ALBANY, NY - Nick Griffin (Rockville, MD/George Washington/Col. Zadok Magruder) saved the Saint Peter's men's basketball season with three-straight 3-pointers with under 1:30 left, leading to a 60-58 comeback victory over hOURglass Rival, Monmouth, on Thursday night in the 2018 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championship first round.
All eight players to see action for Saint Peter's (13-17) scored at least two points. Griffin led all-scorers with 20 points, while Samuel Idowu (Brooklyn, NY/Lafayette Educational Complex) added 15 points and snagged eight rebounds to assist in the win. Davauhnte Turner (Simsboro, LA/Independence Community College/Grambling) hit two treys for a total of eight points and Quinn Taylor (Amarillo, TX/Tascosa) scored seven points for the Peacocks.
The Peacocks trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half and by double-figures with as late as six minutes left in the game. Griffin outscored Monmouth 9-2 with 1:28 remaining, going a perfect 3 for 3 from behind the arc at the top of the key. As a team, the Peacocks used a 20-7 run over the final 5:29 after scoring just 40 points for the first 14:31 of the game. During the 20-7 run, Griffin scored 12 of his game-high 20 points, tallying all 12 points from four made 3-pointers. Idowu also hit a 3-point shot and Taylor scored four of the team's points.
Saint Peter's defense was the real hero in the win, completely shutting down Monmouth in the second half, holding the Hawks to .333 shooting from the field (9-27) and .143 from three (1-7). The Peacocks held Monmouth without a field goal for four minutes late in the second half, cutting the deficit to six points.
With 1:55 left and Monmouth leading the Peacocks 56-51, Griffin connected on the first 3-pointer with 1:26 on the clock, putting the Peacocks down 56-54. After calling their final timeout, Griffin blocked a Monmouth jumper attempt, recovered the defensive rebound, and drained the go-ahead 3-pointer on the offensive end to put the Peacocks up for the first time of the night, 57-56 with 1:05 to play. Monmouth failed to score but Saint Peter's turned the ball over on their next possession with just 21.3 seconds remaining, giving Monmouth an opportunity to retake the lead, which the Hawks did. Trailing 58-57 with 14 ticks left, the Peacocks pushed the ball up the court and again, Griffin got the same look from the top of the key, hitting the game-winner with under five seconds left. Monmouth attempted a 3-pointer at the buzzer that didn't come close to the rim and the Peacocks secured the comeback victory.
The victory was career win number 152 for head coach John Dunne, placing him alone at second all-time in the Peacock record book.
With the win, the Peacocks advance to Friday night's quarterfinal round and will be meeting with the third member of the hOURglass rivalry, No. 1 Rider at 7 p.m. This is the fifth straight season that the Peacocks will be playing in the quarterfinals.