Sunday, January 22, 2017

St. Joe's takes down Penn behind joint effort led by Kimble's 23

Saint Joseph's and Penn contest opening tip of their Big 5 battle, one Hawks won 78-71 at The Palestra. (Photo by Jaden Daly/Daly Dose Of Hoops)

PHILADELPHIA -- With two of last year's starters, one of whom is leading scorer Shavar Newkirk, out for the remainder of the season due to injury, it would be forgivable to attribute the sluggish start for Saint Joseph's this year to youth and having to readjust on the fly while simultaneously defending an Atlantic 10 Conference championship.

Head coach Phil Martelli, however, is not one to make excuses, employing a nine-man rotation and stressing a three-word credo of "be better tomorrow" as his unit soldiers on through life without Newkirk and Pierfrancesco Oliva.

For 40 minutes at The Palestra Saturday night, his Hawks were the better team on the floor, taking advantage of a quartet of double-figure scoring efforts led by point guard Lamarr Kimble's 23 points in a 78-71 victory over crosstown rival Penn, giving St. Joe's its first win of Big 5 play this season after dropping their first two contests in the intra-city round robin.

In addition to Kimble, Charlie Brown came within a rebound of a double-double, posting 19 points and nine boards. James Demery contributed to the winning cause with 15 points and six rebounds, while Chris Clover added 10 markers of his own as Martelli vehemently insisted his team was not fractured even though only seven players played more than ten minutes.

"We are not injured," the longtime Hawks coach boldly reassured as St. Joe's (9-9) ended a three-game losing streak in their brief hiatus from A-10 play by regaining control toward the midpoint of the second half with a 13-4 run, then matching Penn just enough to keep the Quakers from getting over the hump. "This team is not injured. The team that was dressed in that locker room and came out on the court, that's our team. Everybody starts their conversation with 'due to the injuries,' no. That has nothing to do with it. There's injuries all over the country."

"The goal is to be better," Martelli candidly elaborated. "We've kind of plateaued here. We've only lived here for 22 years here one way: Be better tomorrow. Tomorrow, we start for a tough game at St. Bonaventure, and we start that in eighth place. That's average for the league."

Both teams used the opening minutes as a feeling-out period of sorts, with Penn (6-9) holding a 10-6 lead at the first media timeout before surrendering a 25-6 St. Joe's spurt that put them in a 15-point hole at the 5:28 mark of the opening stanza, trailing 31-16. But the Quakers were able to fight back with a 20-4 stretch that bridged the end of the first half and first two minutes after the intermission, something that made Steve Donahue proud as the second-year mentor resumes his quest to mold the longtime Ivy League power back into a winning product.

"I'm really proud of these guys," a soft-spoken Donahue humbly stated. "For the year-and-a-half I've been here, I couldn't be more proud of what these guys do. Their resiliency is an example of that. We haven't played really good basketball, that's for sure, but we compete really hard. In terms of a group that's together and competing and doing what I ask of them, I couldn't be more proud."

Matt Howard led Penn in the losing effort with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while freshman Ryan Betley, in his Big 5 debut, provided a spark with 15 points off the bench. However, it was enough to keep the Quakers from remaining winless in the Philadelphia standings.

A Brown three-pointer on the ensuing possession following Penn regaining a 36-35 lead put St. Joe's on top for good, and the combination of making more winning plays than their opponent; coupled with a 43-15 disparity in free throw attempts, was an effective recipe to put the Hawks over the top as they prepare for an arduous three-game stretch in their return to A-10 competition, beginning with a trek to St. Bonaventure on Tuesday before coming back home to welcome La Salle and Davidson into Hagan Arena.

"The words I used today were 'let's rid the taste,' said Martelli of reversing his team's fortunes. "To walk around for two weeks without a win, it's been miserable and I haven't made it easier on them. But tonight was, 'let's rid the taste.' Now, we're looking at a 12-game season."

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Rider halts three-game slide with season sweep of Marist

Stevie Jordan's 15 points led five Broncs in double figures as Rider ended three-game losing streak with convincing win against Marist. (Photo by Rider University Athletics)

By Brandon Scalea (@brandonscalea)

LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ — A lot has happened in a little over a week for the Rider men’s basketball team.

