Desi Washington's 34 points, including game-winning three-pointer in overtime, were big part of Saint Peter's ending 17-game losing streak to in-state rival Seton Hall. (Photo courtesy of Big Apple Buckets)
It is once again time for college basketball as a whole to recognize the job John Dunne has done as he navigates his eighth season at the helm of Saint Peter's University, as one would be hard-pressed to find many other coaches capable of doing more with less consistently.
Dunne's coaching, coupled with a career-high 34 points from Desi Washington and 25 from Marvin Dominique, helped the Peacocks (3-6) break a 17-game losing streak to Seton Hall (7-4) this afternoon, defeating the Pirates in overtime by the final of 83-80 on Washington's game-winning three-pointer with three seconds left in the extra session.
"He's a really good shot maker when he's not sped up and is playing at a good pace," Dunne said of his junior shooting guard, who made seven threes on a day where he shot 10-of-17 from the field.
After a first half that ended with the two teams deadlocked at 26, Saint Peter's started to take advantage of a Seton Hall front line that was plagued by early foul trouble for Eugene Teague after losing Aaron Geramipoor with a sprained ankle. Seton Hall led 57-55 with just over seven minutes to play in regulation, but a 9-2 Peacock run gave Saint Peter's a 64-59 lead with just over a minute remaining.
A three-point play by Sterling Gibbs cut the deficit to two, but on the ensuing possession, Seton Hall's point guard came down hard on his right leg and did not return. Gibbs will be further evaluated tomorrow, but head coach Kevin Willard glumly stated his injury "doesn't look good" when asked about it after the game.
Trailing 68-65 after two free throws from Washington with one second remaining in regulation, the Pirates sent it to overtime on a buzzer-beating three from Brian Oliver, who posted 26 points and 10 rebounds in the losing effort. Seton Hall managed to trade baskets with Saint Peter's for most of the overtime period, but a three from Washington gave the Peacocks a 78-75 lead with 42 seconds to play.
Alternating free throws by Oliver and Dominique made it an 80-77 game before Oliver's fifth three-pointer of the day tied the game at 80 with 13 seconds to go. Washington calmly answered with his own trifecta on the next possession, putting the Peacocks ahead as Jaren Sina's desperation heave at the buzzer narrowly rimmed out in what was essentially a microcosm of what could be another long year in South Orange.
"Way in the back of your mind, you think 'here we go again,' Dunne said after Oliver's three at the end of regulation sent the game to overtime. "Our team had a great mentality. We just never dropped our heads."
Saint Peter's returns to action one week from tomorrow to face Hartford, while Seton Hall is left to pick up the pieces when Eastern Washington comes to the Prudential Center next week.