Photo courtesy of Juanderfulpics.com
By David Cordova
After starting a couple of conference games in December, teams in the MAAC are back in full effect and ready to be back in action. One matchup that brings a lot of interest is two programs that hail from the Garden State.
St. Peter’s (6-7, 2-1) in conference play went up against a program that has been known as America’s most beloved program, Monmouth (10-5, 2-2). A new season has started and the previous games mean very little. Tonight’s game was the true test that will show what to expect for the rest of the conference season. However, a lesson was learned on this night. Free-throw shooting is essential to the game, especially if a team plans on winning.
St. Peter’s 71, Monmouth 61
Early on in the game, St. Peter’s could not make any shots, and Monmouth capitalized, running off to a 7-0 lead, until Peacocks senior guard Chazz Patterson hit a three with 16:17 to go in the half to cut the deficit to 7-3.
The Peacocks would step up their play due to two three-pointers by sophomore forward Samuel Idowu and a layup by sophomore guard Antwone Portley, which would bring them up 13-11, with less than 12 minutes to go in the half.
The three-point shot was the Peacocks friend in the first half, as they shot over 50% and capitalized from the corner, while the Hawks shot 16.7%. One of the biggest events of the first half was when St. Peter’s senior guard Cavon Baker hit a 30-foot shot as time was about to expire to give the Peacocks a ten-point lead, 22-12, with 8:08 to go.
Monmouth would get back into it after not making a basket for a period of four minutes, but then Micah Seaborn hit two consecutive jumpers to cut the deficit to 22-17. But the Peacocks would go into halftime leading by eight, 27-19.
The Hawks started off the second half aggressively with baskets by Seaborn and junior Austin Tilghman, to cut the deficit to three, 27-24 with 18:59 left. Then the Peacocks got back to where they left off by taking control of the game and raising their lead to eight, 35-27 with 15:08 left.
Every time St. Peter’s tried hard to hold down the lead, Monmouth always threatened, and only led by at least three or four points. But the Peacocks, after hitting mainly free throws, raised their lead to ten, 49-39, with 7:40 to go. Moments later, Hawks senior guard Justin Robinson would cut the deficit down to seven, 54-47, with 5:10 to go.
St. Peter’s would take advantage of Monmouth’s mistakes by making more free throws and making plays in the post, raising their lead by fifteen, 63-48, with 2:47 to go in the game. The Hawks would make a furious comeback, as they made it to within six, 65-59, after a three-pointer by Seaborn with 1:09 left. But the Peacocks, with their perfect free throw shooting from the line, would hold on for the victory.
Wyche led St. Peter’s with 20 points and eight assists and Welton added 11 points and eight rebounds. For Monmouth, Seaborn led with 19 points and five rebounds and Robinson added 11 points and eight rebounds in the loss.