​Once 4-1 in league play and sitting pretty in first place, the Broncs dropped their next three, including a 10-point loss to Siena that ended with Rider coach Kevin Baggett and Saints coach Jimmy Patsos headlined on major sports networks for the postgame handshake, or lack thereof.

​But Rider regrouped well and finished a season sweep of Marist on Saturday, dropping the Red Foxes, 84-66, at Alumni Gym. The Broncs struck early and often, and other than a brief moment in the opening minutes of the game, they led for its entirety. Freshman guard Stevie Jordan, who was scoreless in the first half, dropped 15 points in the second before fouling out. Four other Broncs made it to double figures, and every Rider player to see action scored at least eight points on a night where the home team dominated the visiting Red Foxes on the glass by a 54-23 margin, with Tyere Marshall's 13 boards leading all participants.

​Baggett said he was pleased with the way his team rebounded from its recent struggles.

​“This was a team effort from top to bottom,” he said. “From everybody on the bench, to our starters, it was good to see us compete.”

​Anthony Durham was suspended from tonight’s game after appearing to throw a punch at Siena’s Marquis Wright on January 17, so freshman Xzavier Malone got an extended role. His first shot of the game was a clean three from the corner, and he also had a nice putback layup at the halftime buzzer to put Rider up 40-35. The freshman from Philadelphia finished with six points.

​“I was glad to see Xzavier have the kind of game he had,” Baggett said. “Too much has been weighing on his head about not playing and not having the kind of year he wanted to have. We just need him to go out there and enjoy it and defend and take care of the ball. We know he can score.”

​In the second half, Rider was able to pull away. Despite coming into the contest as one of the worst free-throw shooting teams in the nation, the Broncs hit their final 10 free throws. Sophomore Kealen Washington-Ives was notably 7-for-8 from the line. However, at the final media timeout, Rider only led by two possessions, 68-62. A bucket by Ives, followed by a three-pointer from Norville Carey, all but sealed the deal as the Broncs went on a 16-4 run to close out the game.

​The Broncs improve to 12-8 overall, 5-4 in MAAC play, and are now part of a five-way tie for third place, with Monmouth and Saint Peter’s alone in first and second, respectively. Rider’s next game will be on Monday night, against the second-place Peacocks at the Yanitelli Center. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.

FDU 64, LIU 46: Tempo-Free Recap

By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)

TEANECK, NJ - A homecoming for LIU Brooklyn coach Stephanie Oliver, who played her high school ball in Livingston, NJ; and for assistant Heather Zurich, an outstanding player during her prep days at nearby Pascack Valley High School. Cordial greetings and hugs from friends and relatives aside, there was a game to play. Both LIU and FDU entered the Northeast Conference matchup at 1-5 in league play.

Putting together what coach Peter Cinella termed “our best defensive effort of the season,” FDU defeated LIU 64-46 at the Rothman Center. FDU is now alone in eighth place, the final team in the NEC Tournament if the season ended today. The numbers of note:

First five possessions:
LIU: Missed FG, turnover, missed FG, turnover, turnover
FDU: Turnover, missed FG, field goal, turnover, field goal

After the first five, the score was 4-0 in FDU’s favor at 7:21 mark. The pace of near 70 possessions was much to FDU’s liking.

Courtside notes:
FDU is committed to the three-point shot. The Knights knocked down four in the second quarter to build a ten-point lead. LIU was able to reduce that deficit, hitting a few threes of their own. The Blackbirds were led by Shanovia Dove, with 11 points. Added scoring contributions to assist the LIU standout would be greatly appreciated.

FDU utilized full court pressing the second quarter, not so much to force turnovers, but rather to force LIU to use time to beat it before setting up, thus having less time on the shot clock to effectively run their offense.

There must be some record of shot clock violations in this one. I wish I had kept track.

At the half, FDU held a 33-28 lead. Through 36 possessions, a quick pace, FDU held the lead in offensive efficiency, 92-78.

The first four minutes of the second half saw FDU come out ahead, 7-4, to build an eight-point lead that could have been ten had FDU’s Natalie Zamora not missed a transition layup at the six-minute mark.

