By David Cordova
For St. Peter’s, everything was all good just a week ago, as they were tied for second place with Iona. Since their overtime loss to the Gaels on January 29th in New Rochelle, the Peacocks had been on a two-game losing streak prior to last night’s game. They lost another heartbreaker on Friday night in West Long Branch, to Monmouth in another overtime game by one, 71-70, which dropped them to 8-5 in conference play, and 12-11 overall.
This game against Canisius, who was 14-10 overall and 7-6 prior to this game, would be no cakewalk, as both teams would fight to the finish, which would be decided by the fate of one basket by one-tenth of a second.
Canisius 72, St. Peter’s 70
The beginning of the game started out with Canisius attacking early and then leading 7-2, with 16:49 after a three-pointer from junior guard Kassius Robertson. However, the post play of St. Peter’s Mamadou N’Diaye in the low post helped keep the Peacocks within one, 10-9, with 14:30 remaining, and then captured the lead for them at 11-10, with 13:05 remaining.
As the half went on, the Peacocks then had their groove, leading by seven, 21-14, with 9:07 to go after a layup by Samuel Idowu. What helped the Peacocks in the first half was their defense against the Golden Griffins and also their strong play in the post, as well as their outside shooting. But Canisius would always make attempts to cut down their lead.
With more than three minutes left in the half, St. Peter’s would lead by nine, 32-23. But then the Golden Griffins would awaken and would tie the score at 32-32, with 40.5 seconds to go after a three-pointer by Robertson. But then Cavon Baker would ignite the Peacocks with a putback dunk, with 17 seconds left to give St. Peter’s a 34-32 lead, which would be the score at halftime. Throughout the first half, the Peacocks would capitalize by shooting 51.9% from the field, while the Golden Griffins would only shoot 38.9%.
The second half would start off just as the first ended as St. Peter’s started out with a five-point lead, 40-35, with 17:11 remaining, after a three-pointer by Nnamdi Enechionyia. But once again, Canisius would take advantage after consecutive baskets by Kiefer Douse and Malik Johnson, respectively, that would tie the score, 42-42, with 14:14 to go.
The Golden Griffins would then take advantage of the Peacocks’ mistakes by taking a four-point lead, 48-44, on a three-pointer by Robertson with 12:26 to go. But St. Peter’s would tie the score at 48-48, with 11:01 to go on a jumper by Trevis Wyche, and would then parlay that into a seven-point lead, 55-48, with 8:41 left after a jumper by Antwon Portley.
Canisius would then hit back with a 10-2 run, which resulted in them taking over the lead at 58-57, with 5:36 left after a three-pointer by Douse. From then on, it would be the a battle of the baskets between both teams within the last five minutes of the game, as possessions were not to be taken lightly.
The Golden Griffins would have a three-point lead, 68-65, with 36 seconds left after a layup by Phil Valenti. But the Peacocks would then cut the deficit to one, 68-67, with 25 seconds left after a basket by Wyche. Johnson would make two free throws with eight seconds take the lead, 70-67, in favor of the Golden Griffins. But then Wyche would be fouled with 5.5 seconds left and then would make three free throws to tie the game at 70-70. But with just 0.01 seconds left, Johnson would make a layup that would end up being the game winner for the Golden Griffins.
Douse would lead Canisius with 22 points, Robertson contributed 15 points and Johnson who would hit the game-winner would end up with 11 points and seven assists. For St. Peter’s, Wyche led with 17 points and five assists and both Griffin and Idowu would add 11 points in the loss.