Saint Peter’s grinds out thrilling, 76-74 home win over Houston Baptist

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JERSEY CITY, NJ – Samuel Idowu’s (Brooklyn, NY/Lafayette Educational Complex) three-point field goal with 12 seconds left, lifted the Saint Peter’s men’s basketball team to a thrilling, 76-74, home win over Houston Baptist on Wednesday night in the Yanitelli Center. The win improves the Peacock’s record to 4-4 overall and the Peacocks remain perfect at home this season.

The Peacocks struggled early, not making their first field goal until three minutes into the night. After falling behind, 6-3, Jeremiah Livingston (Stamford, CT/Odessa College/Westhill) hit a three from the far corner, tying the game and Davauhnte Turner (Simsboro, LA/Independence CC/Gambling HS) followed by hitting a go-ahead three while also getting fouled. Turner completed the four-point play, putting the Peacocks up, 10-6 with just under 12 minutes to play.

Saint Peter’s lead extended to its largest of the night, at 10 points around the eight and a half minute mark, when Nnamdi Enechionyia (Springfield, VA/Samford/St. James School) found Nick Griffin (Rockville, MD/George Washington/Col. Zadok Magruder) behind the arc, who knocked down the three, to give the Peacocks a 20-10 advantage. The Peacocks remained ahead by eight over the next three minutes, until the Huskies went on a 14-6 three-minutes stretch, knotting the contest at 30 all. Tied up again at 32-32, HBU went up by three after three made free throws with 1:38 left, but the Peacocks responded with a Griffin layup and a three-ball from Idowu, to take a 37-35, Peacock lead into the break.

The Peacocks opened the second half with four straight points, extending their lead to 41-35, but HBU scored six unanswered, tying the game with Saint Peter’s again, at 41-41. The contest would tie two more times, having the teams deadlocked at 45-45, when the Huskie regained the lead at 47-45. The Huskies’ lead didn’t even last for a full possession as the Peacocks rallied off an 8-0 run, with Quinn Taylor (Amarillo, TX/Tascosa) leading the charge by scoring six of the Peacock’s eight points during the rally, giving Saint Peter’s a 53-47 edge.

Saint Peter’s lead grew to seven points, after a transition layup by Griffin, on a dime pass from Cameron Jones (Fairless Hills, PA/Pennsbury), leading to a, 57-50, game. The game slowly got closer and closer, as HBU climbed back into the contest and finally erased the Peacocks lead to tying the game at 65-65, at 67-67, and then taking the lead over the Peacocks, 70-69.

Trailing 72-71, Griffin hit a crucial layup out of a time out, giving Saint Peter’s the lead of 73-72 with 1:10 left on the game clock. On the ensuing possession, Idowu played excellent defense, forcing HBU’s Josh Ibarra into two tough misses and Enechionyia recovered the defensive rebound with 39.3 seconds remaining, and a one-point lead. With the clock running down, Turner fed the ball to Idowu off of the pick and pop, and Idowu drained a clutch three-pointer, with 12 seconds to go, giving the Peacocks a 76-72, two possession lead, that sent the home crowd into a frenzy. HBU added a meaningless layup with 0.9 on the game clock, and the Peacocks got the inbounds in to run out the clock and earn the 76-74 victory.

The Peacocks recorded their most efficient shooting game of the season tonight, shooting season-bests in field goal percentage (50 percent), three-point field goal percentage (47.6 percent), and free throw percentage (94.1 percent). Nine out of the 10 Peacock’s that played, scored at least three points, led by team scoring leader, Griffin, who scored 20 points on the night.

Turner logged his second consecutive 14-point game and dished out a career-high six assists on the night, including the game winning assists to Idowu, who followed with 10 points and a team-high six rebounds. Taylor scored eight points and Mamadou Ndiaye (Laurel, MD/Oakland Mills) shot a perfect 3-3 from the field and 2-2 from the charity stripe for eight points on the perfect shooting night.

The Peacocks move to 2-0 at the Yanitelli Center for the first time in 10 years, having opened the 2007-08 season 2-0 at home. The team returns to the road on Tuesday, December 12, visiting in-state rival, Seton Hall at 7pm.

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