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Men’s Basketball Advances to MAAC Quarterfinals with OT Win Over Fairfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Some people dream of hitting the game-winning shot in the waning seconds of a game. For Saint Peter’s junior Desi Washington (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin [Delaware State]) that dream has come true four times this season and three times against Fairfield after Washington drained the decisive 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left to lift Saint Peter’s past Fairfield 65-62 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Men’s Basketball Tournament First Round on Thursday night.

Marcus Barrow tied the game with 6.8 seconds left. Washington got the ball up the court and had three Stag players on him, but he launched a 3-pointer right in front of the Saint Peter’s bench and the ball swished through the net with 1.2 seconds left to give the Peacocks a 65-62 lead. Fairfield inbounded the ball, but its desperation heave came up short.

“It was a great college basketball game,” said head coach John Dunne. “It was an exciting end to regulation and an exciting end to overtime and we were fortunate to come out on top. Three times against the same team at pretty much the same spot on the floor. We are fortunate to get it at the end and I proud of my guy’s effort.”

It was the third time this season Washington dashed the Stags hopes at the end of the game. The junior hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer on Jan. 8 in a 56-55 win at Webster Bank Arena and then drained the trey with 2.1 seconds left in a 63-62 victory at the Yanitelli Center on Feb. 25. The first two the junior was almost wide open, but this time Fairfield covered him with three players. Washington heroics give Saint Peter’s its first trip to the MAAC Tournament Quarterfinals since 2010-11 and are riding a five-game winning streak into the its Saturday game against No. 2 Manhattan. Tip off is 6:30 p.m.

“We are playing together and playing as a unit and really starting to put together some good games,” said Washington.

Washington finished the game with a team-high 14 points. Marvin Dominique (Miramar, Fla./Miramar [Fordham]) added his 12th double-double of the season with 11 points and 13 rebounds, including 11 caroms off the defensive glass while Quadir Welton (Philadelphia, Pa./Math, Science and Civics Charter) and Trevis Wyche (Neptune, N.J./Saint Peter’s Prep) chipped in 10 points in the winning effort.

Barrow paced Fairfield with 14 points and Steve Johnston added 12 points in the loss.

For the third time this season, the Stags and Saint Peter’s battled down to the wire and for the third time Washington sent the Peacock fans home happy with a 3-pointer in the waning seconds of the contest.

Dominique tied the game at 58 after making the second of two free throws with 28 seconds left in regulation. Fairfield had a chance to have a buzzer beater of their own, but Marcus Gilbert’s shot rimmed out in the final seconds to send the game to overtime.

Barrow struck first in overtime with a jumper at 4:04, but Welton answered for Saint Peter’s with two free throws at 3:45 to knot the game at 60.

Kris Rolle (Miami, Fla./Monsignor Edward Pace [Colby CC]) entered the game for Welton and played three solid minutes for the Peacocks. The junior registered two points, three rebounds and two blocks in a span of three minutes and 10 seconds. His layup at 2:04 gave the squad a 62-60 lead.

Barrow then scored a layup with 6.8 seconds left to tie the game before Washington magic happened for the third time against the Stags to hand Saint Peter’s the win.

“It was a little luck on our side and it bounced our way,” said Dunne.

The first half was a seesaw battle with the Peacocks taking its largest lead of five several times in the final 10 minutes of the half.  Welton gave the squad a 30-25 lead with 66 seconds left in the stanza before the Stags scored the final five points of the half, including a Johnston buzzer beater to send the teams to the locker room tied at 30.

The contest remained tied in the second half. Fairfield grabbed a 51-45 lead with 6:57 left thanks to a 5-0 run, but Saint Peter’s answered with five unanswered to tie the score at 51 with 4:39 left on a Washington layup.

With the score tied at 53, Johnston was fouled attempting a trey and made all three charity tosses to grab a 56-53 lead with 3:26 on the clock. Washington answered with a pair of jumpers at 2:15 and 1:25 to give Saint Peter’s a 57-56 lead.

Gilbert answered 23 seconds later to regain the lead for the Stags. Dominique then tied the game at 58 with 28 seconds left and Washington’s heroics sent Saint Peter’s to the MAAC Quarterfinals.

The Peacocks have won six consecutive wearing the home white jerseys. The squad improved to 2-0 in overtime this year after beating Seton Hall 83-80 in overtime on Dec. 14 for the first game-winning 3-pointer in the waning seconds after the junior hit the shot with 3.3 left in OT.

Welton notched his fourth 10-point game of the season and the first since the win against the Pirates. All four games have been away from Jersey City.

Saint Peter’s will meet Manhattan on Saturday, March 8 at 6:30 p.m. for the third time this season. The Jaspers swept the season series with a 74-62 win in Jersey City on Jan. 2 and a 64-49 victory on Feb. 3 in Riverdale.

The Peacocks are 5-4 against Manhattan in the MAAC Tournament, but will be the first tilt since the 2008 league tournament.