Peacocks Elijah Gonzales Has Career Night in MAAC Opener at Fairfield
Saint Peter’s freshman guard Elijah Gonzales recorded a career-high 16 points along with career-best four steals, three assists and three rebounds in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opener against Fairfield University on Thursday night at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Despite his new bests, the Peacocks (6-6, 0-1) fell short, 70-61, to the Stags (6-6, 1-0).
Graduates Nick Griffin and Nnamdi Enechionyia secured the early lead with back-to-back threes for the 6-0 advantage. SPU’s luck began to run out by the 15:01 mark where Fairfield went on a 13-0 run.
Guards Quinn Taylor, Griffin and Enechionyia fought back by adding more points to the board, only trailing 18-17 at this point. Forward Samuel Idowu made an easy layup to regain the lead at 19-18, which was the last lead the Peacocks would claim for the night.
The Stags was eventually up by double-digits, 32-21, after a pair of threes from Ferron Flavors Jr. and MAAC Preseason Player of the Year, Tyler Nelson. Gonzales drove into the paint for two made layups which would send the Peacocks to trail 37-27 into the half.
Gonzales opened up the second half with a three-point play. He continued his offensive game by knocking down a shot from behind the arc and another layup to cut the deficit to 40-35, helping keep Saint Peter’s in the game. The young guard scored 12 consecutive points within a little over five minutes.
Guard Cameron Jones kept the Peacocks’ hope alive with a three ball that made the score 42-38. However, the Stags responded with a 10-2 run, extending their lead to 52-40.
Saint Peter’s continued to go hard, trailing just 60-54, but Fairfield’s Nelson sealed the victory with a three-pointer for the nine-point lead.
Griffin recorded 13 points and Idowu followed with 12.
Nelson lead Fairfield with 19 points. Omar El-Sheikn and Matija Milin both had 11 points while three other Stags each had nine points.
Saint Peter’s will spend the last day of the year by hosting two-time MAAC regular season champions and hOURglass rival, Monmouth University at noon.