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Saint Peter’s picks up first win of season against St. Francis Brooklyn

The Peacocks turned up the heat defensively late as they defeated St. Francis Brooklyn in Jersey City.

Heading into Saturday’s game against St. Francis Brooklyn, Saint Peter’s University needed a win badly. The Peacocks played Wagner tough on Wednesday night but fell in overtime 81-77 to move to 0-3. Saturday’s game would feature the return of head coach Shaheen Holloway, who returned after serving a university-imposed three-game suspension.

In an inspired effort, Saint Peter’s picked up their first win of the season defeating St. Francis Brooklyn, 67-59, at the Yanitelli Center on Saturday afternoon.

Saint Peter’s started slow once again, going 1-of-7 from the field to begin the game. Fousseyni Drame scored the first field goal for the Peacocks, but his team had trouble against the size of St. Francis Brooklyn early. KC Ndefo, who returned to the lineup against Wagner, converted on a three-point play to tie the game at 10. That was the start of a 9-2 run for Saint Peter’s, highlighted by a putback dunk by Majur Malak as the Peacocks held an 18-12 lead at the 8:20 mark of the first half.

Things were looking good for Saint Peter’s (1-3), but two consecutive three-pointers by Deniz Celen (15 points in the first half) tied the game at 20. In the half-court, Saint Peter’s struggled to find their shots. However, when the tempo increased, they played quicker, and shots were falling with ease. The Peacocks finished the first half with a drive and kick trey by Doug Edert to take a 33-28 lead into the half. Edert finished the first 20 minutes of play with eight points.

Saint Peter’s expanded their lead to eight at the 16:24 mark of the second half. While the Peacocks held the lead during the first part of the second half, many shots inside were missed as Saint Peter’s struggled shooting. However, the Peacock defense was able to hold down the fort as Saint Peter’s held a 44-38 lead at the 11:38 mark of the second half.

“I tell these guys that you can’t let your offense dictate your defense,” said Saint Peter’s head coach Shaheen Holloway. “It’s really tough to ask these guys to get three stops in a row and we aren’t scoring. But at the same time, that’s part of basketball. We didn’t shoot the ball well, but we hit the glass hard.”

The game’s tempo slowed considerably as the things got chippy midway through the second half. Saint Peter’s turned up the heat defensively even more, including a chase-down block by Ndefo. St. Francis Brooklyn (2-5) continued to hang around, cutting the lead to 49-46 after a Chauncey Hawkins three-pointer with 5:28 remaining in regulation.

Both teams exchanged three-point field goals as the Peacock lead was cut to one at 52-51 at the under four-minute timeout. Out of the timeout, Edert hit three free throws to extend the lead to four. Matthew Lee’s three-pointer gave the Peacocks a bigger cushion. Edert hit a tough runner with 1:18 left as Saint Peter’s held on after finishing the game at the free-throw line.

Edert scored a team-high 18 points for Saint Peters while Daryl Banks III added nine points off the bench. St. Francis Brooklyn was led by Deniz Celen, who finished with 21 points, including 3-of -3 from beyond the arc.

The Peacocks outrebounded the Terriers 51-31 as five finished with five or more rebounds.

“I’m proud of my guys. Our guys came out and stuck to the plan,” said Holloway. “We battled, we fought. I told them it would be a game of runs, and at the end of the day, I’m just happy for these guys.”

What’s Next For Saint Peter’s

The Peacocks hit the road to face Big East member St. John’s at Carnesecca Arena in Jamaica, Queens on Tuesday. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m. and can be seen on FS1.

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Kahlil Thomas

Kahlil is the College Sports Editor for as well as a columnist, hosting the Bump 'N Run column once per week. He also co-hosts a weekly basketball podcast, The Box Out, every Thursday evening with fellow writer Jason Cordner.
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