St. Peter’s picked the best time to win two in a row in MAAC play in the most unusual way.
The Peacocks needed a Desi Washington buzzer beating three-pointer to defeat Fairfield to clinch a 56-55 victory; their first in conference play and denying the Stags their first conference win. The seven-point win clinched the school’s first MAAC win streak since the 2010-11 season.
To follow that up St. Peter’s outplayed Quinnipiac at home, where lone senior on the team Chris Burke scored a season-high 18 to pace the offense in a 74-67 win.
Head coach John Dunne said that his team’s resiliency could be traced back to the team’s January 4 game against Canisius. The Peacocks fell behind as far as 30-7 in the first half and trailed 43-22 at halftime. However, St. Peter’s came out firing and cut the lead to as small as three with under five minutes left, but could not seal the deal against the Golden Griffins.
“We actually had a chance to win in the last couple minutes and we just called on that half to say, ‘hey if we can play with that intensity and togetherness, then we can have a chance to win some games this year,'” Dunne said. “We got down against Fairfield and again we came back and we were fortunate enough to actually get the victory. We have some confidence right now, we know if we come with the right energy and the right mindset, we have a chance to win every time out now.”
The eighth year head coach of the Peacocks said that he thinks his team has been a better second half team as they hit the new year. St. Peter’s expanded their lead on the Bobcats Sunday by raining three’s from Marvin Dominique, Burke and Washington to get up as large as 13.
“We have proven that we can beat teams,” Dunne said. “Now it just comes down to how consistent will we be the rest of the year.”
Fordham transfer Dominique who has led the team with 18.1 points per game this season has allowed Washington to take on a different role. The junior transfer from Delaware State has become more of a facilitator and has been aided by the emergence of freshman point guard Trevis Wyche.
“He’s an unselfish kid that wants to win and he’s fit in to being a leader,” Dunne said. “He’s fit in to as far as trying to move the ball, share it and try to get other people involved.”
“He’s really bought into team. We still have to continue to try to get him some clean looks and some shots, with the emergence of Trevis Wyche who has really come along now that we’re halfway through the year. He was fantastic against Wuinnipiac hopefully he can continue to get Chris and Desi some better looks, whether it’s in transition or off his penetration.”
Washington leads the team in three-point field goals made and Wyche leads the team with 63 assists and a ratio of almost 2 assists per turnover this season.
For somoene who has seen the starting lineup in every game but one, Dunne said he is happy with how Burke has stepped up in conference play, recording six blocks and two steals in the last two games.
“He’s a guy that’s getting more consistent,” Dunne said of Burke. “When he plays well, we usually play well, that’s the message I’ve been delivering to him daily. We always knew that he had the talent, that he had to tap into and he’s finally coming around with the consistency.”
Ryan Restivo covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.