Possessions: LIU 66, FDU 67
Offensive efficiency: LIU 70, FDU 96

Four Factors:
eFG%: LIU 40, FDU 51
Free Throw Rate: LIU 30, FDU 14
Offensive Rebound%: LIU 30, FDU 43
Turnover Rate: LIU 33, FDU 27

Leading scorers and EF:
LIU: Aja Boyd 17 points, EF 29.
FDU: Amina Markovic 14 points, EF 30
Kiana Brown 14 points, EF 21

What LIU did well: Force turnovers. The Blackbirds were able to get FDU to lose 27 percent (18 turnovers) of their possessions. Unfortunately for Stephanie Oliver’s club, that effort could not carry over when the Knights finished a possession.

What FDU did well: Play their best defensive game of the year. The efficiency was 70, turnover rate 33 percent and defensive eFG percentage 40. Case closed.
You may have sensed this was FDU’s day. With just over seven minutes left and ahead by eleven, Kiana Brown had the ball on the wing as the shot clock neared expiration. Closely guarded and losing the ball, she threw a one-handed, off-balance toss reminiscent of Miami Dolphin Garo Yepremian. Nothing but net, FDU by 14. No better indicator this was their day.
Markovic, a 6-foot-1 junior, pulled down a game high 12 rebounds, adding five assists against just two turnovers. “Her most complete game of the season,” said Cinella. Markovic turned in an outstanding 1.00 EF per minute.
Turnover rates were close, but FDU inflicted the most damage with a 23-9 advantage in points off turnovers. LIU had seven assists against 22 turnovers. FDU matched the numbers: 18 assists and turnovers.
Aja Boyd led LIU with 11 rebounds. Boyd (17) and Dove (14) accounted for 71 percent of the Blackbird scoring. Conversely, the pair combined for nine turnovers. Chalk it up, as we said, to the duo having to do a little too much of everything. LIU managed just three field goals and seven points in the final quarter, when FDU was able to put the game away.
LIU is 2-16 on the season, FDU checks in at 4-14.

Final thoughts:

“LIU came in off two great games, so we had to play well today. We really did a good job of controlling tempo. We did not run a fast break, but moved the ball in half court, found openings and had 18 assists as a result. We forced 22 turnovers. In our press, it is not one, we really expend a lot of energy. We are not really looking for the steal, but to disrupt their offense a bit. Amina Markovic had a bad ankle the last two games. Today, she was back and really stepped up for us. She was huge. We have a good, well-coached team in St. Francis Brooklyn on Monday. They play pack line defense, so we will try to go by them off the dribble. We must be patient on offense as well, and it will be a big challenge.” - FDU coach Peter Cinella

Friday, January 20, 2017

OFFICIAL: Rich Williams to redshirt for Manhattan

Rich Williams will redshirt for Manhattan in 2016-17 season, as announced following Jaspers' loss to Monmouth Friday. (Photo by Vincent Simone/NYC Buckets)

After nearly three months of deliberation, it is now official.

Manhattan College senior Rich Williams will redshirt, and will miss the rest of the 2016-17 season, head coach Steve Masiello announced in the wake of the Jaspers' 82-71 loss to Monmouth Friday evening.

The story was first reported by Josh Newman, who covers Monmouth and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for the Asbury Park Press. Williams had undergone surgery on November 7 to repair a torn meniscus, and had spent the past few weeks since the procedure recovering and getting back into game shape.

The 6-foot-5 wing from Brooklyn, who was a second team preseason all-MAAC honoree this year, was described as "full-go" ten days ago after Manhattan earned their first conference win against Niagara, but after Masiello's conversations with both Williams and athletic director Marianne Reilly, it was decided that an extended rehabilitation period would be in his best interest. The decision to redshirt is similar to that of George Beamon, who took a medical redshirt in 2012-13 following a severe ankle sprain, and returned to lead the Jaspers to a MAAC championship the following year.

Williams averaged a career-best 14.8 points per game in the 2015-16 season, and will be one of many senior leaders in Riverdale should he choose to remain in the program and not transfer anywhere else as a fifth-year senior. Currently projected to lose only Tyler Wilson and walk-on Sky Williams going into 2017-18, Manhattan could conceivably be among the top tier of MAAC teams next season.

More information will be posted on this story as it becomes available.

