JERSEY CITY, NJ – The Saint Peter's men's basketball team fell to the Iona Gaels for the second time this season, dropping the home contest 86-77 on Saturday afternoon in the Yanitelli Center. The game wrapped up the Peacocks four-game home stand in which the team split the contests to finish with a 2-2 record.
For the third time this season, and in his career, Samuel Idowu (Brooklyn, NY/Lafayette Educational Complex) recorded a double-double for Saint Peter's (10-15, 4-10 MAAC), scoring 14 points and grabbing a team-best 11 rebounds. Davauhnte Turner (Simsboro, LA/Independence CC/Gambling HS) continued his hot shooting, scoring a Peacock-high 21 points and Nick Griffin (Rockville, MD/George Washington/Col. Zadok Magruder) also posted double figures, adding 14 points to the team total.
Iona (16-10, 10-4 MAAC) had four players score over 15 points, led by Roland Griffin's 22 points off the bench. E.J. Crawford tallied 18 points, while Schadrac Casimir and Zach Lewis scored 15 points each, with all 15 of Lewis' points coming in the second half.
"We didn't win today, but it wasn't from a lack of effort; I thought the guys competed really hard," said head coach John Dunne. "We fell short and gave Iona too many rhythm threes and slap backboard layups, and we've built our foundation on not allowing those things. I am disappointed in some of the mental defensive lapses that we had. Iona is a team that, if you make mistakes on the defensive end, they make you pay. I thought we did good things on the offensive end. I think we're still improving on offense. Clearly we missed some shots and had some timely turnovers that hurt us, but our guys were out there fighting and I am proud of the effort that we gave. If we can continue with the effort and tighten up a little defensively, there is no reason why we can't get some wins down the stretch and feel good going into the conference tournament."
The Peacocks used made baskets on the first three possessions to get out to an early 7-2 lead, but a 12-2 run by Iona put the Peacocks down 14-9 by the second media break of the half. Saint Peter's pulled to within two-points but another 14-point spurt by Iona put the Peacocks down 28-19 with a little under five and a half left in the half. Over the next three minutes, the Peacocks outscored Iona 8-0, getting made field goals by Quinn Taylor (Amarillo, TX/Tascosa), back-to-back jumpers from Turner, and a put back by Idowu, cutting the deficit to 28-27. The lead never changed hands as the Peacocks trailed Iona 31-29 at the break.
Iona increased its lead to as many as 11 points, up 49-38 over the Peacocks four minutes into the second half. The Peacocks quietly snuck back into the contest, outscoring the Gaels 13-4 with all 13 points coming from the backcourt. During the run, Turner and Elijah Gonzales (Portland, OR/Clackamas) each scored four points on a combination of layups and floaters in the paint, while Griffin knocked down a 3-pointer and Taylor made a layup which cut the deficit to 53-51 midway through the the second half. Again, the Peacocks were unsuccessful in the attempt to regain the lead as Iona used a 13-4 run in response to go back up by 11 points (66-55). The Peacocks continued to play from behind, getting within seven points four times but ultimately falling 86-77.
The Peacocks will be away from Jersey City for the next three contests to close out the 2017-18 regular season before returning home for the regular season finale. The three-game road stretch begins on Tuesday, February 13 with a meeting against hOURglass Rival Monmouth at 7 p.m. on ESPN3.