It’s been awhile since the men’s basketball team has been home and, after Saturday afternoon, it seems like that was exactly what they needed -- to be home.
The Peacocks forced their third overtime home game against the Maine Black Bears, snatching the 63-59 victory at the Yanitelli Center. With the win, the squad was able to catch a breath after coming off of a five-game losing streak.
“I’ll take overtime -- a win is a win to me. Overtime, double-overtime, I don’t really care,” said Head Coach Shaheen Holloway. “It’s been a tough November.”
As most of SPU’s home games have gone this season, it was anyone’s game in the beginning. The Peacocks and Black Bears went head-to-head, constantly fighting over the lead during the first half.
Just as Maine caught up and took the advantage, redshirt junior Cameron Jones helped sparked an 8-0 run for SPU, kicking it back up to 21-14.
But the Black Bears didn’t get discouraged by the run, tying it 28-28 at halftime.
The Peacocks came into the new half with strong energy as senior forward Samuel Idowu dominated the paint, scoring eight straight points for a 41-36 lead. But the Black Bears went and tied it again at 51-51 with just a minute and a half left to play.
SPU put the gas on their pressure defense -- putting Maine in tough shot positions -- which helped them get into transition. The squad and their opponent missed their attempts to end the game at regulation, sending them into an extra five minutes.
Saint Peter’s held onto their confidence -- with the help of the large home crowd -- as they set up scoring plays for Idowu, a triple from freshman guard Dallas Watson and a jumper by freshman guard Klay Brown.
“We wanna make this the hardest place to play,” Holloway said. “I said I wanna make this a tough home court -- one of the toughest in the MAAC and toughest place to play -- and I thought for a Saturday that the fans came out tonight.”
Why It Happened
SPU finally took their full 30 seconds to develop a play.
No one on the court was selfish. The squad kept the ball moving instead of having the same player try to attack the middle, which usually led to getting trapped in the paint or making a bad pass.
Not only that, the Peacocks brought their A-game as they pressured early on, making it difficult for Maine to get an easy shot. Despite a few mismatches and allowing offensive rebounds, SPU was able to clean it up.
It seemed like everyone was able to have the spotlight on them. Between Idowu and Jones’ high scoring and Watson, Brown and senior guard Davauhnte Turner’s offensive ball movement and defense, everything came together at the end.
Once again, patience.
The biggest problem Saint Peter’s had in the previous two home games was their eagerness. They’d be so eager to score a point that they’d chuck up an unnecessary three or drive into the lane where there’s three people.
Holloway said in his last home post-game press conference that chucking up three-pointers was one of the problems the squad had -- that he was going to fix it -- and that seemed to be the case at Saturday’s battle.
Also, as long as the Peacocks continue to pressure hard and switch well on defense, it’s going to be pretty difficult for any opponent to score.
The biggest problem SPU had in this game was allowing offensive rebounds.
They didn’t allow nearly as many second chances like against Delaware, but there were a few plays where they didn’t grab the ball as they should have.
Another slight issue was on fastbreaks.
While it’s typical to fly in for a layup or dunk on fastbreaks, it wasn’t happening too much for Saint Peter’s. There was one play where Turner grabbed the rebound, bolted to the three-point line off a fastbreak -- about to attack the middle -- but he pulled back and ran a play; that was golden.
The Peacocks was only allowed a quick homestay as they travel to South Carolina for a first-ever contest against Atlantic Coast Conference member Clemson on Tuesday, Dec. 4. They’ll be back Saturday, Dec. 8 to face LIU Brooklyn.