Men's Basketball

No. 9 Men’s Basketball Set to Clash with No. 4 Iona in MAAC Semifinals

Courtesy: Stockton Photo
Courtesy: Stockton Photo

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Thursday, March 1 – Monday, March 5

Times Union Center - Albany, NY

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Game Notes




PxP – Jason Binetti, Color – Rob Kennedy


Saint Peter's (14-17, 6-12) vs Iona (18-13, 11-7)

Sunday, March 4 – 7:00 p.m.


Two nights after making history in the 2018 MAAC Basketball Championship at the Times Union Center (TUC) in Albany, NY on Friday, the No. 9 Saint Peter's men's basketball team will take on No. 4 Iona, on Sunday night at 7:00 p.m., in the semifinals round. The Peacocks are playing in the semifinals for the second straight season and third time in the past four years.


The Peacocks are now on a four-game win streak, their first of the season, and have held each opponent under 60 points during that span. Sunday's meeting in the semifinals round between Saint Peter's and Iona will be the 10th all-time meeting in the MAAC Tournament between the two, with Iona leading 3-6. The two teams met last season in the same round, with No. 2 Saint Peter's falling to No. 3 Iona, 73-65.



Sunday's semifinals meeting between the Peacocks and Gaels will be the 119th meeting between the schools since 1946-47. The Peacocks trail the Gaels 50-68 all-time and have dropped seven straight to Iona. The Peacocks last defeated Iona in the season finale of the 2015 season on March 1, in a 68-60 victory.



The Peacocks were swept by Iona during the regular season series. In the first meeting, the Peacocks squandered two double-digit leads in the game, including a 10-point lead with under five minutes remaining, resulting in a tough 73-69 defeat. In the second matchup, the Peacocks fell 86-77.



No. 4 Iona Gaels hold an 18-13 record on the season. The two-time defending MAAC champions are playing in their eighth consecutive semifinals dating back to the 2011 MAAC Championship. The Gaels lost four out of their final six games of the regular season before their quarterfinal win over Manhattan.



On Friday night, when No. 9 Saint Peter's defeated No. 1 Rider, the Peacocks made history in the MAAC Championship, becoming the first No. 9 seed in MAAC history to reach the semifinal round and the first ever No. 9 seed to knock off a No. 1 seed in the MAAC tournament.



Saint Peter's entered the MAAC Championship as the No. 9 seed for the fourth time, with the team holding a 2-3 record in the slot. The Peacocks are 34-34 all-time in the tournament, winning titles in 1991, 1995, and 2011. The Peacocks' seven championship title game appearances are the fifth most among all current and former MAAC members, and the three titles are tied for fourth most amongst current MAAC members. With the Championships in Albany at the TUC, the Peacocks overall record is 16-16, with the team winning two of their three MAAC titles there (1991 and 1995).



The Peacocks have won four straight contests, dating back to February 23. Saint Peter's defense has been stout over the stretch, as the Peacocks have held all four opponents under 60 points. Every opponent during the four-game stretch has shot under 50 percent from the field and less than 33 percent from behind the arc.



No. 9 Saint Peter's defeated No. 1 Rider 66-55 in the quarterfinal round game, earning the fourth win in a row for Saint Peter's and sending the Peacocks into the semifinals for the second straight season and third in the past four years.



With a win, the Peacocks will advance to the MAAC title game. The championship game is set for Monday, March 5 at 7 p.m. on ESPN.



After finishing fourth in the country in scoring defense last season, John Dunne's squad is back among the nation's best in the category this year. The Peacocks are again at the forefront of the MAAC defensively, as Dunne's teams have been for the past four seasons, dating back to 2013-14. Again, Saint Peter's finished the regular season as the top team in conference in scoring defense and field goal percentage defense.



Samuel Idowu ranks in scoring (24th), in rebounding (14th), field goal percentage (12th), free throw percentage (7th), in blocked shots (third), and in defensive rebounding (12th). Nick Griffin ranks in scoring (16th), and three-point field goals made (ninth). Taylor ranks in rebounding (14th), and free throw percentage (13th). Elijah Gonzales ranks in assists (11th), in steals (sixth), and assists to turnover ratio (seventh). Davauhnte Turner ranks in scoring (26th).



