Before the season even started, Saint Peter’s knew they were in for an uphill climb.
While much has been made of the time senior Desi Washington missed due to a wrist injury sustained in the season opener, the Peacocks were hurting before they even tipped at Brown. Sophomore Quadir Welton felt a pop in his knee in the team’s second practice of the year and it turned out he slightly tore his patella tendon.
“He did not have his first five-on-five contact until probably the second week of November,” Saint Peter’s head coach John Dunne said. “He went was out for about five weeks, he missed all of preseason, and then we basically threw him right into the fire in the second scrimmage.”
The plan is for the 6’8″ center to play through the injury and he has shown glimpses of productivity, averaging 6.1 ppg and 4.9 rpg this season. Welton has not had a break either, starting every game and ranking fifth on the team in minutes at 22.5 per game.
The Peacocks schedule hinged on having a healthy group and their slow start could be attributed to Dunne not having a full roster at times. However Saint Peter’s has pulled out big wins, including a 68-50 blowout of Rutgers when they were without Washington.
“I’m really proud of the guys, regardless of our record, because we’ve handled a ton of adversity,” Dunne said adding that four of their losses are by a combined eight points. “I’m proud of our guys up to this point and I do think we have a lot to continue to build on moving forward.”
The injury hits keep coming for Saint Peter’s: In their win up at Boston University, senior Marvin Dominique hurt his shoulder and Welton is of course not immune, he hurt his finger in their most recent loss to Seton Hall.
While they have struggled to stay healthy, one place they have started to produce is on the offensive end. Over the last seven games the Peacocks have scored better than a point per possession in five of them, while adding four victories in the process. During that time they have made 45% of their three-pointers, which is something Dunne would like to see continue given their health and experience.
“We’ve proven to ourselves that if we remain low turnover we can be an effective scoring team, especially when we’re healthy,” Dunne said. “We just have to make sure that we’re not turning the ball over and continuing to work toward that end. If we do that, while continuing to improve defensively, then I’m going to like our chances the second half of the season.”
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2014-15 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He 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.