Saint Peter's huddles after victory over Quinnipiac. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - The MAAC in February brings cold nights with your proverbial wintry mix, teams looking to move up and build momentum for the Albany get-together in March, and close, competitive ballgames.
Quinnipiac visited Saint Peter’s, at the Yanitelli Center on Monday. Both teams came in with 8-13 marks. In conference, one game separated them, with Saint Peter’s 6-6 and the visiting Bobcats at 5-7. In the end, Saint Peter’s emerged a 68-52 winner. The score was extremely deceptive. This one was close and hotly contested until the end, as it usually is in these MAAC games during the second calendar month.
First half: The early going saw a total of three ties and six lead changes in the first eight minutes. At the 12-minute mark, Saint Peter’s held a 17-13 lead. The Peacocks' Antwon Portley led all scorers at this juncture with 10 points. Saint Peter’s ran an opportunity break, showing good ball movement in their offensive sets.
Both teams were in man-to-man defense. Saint Peter’s is especially tough, and allowed three points from the 8-to-4 minute marks, enjoying a 26-19 lead when the stretch was over. Giovanni McLean of Quinnipiac buried a three with seconds left to close the half at a two-possession contest.
Score: Saint Peter’s 30, Quinnipiac 24
Offensive efficiency: Saint Peter’s 97, Quinnipiac 77
Second half: Tom Moore, the Quinnipiac mentor, had the Bobcats running some effective motion sets. A lot of their offensive success begins with McLean getting in the lane, breaking down the defense. After five possessions, the game is tied at 33. The short spurt of Quinnipiac was quickly answered by a 6-0 run by the Peacocks. Quinnipiac responded, taking a one-point lead on a Daniel Harris three-pointer.
Responding and adjusting to these ‘mini’ runs ultimately told the tale in this one. With under four minutes to go, Saint Peter’s clung to a one-point lead. At this point, both offenses were half court, not a case of coaches playing too conservative. Rather, you want to eliminate turnovers and get the best shot available. Fueled by a Chazz Patterson three-pointer, Saint Peter’s goes on a final run. This one raised the lead to a dozen with eighty seconds left, and Quinnipiac did not have an answer.
Final: Saint Peter's 68, Quinnipiac 53
Possessions: Quinnipiac 65, Saint Peter’s 63
Offensive efficiency: Quinnipiac 80, Saint Peter’s 108
eFG: Quinnipiac 33, Saint Peter’s 49
FT Rate: Quinnipiac 24, Saint Peter’s 41
O-Reb %: Quinnipiac 44, Saint Peter’s 27
Turnover rate: Quinnipiac 25, Saint Peter’s 16
What Quinnipiac did well: Compete. Inside, the Bobcats had 20 offensive rebounds, answering a number of runs and keeping things very competitive until the latter stage of ‘crunch time.’
What Saint Peter’s did well: Defend. The 80 efficiency allowed to Quinnipiac was the subtotal of limiting the visitors to 33 percent eFG shooting while forcing the Bobcats to a 25 percent turnover rate.
Quinnipiac led 20-6 in second chance points, but Saint Peter’s, though, had a 30-20 edge in points in the paint. Opportunity break, as noted earlier, saw the Peacocks seize the advantage 9-0 on fast break points.
Quadir Welton scored 10 points for the Peacocks. The junior forward added a game-high 14 rebounds for an excellent effectiveness factor of 26. Saint Peter’s is 7-6 in conference, while Quinnipiac drops to 5-8. The win snapped a five-game losing streak.
The Peacocks have five of their last seven games in the friendly confines of the Yanitelli Center, a great chance to build momentum heading to the conference tournament in Albany.