Head coach John Dunne won his 152nd career game on March 1 against Monmouth, moving him into second place on the Saint Peter's men's basketball all-time wins' list, trailing only Don Kennedy (323).



The Peacocks defense held Quinnipiac to 43 points (February 23) and Siena to 48 points (February 25) in back-to-back games to close out the season. This was the first time the Peacocks held two-straight opponents under 50 points since 2009-10, when that Peacock team held Marist to 39 points and Iona to 49 points in consecutive games.



After Saint Peter's nine-point win over the Bobcats (February 23) and 26-point win over Quinnipiac (January 7), the Peacocks have combined to outscore the Bobcats by 70 points in the last four meetings dating back to last season's series, the highest scoring margin of any Saint Peter's opponent over the time span. The Bobcats are the only MAAC team that the Peacocks have swept the past two seasons and Quinnipiac has also been on the losing end of the Peacocks' largest margin of victory both last season (31 points) and this season (26 points).



When the top defense in the MAAC met the top offense in the MAAC, the defense of the Peacocks prevailed as Saint Peter's shut down Niagara in a 58-52 win (February 2). The Peacocks held the Purple Eagles to their lowest field percentage (.271), lowest point total in a half (18 points) in the first half, lowest game point total (52), and second lowest 3-point field goal percentage (.179) and assists total (6) of the season. The Niagara tandem of Kahlil Dukes and Matt Scott, who entered the game ranked second and third on the MAAC scoring chart respectively, combined scoring average was 41.8 points per game, but they were held to a combined point total of 26 points in the game.



The Peacocks have played in two multi-overtime games this season, having gone into double-overtime at Elon (December 2) and triple-overtime at Siena (January 29). For the fourth time ever, the Peacocks played in a triple-overtime game and for just the third time in the programs history, Saint Peter's played in multiple, multi-overtime games in one season. The Peacocks previously played in three triple-overtime games in 1965-66, 1987-88, and 1990-91, only coming out victorious against Loyola in 1990-91. During the latter seasons of 87-88 and 90-91, the Peacocks also played in more than one multi-overtime games, having played in two double-overtime games in 87-88 and having played in one double-overtime contest in 90-91 in addition to the triple-overtime games.



By the halfway point of the conference season, the Peacocks were 2-7, but the team's record did not tell the full story. The Peacocks held a two or more-point possession lead in eight out of the nine games, double-digit leads in five out of the nine contests, and led at the half in four out of the nine MAAC games. During the five game losing-streak to end the first half of the MAAC schedule, the Peacocks led at the half and by double-figures in three of the five games.



Davauhnte Turner surpassed his career-high scoring marks in consecutive games, scoring 22 points at Niagara (January 14) and scoring 34 points against Rider (January 18). In the two games, Turner shot over 55 percent from the field (19-34) and from 3-point (9-16), while also going a perfect 100 percent (9-9) from the charity stripe. He also became the first Peacock of the season to knock in six 3-pointers, which he did verses Rider.



Freshman guard, Elijah Gonzales played the best game of his collegiate career in the MAAC opener at Fairfield (December 28), leading Saint Peter's in four statistical categories and setting new career-marks in three. Gonzales led the Peacocks in scoring with a career-high 16 points, in steals with a career-best four thefts, and in assists handing out three dimes, while also tying his career-best rebounding mark of three in the game.



Saint Peter's men's basketball posted a perfect 3-0 non-conference record at the Yanitelli Center for the first time ever under head coach John Dunne and for the first time since the 2005-06 season, which also witnessed a 3-0 home record in non-conference action.



The Peacocks recorded a perfect 4-0 record against the Northeast Conference (NEC) during non-conference play, earning wins over Sacred Heart (November 18), Fairleigh Dickinson (November 29), LIU Brooklyn (December 17), and St. Francis Brooklyn (December 23).



