This one was quite a way to start. In the MAAC opener for both teams, Saint Peter’s emerged with a hard fought 72-67 victory over Niagara. Friday evening’s game at Niagara’s Gallagher Center saw the visiting Peacocks improve to 2-4 while Niagara is now 1-4.
Battling back. Saint Peter’s held a 16 point lead midway through the second half. Coach Greg Paulus’ Purple Eagles stormed back to make it a one possession game in the stretch. Full court pressure and attacking the basket in both transition and half court were the keys for the late run by Niagara.
Resilience. While Niagara is credited with the comeback, Saint Peter’s deserves credit of its own for never surrendering the lead. If Niagara was able to take the lead the momentum shift might have been the difference in this one.
Pressure. As noted, Niagara’s full court pressure was effective. On their end, Saint Peter’s had several possessions where they dribbled toward the sidelines and allowed themselves to be trapped. Certain that coach Bashir Mason will address that with his club.
Numbers. In a 68 possession game, Saint Peter’s held a 106-99 edge in offensive efficiency.Niagara held a 27-19 rebounding advantage. Purple Eagles also forced the visitors into a 22% turnover rate. Saint Peter’s held a resounding edge in eFG percentage, 65-47%. That was largely aided by the Peacocks going 10 of 12 (83%) in shots at the rim. Niagara got to the line often with a 58-31% free throw rate advantage. Yaw Obeng-Mensah of Niagara led all scorers with 20 points. The senior forward went 10 of 10 from the charity stripe while pulling down seven rebounds. Michael Houge paced Saint Peter’s with 19 points while adding a game-high nine boards.
Saint Peter’s continues their ‘Western’ swing visiting Canisius on Sunday. Niagara is back hosting Quinnipiac on the same day.