Seton Hall 55, Providence 43: Tempo-Free Recap

Providence head coach Jim Crowley searches for an answer against Seton Hall. (Photo by Ray Floriani/Daly Dose Of Hoops)

By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - After an opening night win over St. John’s, it has been one long drought. The Seton Hall Pirates, with six straight losses, had yet to post a win in 2017.  Providence started 1-1 in Big East before falling into the same situation as the Pirates, with no wins in 2017 to date and five straight losses. Something had to give, and in the final analysis, the decision was in Seton Hall’s favor. The Pirates defeated Providence, 55-43, at Walsh Gym and are 2-6 in the Big East. Providence is now 1-7. The numbers of note:

First five possessions:
Providence: Field goal, turnover, missed FG, three-point FG, turnover
Seton Hall: Turnover, missed FG, three-point FG, missed FG, turnover

The score at this juncture was 5-3, in favor of Providence at the 5:48 mark. The early minutes went in favor of the pace Providence wishes to impose on this one.

A few first half thoughts:
Rebounding, specifically getting position and boxing out, were imperative for the Friars against the taller opposition.

Seton Hall turned a one-point deficit quickly into a seven-point early second quarter lead by virtue of an 8-0 run.

Providence kept composure running their offense and not rushing things, and did a good job of getting to loose balls, hustle plays which Seton Hall mentor Tony Bozzella has elaborated on in recent weeks.

The first four minutes of the second half saw Providence outscore Seton Hall, 5-2. The Pirates still had the lead at 26-23. Getting off to a positive start was important, as the Friars struggled on the offensive end in the first half.

Possessions: PC 57, Seton Hall 58
Offensive efficiency: PC 58, Seton Hall 95

Four Factors:
eFG%: PC 34, Seton Hall 49
Free Throw Rate: PC 3, Seton Hall 20
Offensive Rebound%: PC 48, Seton Hall 37
Turnover Rate: PC 28, Seton Hall 26

Leading scorers and EF:
Providence: Jovana ‘Yoyo’ Nogic, 12 points, EF 10.
Seton Hall: Deja Winters, 18 points, EF 22.

What Providence did well: Grab loose balls and rebound. The Friars had 20 offensive rebounds, earning the praise of Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella for their work ethic and determination.

What Seton Hall did well: Defend. As Bozzella noted, if you aren’t ready to defend, Providence can exploit you. The Hall defended, as defensive eFG and turnover rate figures attest.

A Lubirdia Gordon putback, Kaela Hilaire penetration, and a Deja Winters three-pointer pushed the Seton Hall lead to 44-32 with just over seven minutes left. Not an insurmountable edge, but given Providence’s difficulties scoring, this Seton Hall mini-run was crucial.

The free throw rate of three percent is not a misprint. Providence chose the perimeter and had one trip to the line, hitting two of two. Seton Hall led 24-16 in the paint and enjoyed a somewhat misleading 20-2 edge in points off the bench. Deja Winters’ scoring outburst of her game-high supplied almost all of those points.
Providence scored three field goals the second quarter and four the final quarter. No argument here, the Friars need to put the ball in the basket with greater frequency. Such has been their problem, especially in the Big East. Allegra Botteghi of Providence paced all rebounders with 10. Lubirdia Gordon and Shadeen Samuels had eight each to pace Seton Hall.

As noted, shooting was a big difference. Seton Hall made 6-of-17 from distance, with Winters going 3-for-5. Providence was 5-of-16 from outside, and actually less proficient from two, going 13-of-44 for 30%. Such is life on the road in the Big East.

Final thoughts:
“Not to oversimplify, but we didn’t make enough shots. We defended, hit the boards and gave a good overall effort, but you need to make shots to be successful in this league. We don’t have an inside player to go to when we need a key basket. I think No. 15 (Winters) hit some big shots. She had been struggling, but her shooting turned a one-possession game into a four or five one. The offense we have in place is a lot different than what the kids were used to. To their credit, they have been very receptive, but it takes time to fully grasp it.” - Providence coach Jim Crowley

“We defended and did what we wanted in the game plan. Providence is tough to defend, with an offense with great movement. They pass and cut very well on offense, and their pace is more deliberate. We seemed to play well at that pace and may look into it a little more. Glad for the girls to get that first win of 2017. Now they can build on that. We got outrebounded and will address that in practice. Deja had a nice game and I was happy for her. She has been working hard. We have Creighton here Sunday. The Big East schedule doesn’t leave much time to prepare.”- Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella

Washington's 30 help Iona overcome late rally to topple Fairfield

Jordan Washington tied season high with 30 points as Iona held off Fairfield to split season series with Stags. (Photo by Brian Beyrer/Iona College Athletics)

NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Jordan Washington's last two games had been something of an anomaly, as Iona's senior forward had difficulty playing a disciplined 40 minutes against both Quinnipiac and Manhattan.