The Peacocks road win over LIU Brooklyn (December 17) ended a seven-game losing streak for the road team in the series between both programs after the home team had been victorious in every meeting since 2006-07. 



Quinn Taylor put together a three-game stretch, where he recorded double-figure rebounds in all three games. He snagged 14 at Lafayette (November 26), against FDU he picked up 10 (November 29), and at Elon he grabbed 12 (December 2).



The Peacock's 24-point home opening blowout win over Fairleigh Dickinson was tied for the largest home opening win margin by a John Dunne team, tying the 2009-10 team which defeated, then NEC member Monmouth, 58-34, in the Yanitelli Center.



Nick Griffin poured in a career-high, 37 points at Lafayette (November 26). Griffin's 37 points were the most in a game by a Peacock player since Hall of Famer, Keydren "Kee Kee" Clark, scored 43 points against Canisius on February 24, 2006. He became the first men's basketball player from Saint Peter's to score over 30 points in a game since Antwon Portley tallied 30 points against Brown on November 13, 2015 and he was the first Peacock to surpass the 30-point threshold on the road since Desi Washington dropped 34 at Seton Hall on December 14, 2013.



Quinn Taylor recorded the first double-double of his career and the first of the season for Saint Peter's with his 12 points and his 14 rebounds at Lafayette (November, 26). Mamadou Ndiaye registered his first career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds at LIU Brooklyn (December 17).



Nick Griffin was named to the All-Tournament team at the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament in Uncasville, CT. Griffin averaged a team-best, 14.5 points per game in the four contests and combined for a team-high of 31 points in the two games at Mohegan Sun Arena.



The starting backcourt duo of Nick Griffin and Davauhnte Turner combined to score 41 points, as both players set career marks in the Peacocks win over Sacred Heart. Griffin scored a then career-high, 23 points and Turner scored a then career-best, 18 points in the game.



Nick Griffin (Rockville, MD/George Washington/Col. Zadok Magruder) earned a spot on the Preseason All-MAAC Third team after making his case as one of the league's top three-point threats in his first season as a Peacock in 2016-17.



The Peacocks were selected eighth by the coaches in the preseason coaches' poll, receiving 44 votes after finishing second in 2016-17 and making an appearance in the MAAC semifinal round.


Saint Peter's, put together one of the programs most historical seasons last year. The Peacocks capped off the 2016-17 season by winning the Tournament (CIT). 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 was tied for the second most wins in a single season by a Peacock team. Saint Peter's became 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. The Peacocks compiled a 14-6 MAAC record in 2016-17, winning the most conference games in program history and finishing second in the league for the first time since 1989. 



The Peacocks return two starters and five letterwinners from last year's championship team.



Graduates Nick Griffin (Rockville, MD/George Washington/Col. Zadok Magruder) and Nnamdi Enechionyia (Springfield, VA/Samford/St. James School) are the team's only returning starters from last year's squad. Griffin appeared in all 36 games for Saint Peter's last season, making 24 starts. He made his mark behind the three-point arc, knocking in 75 trifectas, the ninth most amongst MAAC shooters. Griffin hit 41.7 percent of his three-point field goal attempts, the sixth ranked percentage in the conference and he hit at least one three-point field goal in all but five games and made four or more threes seven times in 2016-17. Griffin is the Peacock's highest scoring returning player after averaging 8.8 points last year. His career game came on November 18 against Lipscomb, when he poured in 21 points and hit a career-high six shots from downtown.

Enechionyia appeared and started in all 36 Peacock games a year ago. Enchionyia averaged 4.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game during the 2016-17 campaign. His best performance came in the CIT semifinals against Furman, when he scored 18 points after connecting on four of five three-pointers.



Samuel Idowu (Brooklyn, NY/Lafayette Educational Complex), Mamadou Ndiaye (Laurel, MD/Oakland Mills), and Quinn Taylor (Amarillo, TX/Tascosa) are three returning letterwinners. Idowu is the team's rebounding returning leader and second highest returning scorer after averaging 2.8 rebounds and 5.9 points.

