Niagara snaps Saint Peter’s win streak

Courtesy of SaintPetersPeacocks.com

JERSEY CITY, NJ – Saint Peter’s men’s basketball senior forward Quadir Welton (Philadelphia, PA/Math, Civics and Science Charter) scored his 1,000th career point and scored a team-high, 14 points in a 57-55 setback to Niagara University on Saturday afternoon in Jersey City. The loss snapped the Peacocks four-game winning streak and dropped the Peacocks to 6-3 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) play, and 10-9 overall.

“Clearly we are disappointed to lose a home game in the league,” said head coach John Dunne. “We feel that we are capable of winning all of our home games this year. We certainly have enough talent and enough hard playing guys. We didn’t make enough shots to win. Really that’s what it comes down to.

In the early goings, the Peacocks got on the board and took a 6-3 lead on back-to-back threes by Nick Griffin (Rockville, MD/Col. Zadok Magruder (George Washington)), and Nnamdi Enechionyia (Springfield, VA/St. James School (Samford)). The Purple Eagles took their first lead of the day after Matt Scott hit a three, giving Niagara a 9-8 lead with 15:22 on the clock. Niagara extended the lead to 14-8, before the Peacocks scored the next five points, getting within one at 14-13 (12:04). The Purple Eagles answered with a 7-0 run, extending its lead to 21-14 by the second media break. During the Niagara run, the Peacocks went on a three-minute scoring drought, which ended when Chazz Patterson (Browns Mills, NJ/Trenton Catholic) hit a trey to end the field goal drought. After the Peacocks fell behind by seven points, 26-19, Patterson knocked down another three, pulling the squad to within four. Patterson added two made free throws, to cut the deficit to two points, then Trevis Wyche (Neptune, NJ/Saint Peter’s Prep) connected on a layup and Antwon Portley (Lancaster, TX/Lancaster) hit a baseline jumper to give the Peacocks their first lead since 8-6 at 28-27. With just over 30 seconds left in the half, Patterson drained his third three from the near corner, giving the Peacocks a 33-29 halftime advantage.

Welton opened the half with back-to-back layups, forcing Niagara into a quick timeout, with the Peacocks leading 37-30. Welton continued his second half tear, completing a three point play after making a layup wile being fouled, giving Saint Peter’s its largest lead of the night at 10 points with the 40-30 advantage. The score would reach 45-35 with 13:55 on the clock after both teams exchanged a three-point basket and a layup. Over the next six minutes, Niagara went on a 9-0, and 12-2 run tying the game at 47-47.

With the clock reading 6:56, Welton knocked in the first of two free throws for his 12th point of the game and 1,000th point of his career. The game would tie up again at 47-47 and 51-51 with 4:24 remaining. Welton hit the front end of two free throws to take a 52-51 lead with 2:09, and Portly hit a huge three from the corner, giving the Peacocks a 55-51 lead with 1:22 left. A questionable shooting foul, that resulted in a Niagara three-point play, cut the Peacock lead to 55-54 with just over 1 minute remaining and in the next possession, Niagara’s Chris Barton hit the go-ahead layup with 24 seconds left, giving Niagara the 56-55 lead. Out of a Peacock timeout with 12 seconds left, Portley missed a three from just left of the top of the key, resulting in a Niagara rebound and forced foul by the Peacocks. Niagara missed on the one-and-one free throw, but an offensive rebound sealed the fate for the Peacocks as they dropped the contest 57-55, snapping the four-game winning streak.

“These guys played their hearts out, you know, we didn’t play perfect basketball, but we certainly played pretty hard,” added Dunne. “I’m really proud of their effort. In this league, it is such a grind in the second semester that you can’t feel too sorry for yourself and we just have to dust this off, learn from it, and we have another one here in 52 hours against Rider.”

Welton’s grabbed a game-best nine rebounds and dished out four assists to go along with his team-best 14 points. Patterson matched his season best of three made three-point field goals and finished his day with 11 points, four rebounds, and three steals. Portley was the third Peacocks in double figures with 10 points.

Matt Scott scored a game-high, 15 points for Niagara and Marvin Prochet added 13 points, while Chris Barton scored 11 points for the Purple Eagles.

The Peacocks close out their three-game home stretch against Rider on Monday night at 7p.m. That game will be game five of the six games in 12 days, and seven games in 15 days period.

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