opponents are shooting under 37 percent from the field and exactly 28 percent from behind the three-point arc at the Yanitelli Center over the course of the five games.
The Peacocks return to the road for the annual Western New York MAAC trip to Buffalo to take on Canisius and Niagara. Saint Peter's will tip against Canisius on Friday, January 12 at 7 p.m. with the game airing live on ESPN3. Then the squad will conclude the trip on Sunday, January 14 with a 2 p.m. tip against Niagara.