Ndiaye appeared in 32 games last year and averaged 1.7 points and 1.3 rebounds.

Taylor appeared in all 36 games for the Peacocks last season and averaged 2.1 points and 2.4 rebounds.



Davauhnte Turner (Simsboro, LA/Independence Community College/Grambling) and Cameron Jones (Fairless Hills, PA/Pennsbury) both suit up this season after taking redshirt seasons last year.



The Peacocks welcome six newcomers to the lineup this season. The additions include two JUCO transfers, three true freshmen, and one walk-on. Jeremiah Livingston (Stamford, CT/Odessa College/Westhill) and Julian Powell (Baytown, TX/Lee College/Goose Creek Memorial) come to Jersey City after playing two seasons at junior colleges. Manny Dixon (Lawrenceville, NJ/Notre Dame), Elijah Gonzales (Portland, OR/Clackamas), and Mikko Johnson (Brooklyn, NY/Brooklyn HS for Law and Technology) join the squad as freshmen. Dixon and Gonzales will see playing time in 2017-18, while Johnson will take a redshirt year and sit out the season. Amir Hicks (Paterson, NJ/St. Mary's) is a sophomore walk-on who is new to the team.


John Dunne enters his 12th season at the helm of the Saint Peter's University Men's Basketball team. He is coming off his most successful season at Saint Peters. Last season was an exciting one with 23 wins (second highest in school history) and culminating with the program's first ever-national post season tournament championship in the Post Season Tournament. The CIT proved to be challenging with three very difficult road victories. The Peacocks came from behind in all three road wins, including the championship game at Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

The Saint Peters Men's Basketball team also delivered the most wins in school history for a MAAC season with 14. They finished 14-6 in league play and second place overall.The Peacocks had a very impressive 18-6 record after Jan. 1st, while winning 11 of their last 12 games.  

The exciting year also brought about two All-MAAC selections in Quadir Welton (First Team) and Trevis Wyche (Second Team). The team was also rewarded with the program's first ever MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, Chazz Patterson. In addition, Welton was named as the CIT Most Valuable Player.

Over the course of the last three seasons, the Peacocks have had four wins in the MAAC Tournament including two semi-final appearances. They have had double digit wins in the MAAC in each of the last two years.

He led the 2011 squad to his first 20 win season, the 2011 MAAC Tournament title, and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. During that season, he was also named a finalist for the 2011 Skip Prosser Award.

Dunne has victories over Power Five Conference programs such as Alabama (50-49 in 2010-11), Rutgers (65-58 in 2007-08, 56-52 in 2012-13, 68-50 in 2013-14) and Seton Hall (83-80 OT in 2013-14).

Dunne was a four-year letter winner for the Ithaca men's basketball team from 1988-92. He helped the team to a 61-47 mark in his four seasons, including an 18-10 record in his junior campaign. Dunne left as the Bombers all-time leader with 168 career steals and he dished out 376 career assists to rank third upon the completion of his playing career. He also ranks on the single-season steal list, sitting in second place after recording 60 steals as a senior and tied for ninth with 52 steals in his junior year.

He earned a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Ithaca and Master's degree in Sports Management at East Stroudsburg in 1996.

A Queens, N.Y. native, he played his high school basketball for the late legendary head coach Jack Curran at Archbishop Molloy High School.

He is married to Marlene Burchfield Dunne, Ph.D., who serves as the U.S. Vice President of Assessment Services for SHL, an International Human Resources Consulting Firm. They reside in Florham Park, N.J. with their two children, Chloe and Brady.

Assistant coaches Matt Henry and Serge Clement each return to the bench for their fifth seasons under Dunne, while Dalip Bhatia rejoins Dunne's coaching staff after departing in 2013 after five seasons. Bhatia was a member of the coaching staff during the 2011 MAAC championship run.

JK Schneiderman returns for his third season as the director of basketball operations.

Matthew Johnston joins the staff in 2017-18 as the coordinator of basketball operations and video.


Fans can keep up with the latest news and excitement surrounding Saint Peter's men's basketball by following the team on Twitter.