Saint Peter’s University came into Wednesday night’s CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament as the only tri-state area team still playing basketball. After defeating both Albany and Texas State on the road, the Peacocks welcomed Furman into the Yanitelli Center for their semi-final matchup. This would be the first time in school history that Saint Peter’s would host a national postseason game and add in a national television audience on the CBS Sports Network and this had the makings of a big game.
The Saint Peter’s fans did not disappoint as one of the best crowds this season came out in Jersey City to see Saint Peter’s advance to the CIT Championship game after a 77-51 over Furman. Saint Peter’s will travel to Texas to take on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi for the title on Friday night.
“We weren’t supposed to have this, so it was a blessing for me being a senior,” said Quadir Welton who finished with 11 points and 16 rebounds. “I didn’t think I would ever play on this court again. The fans came out and supported us. I was very excited and the energy was great.”
Saint Peter’s started out hot hitting 10 of their first 15 shots to begin the game. Furman looked out of sorts early as the Paladins missed their first 10 shots before Kris Acox ended Furman’s drought at the 11:21 mark of the first half.. With missed shots comes rebounds as Saint Peter’s dominated the rebounding edge 23-12 in the first 20 minutes of play
As the first half continued, Furman began to make extra passes and make shots consistently. At the same time, Saint Peter’s went cold as the Paladins went on a 11-3 run in the final 3:35 of the opening half to cut the Peacock lead to 37-19 at halftime. While Furman finished the half on a run, they shot just 25 percent from the field and 3-for-11 from beyond the arc. Devin Sibley led Furman with 11 points while Chazz Patterson led Saint Pater’s with 11 points as well as the Peacocks’ shot 56 percent from the field.
Furman continued cutting the Peacock lead after a 8-2 run to begin the second half of play. Like early in the first half, Saint Peter’s turned the defense up, which led to improved offensive play. Nnamdi Enechionyia was on fire in the early minutes of the second half as he scored fourteen points, including four three pointers, during 19-4 run that stretched the Peacock lead to 60-31.
The Peacocks continued the onslaught on the Paladins as it seemed that no matter what Furman would do, the Peacocks had an answer. As the second half progressed, Saint Peter’s continued their hot shooting from the field and from three-point range as the Peacocks finished shooting 48 percent from the three-point range in the runaway victory.
Enechionyia finished with 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting, including 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc. Both Chazz Patterson and Antwon Portley finished with 13 points for the Peacocks who moved to 22-13 on the season.
Sibley finished with a game-high 20 points for Furman (23-12) who were dealing with the departure of head coach Niko Medved, who was hired by Drake on Sunday. Longtime assistant Bob Richey took over as interim coach for Wednesday’s game.
Saint Peter’s moves on to face Texas A&M-Corpus Christi for the CIT Championship. This will the Peacocks’ second trip to Texas in less than a week, the first being a win over Texas State on Mar. 25. Gametime on Friday is 9pm/ET and will be broadcast nationally on the CBS Sports Network.