PEACOCKS END HISTORIC DAY WITH VICTORY OVER RUTGERS SCARLET KNIGHTS
Monday, November 26, 2007
The Saint Peter's College Peacocks (2-2) evened their record and defeated their first Big East opponent since 1995 this afternoon, defeating the Rutgers University Scarlet Knights (4-2) at the newly renovated Jersey City Armory. Today's game was the first college basketball game played at the Armory since 1975. The Peacocks scored the final seven points of the game to come away with the victory. Wesley Jenkins led Saint Peter's with 26 points, while Todd Sowell recorded his second straight double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds.
“The great thing about college basketball is that anybody can beat anybody at anytime,” remarked Saint Peter's Head Coach John Dunne after this signature victory. “The guys played great for 40 minutes and deserved to win.”
The game began slowly with both team feeling each other and the unfamiliar surroundings of the Armory out. Saint Peter's led 12-10, when Rutgers went on a little 6-0 run to take a 16-12 lead with 10:43 to play in the half. Saint Peter's quickly regained the lead at 18-16 and the game stayed a two-point affair for most of the half. With 3:24 to play and Rutgers leading 28-26 Saint Peter's went on a 7-0 run to take a 33-28 lead going in the break.
Jenkins led all scorers with 16 first half points, including 4-5 from beyond the arc. Sowell had 10 points and two blocks in the opening frame. Corey Chandler led the Scarlet Knights with eight points. Saint Peter's shot 44.8% from the field in the first half, while Rutgers shot 36.4%. Rutgers held a 20-19 lead on the boards, while Saint Peter's committed 12 turnovers to the Scarlet Knights 10.
The Peacocks continued to hold and expand the lead to begin the second half. With 15:40 to play, Saint Peter's had extended their lead to eight points at 40-32. Dating back to the first half it was a 14-4 run for Saint Peter's. Rutgers showed their toughness by going on a 9-3 run of their own to crawl back to within one point at 43-42 with 11:14 to play. The Peacocks responded by scoring the next six points to extend their advantage back to seven at 49-42 with 9:08 to play. Saint Peter's continued to hold the lead and answer every Rutgers charge, but with 5:43 to play Rutgers ended a 7-0 run to take the lead back at 52-51. The Peacocks again recovered and took a 58-54 lead with 2:54 to play. Rutgers again tied the score at 58-58 with just 1:51 to play. Saint Peter's then took over as they went 5-6 from the line and Sowell added a lay-up in the final 1:13 to put the game away.
Today's win was the first against a Big East opponent since 1995, when the Peacocks defeated Seton Hall 61-59. It was also the historic re-opening of the Jersey City Armory after a 30-plus year absence from the college basketball scene.
“It was great playing in the Armory. I have to thank all the support staff at Saint Peter's for making this happen,” stated Dunne. “Anytime you beat a Big East team it's an accomplishment, not just for our team but for the MAAC as well.”
Jenkins finished with his 26 points on 8-16 from the field, including 6-7 from behind the arc and 4-4 from the stripe. Sowell went 10-17 from the field and 2-2 from the line for his 22 points. This was his second double-double of the season and 27th of his career. Orta finished with seven points, three rebounds, three assists and four steals. For Rutgers, Chandler scored 16 points, while JR Inman scored 11 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Hamady Ndiaye added 10 points for the Scarlet Knights.
The Peacocks shot 38.3% from the field, while Rutgers shot 32.8%. Saint Peter's was 8-17 from behind the arc, while Rutgers was 2-12 from deep. The Scarlet Knights did outrebound Saint Peter's 44-41 and Saint Peter's had 23 turnovers to Rutgers 18.