Three Thoughts: Manhattan 65, Saint Peter’s 48

In the second semifinal matchup Sunday evening, Manhattan gained separation from Saint Peter’s late in the first half and pulled away late to advance to the MAAC championship game Monday evening. The Jaspers will have an opportunity to defend their conference crown as they take on local rival Iona in a game televised nationally on ESPN2. Here are three thoughts from the Jaspers’ semifinal win over Saint Peter’s: Continue reading “Three Thoughts: Manhattan 65, Saint Peter’s 48”

Saint Peter’s Getting Hot At Right Time In Win Over Rider

For everything Saint Peter’s has been through this season – injuries and struggling to score at times among them – the Peacocks looked very much like the team picked to compete in the MAAC when they controlled their 68-59 MAAC semifinal win over Rider.

Saint Peter’s head coach John Dunne (center) and the Peacocks advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2011.

After Jamel Fields drained a three-pointer from the right wing to put the Peacocks up 3-2, they never trailed as they eliminated the second seed.

“I’m just really proud of these guys, not just because we won, but through the course of this year, when stuff wasn’t going well for us throughout games we were too quick to hang our head,” head coach John Dunne said. “These guys didn’t drop their heads and we just kept playing and we stayed focused.”

Senior Desi Washington scored 12 of his game-high 22 points in the first half, but the Broncs were not going to be denied a chance to move to the semifinals after being down 34-20 at halftime. Rider went on a 12-1 run to open the half, but three-pointers from Marvin Dominique on back to back possessions put Saint Peter’s up 10.

“We had a lot of ups and downs, it’s easy for our team to fall apart,” Washington said. “We knew they were going to make a run, the biggest thing for us was to stick together, stay together during their run and to weather the storm.”

The urgency began to pick up for the Peacocks since senior day, when players like Washington and Dominique have started to realize their careers may be down to the minutes on the clock.

“We’re here to win and we’re going to do whatever we can to win,” Dominique said. “This is our senior year, me, Desi and a couple of guys on our team. We believe in ourselves throughout the whole season and we know we went through a couple of things during the season, but we’re here to stay.”

Saint Peter’s was rarely phased by Rider’s pressure and managed to make eight three-pointers, but more importantly shut out the Broncs guards from the three-point line.

“We knew they were going to rely on Okereafor’s ball screens and we figured if we could control that then we’d have a decent chance to win,” Dunne said. “If we didn’t let them score a lot in transition, we gave them some easy baskets in the second half, we made it interesting, but I thought for the most part for 40 minutes our ball screen defense was pretty good.”

Jimmie Taylor and Khalil Alford shared the scoring lead for the Broncs with 10 a piece, but Rider managed to make just four of their 20 three-point shot attempts.

Having started on Thursday against Fairfield, Saint Peter’s reaches the MAAC semifinals on Sunday for the first time since 2011, when they won the league’s automatic bid over Iona. The Gaels are on the other side of the bracket this season too, which could bode well for these seniors who advance to the semifinals for the first time.

“It’s going to be another big game for us,” Washington said of Sunday’s semifinal game. “Our season is on the line, our senior season, and we’re having fun, but we’re not ready to go home yet.”

Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2014-15 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]

Three Thoughts: Saint Peter’s 69, Siena 55

Jimmy Patsos can be an acquired taste and while he’s nowhere near being in jeopardy of losing his job (despite what Ronnie might tell you next time you go to Draddy Gym), there is pressure at Siena that he never felt in his nine years at Loyola (MD).

There just aren’t any other programs that are going to draw 6,244 people to watch them play, let alone on a Sunday afternoon against a team near the bottom of the MAAC standings. And Siena fans don’t need long memories to remember the three consecutive MAAC titles from 2008-2010, which also included the last two NCAA Tournament victories for the conference (over Vanderbilt and Ohio State).

Continue reading “Three Thoughts: Saint Peter’s 69, Siena 55”

Three Thoughts: Rider 68, Saint Peter’s 55

(photo courtesy: Rider Athletics)

Saint Peter’s coach John Dunne had tried yelling, stomping his feet, making nearly wholesale substitutions, calling time outs, giving people the silent treatment, and who knows what else I couldn’t see from the other end of the court in Saturday afternoon’s MAAC clash with Rider.

With seven minutes remaining, Rider’s Teddy Okereafor drove the lane, lost the ball, then it caromed off two different sets of legs and bounded toward teammate Jimmy Taylor in the left corner. Taylor decided to pick it up and drill a three-pointer. Why not? Everything else was going the Broncs’ way.

Continue reading “Three Thoughts: Rider 68, Saint Peter’s 55”

Hartford, Saint Peter’s Struggle with Expectations Early

With great expectations comes great pressure. Or something like that.

It’s hard to call the expectations Saint Peter’s and Hartford “great” this season, but maybe “greater” might do the trick. And while Hartford escaped with a 51-50 victory at the Chase Family Center Sunday afternoon, neither team left the opening weekend brimming with confidence. Continue reading “Hartford, Saint Peter’s Struggle with Expectations Early”