The preseason first team all-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference honoree had a chance to make amends for his recent struggles Friday evening, receiving that opportunity against a team he has traditionally matched up favorably with, and on this night was able to take advantage.

Washington was as efficient as any point in the season for the Gaels, parlaying an 11-for-14 effort from the floor into 30 points and eight rebounds as part of a wire-to-wire lead against a Fairfield team who made it interesting late in the second half before ultimately falling short in a 96-89 Iona victory.

"I felt a little disappointed, because that's not really how I play," he said of his foul-induced ineffectiveness, which cost him almost the entire second half against Manhattan last Tuesday. "My team picked me up and I picked my team up even though I didn't play so well, and they fought hard and came out with the win. I told them the next game, I was going to pick them up, and that's what I did."

Washington's 30 points tied a season high set in December against Ohio University as Iona (12-8, 5-4 MAAC) jumped on the accelerator from the start, scoring the game's first ten points and increasing their cushion to as many as 24 markers in the first half before Fairfield gradually chipped away at their deficit, closing the opening stanza on a 21-9 run to go into the intermission trailing by only a dozen points, trimming the Gaels' advantage to 47-35 after 20 minutes.

The Stags (8-9, 3-5 MAAC) endured a scary moment early in the game, as sophomore guard Curtis Cobb; who set a single-game school record with 46 points against Manhattan two weeks ago, collided with EJ Crawford near the midway point of the first half. Cobb ran head-first into Crawford and immediately went down to the floor, and was later removed on a stretcher to a nearby hospital, magnifying what had already become an inauspicious beginning to the game.

"It was kind of an awkward play, and he fully extended and took a hit," head coach Sydney Johnson said of Cobb's injury. "I don't think it was a dirty play at all, it's just unfortunate that we've got to figure out what kind of condition and shape he's in for the long term."

Fairfield went down by 24 again in the second half, but used a 20-5 run to draw within single digits with 8:35 remaining in regulation, as a Jerry Johnson Jr. three-pointer made the score 70-61 at that juncture. The Stags would pull no closer than five points inside the final minute, but were unable to get over the hump as Iona was able to seal the win at the foul line.

Employing a smaller lineup for the second consecutive game, the visitors saw Johnson Jr. prove to be the beneficiary of his starting nod, registering 26 points and nine rebounds, his offensive production falling one point shy of Tyler Nelson for the team high. But while Fairfield has lost four straight games, a light is still visible at the end of the tunnel in this recent rough patch.

"We're having our bump in the road, and some other teams are having their streaks," Sydney Johnson assessed. "But I think if we commit ourselves to doing what we do best, we're going to come back around and hopefully be in the best form come Albany in March."

Three Gaels joined Washington in double figures, as Jon Severe tallied 16 points to lead a supporting cast that saw both Crawford and Sam Cassell Jr. amass 13 apiece. But the most integral piece to the puzzle was their all-conference post presence, whose renewed commitment left a strong and positive impression long after the final buzzer as Iona gears up for a Monday evening soiree against a resurgent Quinnipiac team who; like Fairfield, scored a victory on their home floor against the reigning MAAC champions earlier this month.

"Jordan had probably his two best practices since we've had him here the last two days," a proud Tim Cluess remarked. "I think the last game helped him to start to develop and realize he has to do a lot more than what he's been doing for our team to be successful."

"It starts with me first," Washington reinforced. "Once I bring intensity, everyone else comes in and joins in the intensity."

Saint Peter's 77, Siena 65: Ray Floriani's Photo Essay

JERSEY CITY, NJ - To a visitor unaware of the situation, this would be assumed to be a game with a championship of some sort weighing in the balance.

