After a fourth place finish in the MAAC during the regular season St. Peter’s caught fire in the conference tournament, upsetting two higher seeds to claim their first conference championship and NCAA Tournament trip since 1995 and just their third overall. Led by 5th year head coach John Dunne, the Peacock’s also reached the 20-win plateau for the first time in 16 seasons. Success this season was bred from a stingy defense that ranked 20th nationally in adjusted efficiency and was also top 20 in opponent effective field goal percentage as well as two-point and three-point field goal percentage against.
Record: 20-13 (11-7)
Key Wins: 80-60 vs Rider, January 20: Many would look to the Peacock’s win over Alabama in November as being the key win given the Crimson Tide’s top-100 RPI ranking, but St. Peter’s had no chance as an at-large, so this would have done them little good in the big picture. Ultimately defeating Rider midway through the conference season set the table for things to come as it was the Peacock’s only win over a top-three MAAC team during the regular season.
Key Losses: 77-64 @ Lehigh, December 29: As much respect as there is for the Patriot League, the MAAC was a far superior conference this season. So when St. Peter’s was downed convincingly by a middle of the road Lehigh team to drop the Peacocks to 7-6, it was an early low point to the season.
Key Player: Wesley Jenkins, Senior, Guard
Ironically, after averaging a career low 12.8 points per game this season and missing seven games, Jenkins earned a Second Team All-MAAC nod. The senior is a real threat from the perimeter shooting nearly 42 percent from beyond the arc. He has been a streaky scorer this season (three 20-point games, three games of 5 points or less) and it’s reflected in his strengths and weaknesses in terms of scoring efficiency in various play types. Jenkins is a poor scorer in transition for a guard, but is among the best pick and roll playmakers in the country using the metric of points per possession.