Saint Peter’s Is The CIT Champion

The CollegeInsider.com Tournament championship trophy will be hopping just across the river from Manhattan to Jersey City, as Saint Peter’s defeated Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 62-61 to take home the title.

Photo courtesy Saint Peter’s athletics

The game was tied with 2.9 seconds remaining, but Quadir Welton caught a three-quarters length pass and called timeout, allowing John Dunne to set up a sideline out of bounds play that was perfectly executed. Trevis Wyche was fouled going to the basket and he made the first free throw and intentionally missed the second to close out the victory.

It was another close road victory for SPU. The Peacocks won three of their four tournament games on the road, at Albany, Texas St. and Texas A&M-CC along with a home victory over Furman. The one home game was an unexpected treat for a team and fanbase that weren’t expected to host any games at the Yanitelli Center when they originally qualified for the CIT. But Dunne and the athletic department were able to raise enough funds to pay the hosting fee for one round.

The entire tournament demonstrated what a technician Dunne is, especially on the defensive end. No opponent scored more than a point per possession during the tournament, as Dunne’s defensive plans constantly stifled the opposition.

The Peacocks, as they did the entire second half of the season minus on night against Iona in the MAAC tournament, found just enough offense to get the job done. Cavon Baker scored 15 points, Quadir Welton 12 and Trevis Wyche 11. Welton also grabbed 13 rebounds and was named tournament MVP.

Saint Peter’s was 12-12 after a home loss to Canisius on Feb. 6, but the Peacocks won 11 of their final 12 games to finish 23-13 overall. That’s the most wins by a SPU team since the Peacocks went 24-7 in 1990-91 and lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. While Dunne is 139-207 at Saint Peter’s, he’s made the most of challenging circumstances and now has multiple postseason appearances and one of the best seasons in SPU history to show for it.

The championship marked the final game in the careers of Welton, Wyche, and Patterson. A trio of seniors that had put together three straight seasons of around .500 basketball before finding an intense defensive rhythm to close out their careers. Welton finished his career with 1,191 points and 878 rebounds at SPU.

Wyche, a gritty point guard from Neptune, NJ, finished his career with 1,228 points, 501 assists, 167 steals and 366 rebounds. He was also named to the all-tournament team. Wyche is one of just 11 MAAC players since 1992 to have at least 1,200 points and 500 assists, according to College Basketball Reference.

Patterson scored 579 points in his career after getting more playing time on the wing these past two seasons. Baker, only played one season at SPU, but it was also his final game for the Peacocks. The Queens product averaged 6.6 ppg and 2.6 rpg in one season in Jersey City.

Dunne will need to replace all of that production next season, but that’s a problem for another day. Because right now Saint Peter’s can enjoy a championship.