BRONX, N.Y. – Desi Washington scored six points. So did Marvin Dominique. Quadir Welton fouled out in nine minutes.
Yet when the final buzzer sounded tonight at Draddy Gym, Saint Peter’s comeback attempt from a 19-point halftime deficit had fallen just short.
The Peacocks lost to Manhattan, 68-63, with Washington and Dominique combining for eight points in their 41-point second half.
Tyler Gaskins and Rodney Hawkins showed that Saint Peter’s is deeper than its big three.
Gaskins, who had scored in double figures in five of the Peacocks’ last six games, netted 11 of his career-high 20 points in the last 20 minutes, and Hawkins poured in 12 of his career-high 14 points in that same frame.
Gaskins scored in a variety of ways — drives to the bucket, short jumpers and 3-pointers. He hit 2 of 7 from deep, but in the last 10 games, he has made 23 of 39 (59 percent). That’s remarkable in its own right, but it’s even more notable because of his cold streak to start the season. Gaskins, a senior in his second year with Saint Peter’s after transferring from Lawson State, made 4 of 23 three-pointers in the Peacocks’ first six games.
“He’s a legit third scorer in our league,” Dunne said. “He’s a really good player… He’s definitely a guy that we were counting on early, and I had to let him play through a lot of those missed shots… He’s made them in practice now for two years, so we’d just been waiting for him to start making them in games.”
He started making them in Saint Peter’s 60-58 loss to Norfolk State on Nov. 29, nailing three treys in five attempts. Desi Washington’s return against Princeton was still two weeks away, and with his newfound confidence and the team’s need for someone to fill Washington’s void, Gaskins sank four of his six 3-point attempts for 18 total points in games against Canisius and Boston University.
His contributions have helped Saint Peter’s win six of its last eight games.
“The fact that he got to play through all of that [Washington’s injury and his early shooting slump] and then finally had a game where he broke out, now he’s feeling really good about himself,” Dunne said.
The loss to Manhattan could serve as Hawkins’ breakout game. The 6-foot-7 freshman, who sat first semester after transferring from Delaware State, posted career-highs of 14 points and six rebounds in 23 minutes. It was his fourth game for Saint Peter’s.
“We needed his length and athleticism to battle against [Manhattan],” Dunne said.
Dunne added that Hawkins, an athletic rebounder who can also shoot, offers “a little bit of everything” and “more depth at the forward spot.”
“I don’t sweat it as much taking Dominique out when I can put him in there for a little while,” Dunne said.
Ari Kramer is a New York-based writer who covers the MAAC for One-Bid Wonders. Follow him on Twitter at @Ari_Kramer.