The truth of the matter, it was another night in conference play, with Siena and Saint Peter’s going at it at the Yanitelli Center. For visiting Siena, Yanitelli has not been an easy place to play in recent years. No problem. That is the past. The present saw two good MAAC teams looking to gain an edge in conference race.

This game had all the ingredients of a title game. Intensity on the part of both teams. Good defense. Runs and answers to those runs. Notable individual efforts. A team getting down by double digits and refusing to fold by making several comebacks, not to mention a little questioning of the decisions on the part of the officials. Yes, it was all there on this night.
The final result saw Saint Peter’s emerge a 77-65 winner in this one. Hard-fought and well-deserved, the victory could not be savored too long by coach John Dunne, who had less than 48 hours until the next game. For Jimmy Patsos and Siena, an extra day of rest before they visit Manhattan on Sunday.

Little time for respite or resting on laurels, but that is the essence of conference play. You battle for 40 minutes, sometimes longer, then another challenge is staring you down. On this night, the game from intensity and competitiveness gave the impression something major was at stake. In the end, it was a chance to gain a league victory and move up in the pecking order. Games of this nature are the norm, especially in the MAAC.

Siena's Evan Fisher on the attack off a pass and cut from Brett Bisping:
Antwon Portley sizes up the Siena defense:
Friend of the site David Freeman, hard at work handling talent stats for ESPN's Doug Sherman:
Siena coach Jimmy Patsos in a meeting of the minds:
Trevis Wyche in control of a late possession for Saint Peter's:
Saint Peter's head coach John Dunne discusses his latest victory with Rob Kennedy postgame:

Saint Peter's 77, Siena 65: Tempo-Free Recap

(Photo by Ray Floriani/Daly Dose Of Hoops)

By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)

JERSEY CITY, NJ - Always a battle, and tonight, no exception. In a 63-possession, grind-it-out affair, Saint Peter’s defeated Siena 77-65. The Peacocks improved to 6-2 in the MAAC, while Siena is now 5-4 in conference. It was a game the home team led from wire to wire. While Siena made several runs, each time Saint Peter’s had the answers.

First five possessions:
Siena: Turnover, turnover, missed FG, missed FG, offensive foul
Saint Peter’s: Turnover, missed FG, field goal, three-point FG, missed FG

Saint Peter’s 5-0 after the first 3:11, hinting of a tempo on the deliberate pace. Both field goals were made by Nick Griffin. For the Peacocks, it was a first half they would love to bottle. The lead was 41-30 at the break. Saint Peter’s limited Siena to a 93 offensive efficiency, while compiling an outstanding 132 on their offensive end. They attacked the basket, breaking down the Siena defense and winning loose balls. Only a late Siena run kept the margin from reaching 20. The first four minutes of the second half saw the lead grow to 14 at 52-38. The Peacocks won those first four, 11-8, putting a damper of any Siena hopes of cutting further into the deficit.

Possessions: 63
Offensive efficiency: Siena 103, Saint Peter’s 122

Four Factors:
eFG%: Siena 58, Saint Peter’s 58
Free Throw Rate: Siena 71, Saint Peter’s 42
Offensive Rebound%: Siena 23, Saint Peter’s 34
Turnover Rate: Siena 27, Saint Peter’s 16

Leading scorers and EF:
Siena: Lavon Long 17 points, EF 23.
Saint Peter’s: Quadir Welton 14 points, EF 18
Sam Idowu 14 points, EF 16

What Siena did well: Down 19 with five minutes left in the first half, the Saints battled back on several occasions. They kept battling on a tough night.

What Saint Peter’s did well: A little of everything: A 58 percent eFG mark, low turnovers and forcing Siena into a 27 percent turnover rate were a few highlights.

No ties or lead changes in this one. Siena had nine assists against 17 turnovers. Saint Peter’s fared better with 16 assists and 10 turnovers. No one hit double figures in rebounding, as Welton led all players with six, all on the defensive end. The Peacocks had four players in double figures.

Sam Idowu gave John Dunne an added scoring option. The sophomore forward scored 14 points, hitting four of seven three-point field goals and shooting 5-of-9 overall. Saint Peter’s shot 11-of-26 from three as a team.

