Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Saint Peter's gets strong defensive effort to outlast St. Francis

Quadir Welton exploited St. Francis Brooklyn for 17 points and eight rebounds in Saint Peter's 56-45 win. (Photo courtesy of Saint Peter's University Athletics)

JERSEY CITY, NJ -- It may not be the most glamorous of victories, but a win remains a win.

Saint Peter's proved that on Wednesday at the Yanitelli Center, as the Peacocks (4-6) allowed a season low point total against St. Francis Brooklyn, defeating the Terriers (4-8) in a 56-45 affair that, at times, more closely resembled a rock fight than a basketball game.

"We kept telling our guys to stay strong," John Dunne said of his Peacocks, who withstood several runs on the part of the visitors to remain within earshot. "We just stayed together and we stayed tough. We were very unselfish, (and) I thought we played pretty good defense."

Defense was the order of the day for Saint Peter's, as it has usually been over the years. The Peacocks forced 21 turnovers and rendered St. Francis into just a 4-for-22 effort from three-point range on that side of the ball, while Quadir Welton picked up the offensive slack with 17 points and eight rebounds.

The Peacocks played catchup for the majority of the opening stanza, as St. Francis dictated the tempo for the most part despite being afflicted by foul trouble. A Cameron Jones three-pointer with just over four minutes remaining in the first half gave Saint Peter's a brief advantage, but the Terriers quickly responded to tie the score at 20 before the Peacocks reeled off nine unanswered points in the final 3:40 prior to halftime, going into the locker room with a 29-20 cushion.

After both teams traded blows over the first several minutes following the intermission, St. Francis' 11-0 run in the wake of a technical foul assessed to head coach Glenn Braica tied the proceedings at 38 with 8:09 to play in regulation. The Peacocks answered back with ten straight points of their own to regain a double-digit lead, and held the Terriers without a field goal for nearly six minutes in the process, in essence sealing their third home victory of the season. But in the visiting locker room, however, there was a clear recognition of what needs improvement.

"We've got to score better," Braica matter-of-factly stated. "We can't turn the ball over 21 times and we can't shoot 50 percent from the foul line. We just can't do those things. I feel like we're all over the place, like we play good sometimes and we don't sometimes. We've got to be much more consistent, much more mentally tough."

"You've got to bring your own energy and your own toughness," Dunne said of Saint Peter's two decisive runs, which arguably decided the game. "It defined that we're growing. When we got to the point where it was a seven-point game, that's when they were starting to make another run, and at that point, you've just got to rely on your guys to make some plays, and I thought they did."

1 comment:

  1. Coach Braica said it all: there's no consistency. Considering that St. Francis returned 7 guys who played a lot of minutes in last year's NIT season, it's a bit puzzling. An obvious factor so far this season has been the inability of their "bigs" to avoid early fouls. Fall, Hooper and Jenifer have all had plenty of time on the bench due to early foul trouble. Considering that their physical play really has not changed much from last year, the refs just seem to be calling the games more closely this year than last and it's hurting them badly. That's put pressure on their outside shooters who have not been able to score enough points. Even when the Terriers get fouled, they can't consistently hit the free throws. Here's hoping the Terriers can find a way out of this.

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