Second half shot chart: Saint Peter’s scored 10 field goals, hitting five from beyond the arc. Despite what appeared to be a perimeter oriented attack, the Peacocks led 22-18 on points in the paint.

Siena did a good job drawing fouls and getting to the line. The Saints hit 21-of-27 from the charity stripe, and held Trevis Wyche to just six points. The senior guard was a key part of the Saint Peter’s attack with an outstanding floor game, recording nine assists and one turnover in 31 minutes. Welton’s 32 minutes led the Peacocks in that category as coach John Dunne rotated and rested players at times with another contest in less than 48 hours against Niagara on Saturday.

Postgame Quotes:
Siena postgame press conference (Video courtesy of Mike Demos, Siena College Athletic Communications)

“Proud of our guys. It wasn’t pretty in the second half with the fouling. We hung on to win, gave them chances on the line, but made the plays we had to. Fortunate to get out with a win. Our game plan didn’t change without Marquis in their lineup. We have been turning teams over and did a good job against their ball screens. A game of runs, but the more we scored, the better our defense was. They scored a few easy ones late in the first half, and I got nervous, as I thought we would get complacent. I tried to sub a lot - we have another game at 2 p.m. on Saturday. To be 3-0 in this stretch is a really good feeling. You don’t want any let downs at this point. Everyone goes through different stretches in the MAAC, it is how you handle those stretches.” - Saint Peter’s head coach John Dunne

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Pink Whistle: January 19, 2017

By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)

JERSEY CITY, NJ - Entering St. Peter’s Prep, you always get a feeling of deep rooted history and tradition. Prep is not playing, but the St. Dominic girls are hosting Hoboken. St. Dom’s, a few blocks from Saint Peter’s University on Kennedy Boulevard, do not have a gym and have found a nice home here. Walking into the gym, St. Dom’s is warming up. Two things hit home: They have a big roster and virtually no height.

Kaitlyn Gelati. I officiated some of her Rutherford High School games as a player, and her father, Greg, is a good friend and fellow official. She is always a pleasure to work with. A varsity assistant tells me the JV is much improved from last season. They struggled early, but improved as the campaign wore on. This year, they came back and reported to practice far ahead of where they were a year ago.  

Halftime: St. Dom’s leads 15-9. The first time down, Hoboken’s point guard throws a wing pass - to me. Can’t help her. The ball goes out of bounds, St. Dom’s ball. I wonder if this will be ‘that’ type of game. Actually, we had a good tempo and flow. Both teams are zoning with no full court pressure. Both teams are hoisting threes as well. A No. 12 with red hair in a pony tail for St. Dom’s cans a three, then another, finally one more. As she heads down the court, she waves to her bench, smiling. Three treys in a quarter. Hoboken cuts it to a two-possession game with what else? Perimeter shots.
Final: Hoboken 37, St. Dominic 21. We mentioned St. Dom’s was small. Hoboken had height and used it the final half. They had a few bigs (5-foot-10 or 5-foot-11) that could put it on the floor. That combination, plus a few mid-major shots falling, was enough to open the game up. During one timeout, my partner wondered what happened to St. Dom’s No. 12. She said she was probably a varsity player as well. In New Jersey, you cannot play more than five quarters combined in varsity and JV on a given date. Sure enough, she returned in the fourth quarter, but on her reappearing, she was more closely guarded and sitting two quarters hurt her offensive rhythm. The second half tally saw a 28-6 advantage by Hoboken. St. Dom’s just had a 16 minutes you do not want to remember.

Afterward, the Hoboken coach told me she implored her team to go inside in the first half. Teenagers are often prone to not listening, Hoboken was content to get in an outside shooting contest with St. Dom’s. In the second half, they got it. Using a passer in the high post, Hoboken attacked the basket. They also outrebounded the smaller Blue Devils as well to claim the victory.

On the way out getting ready for the one-mile drive up Montgomery Avenue to cover Saint Peter’s-Siena, a few Hoboken players walking out said, ‘thank you for reffing our game.” I said they were quite welcome and then had to ask: “Ladies, I heard Carlo’s (Cake Boss in Hoboken ) Bakery is overrated. Is it true?”  “Yes,” the three chimed in. One did say the cannolis were outstanding, but overall it was over priced and overrated. As noted, I had to find out.