Friday, February 20, 2015

Monmouth 63, Saint Peter's 58: Ray Floriani's Tempo-Free Analysis

Monmouth coach King Rice chats with ESPN's Rob Kennedy after Hawks defeated Saint Peter's. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)

Jersey City, NJ ­- Monmouth avenged an earlier loss to Saint Peter's with a 63-58 victory over the Peacocks at Yanitelli Center. In the process, Saint Peter's had a streak of three wins in their last four games halted. Monmouth improved to 12-5 in the MAAC, while Saint Peter's fell to 7-10. The pace and possessions:

Possessions: 63
Offensive Efficiency: Monmouth 100, Saint Peter's 92

The Four Factors:
eFG%: Monmouth 48, Saint Peter's 48
FT Rate: Saint Peter's 65, Monmouth 45
OREB%: Saint Peter's 33, Monmouth 32
TO Rate: Saint Peter's 27, Monmouth 24

What Monmouth did well: Defend. The impressive offensive efficiency was constructed largely by forcing 17 Saint Peter's turnovers, for a very high 27 percent rate.

What Saint Peter's did well: Shoot the three. The Peacocks buried seven of thirteen from beyond the arc, for an eye-opening 53.8 percent showing. Doing the most damage was Desi Washington, who went 4-for-6 from long distance. Several of Washington’s threes came at opportune times late in the game, preventing Monmouth from pulling away.

Leading Scorers and Offensive Efficiency
Monmouth: Deon Jones, 23 points (OE .636)
Saint Peter's: Desi Washington, 17 points (OE .375)

The first half: Monmouth 25, Saint Peter's 23. Monmouth led by as much as 11, with 11:45 remaining in regulation, before the homestanding Peacocks chipped away possession by possession. To little surprise, there weren’t a great deal of them. The pace at the half was a very pedestrian 28 possessions.

Monmouth enjoyed a slight offensive efficiency advantage, 89-82. Once again, given the defensive posture of these teams, it was of little surprise that the offensive efficiencies were a bit low. The biggest difference over the first 20 minutes was Monmouth's 13-4 lead in second chance points.

The second half: The defense stayed dominant. In the first 12 minutes, the two teams combined for eight field goals. Monmouth’s fifth, just before the 8-minute media timeout, gave the Hawks a seven-point lead. Maintaining a two-or-more-possession lead over the second half of a game as this was crucial.

Saint Peter's appeared finished late, but each time, a crucial three-pointer, usually courtesy of Desi Washington, and a key stop, kept the Peacocks within two possessions. Saint Peter's actually shot better from long range than inside. The Peacocks, as noted, were 7-of-13 (53.8 percent) from three, while shooting only 33 percent (10-of-33) from inside the arc. To little surprise, the visiting Hawks enjoyed a 24-­14 edge in points in the paint.

Burt was on it: Taking in the game as a stat-recording spectator was ‘legendary’ FDU PA announcer Burt Shoobs. Yours truly told him about my recent officiating with Carol Blazejowski, and Burt quickly noted she holds the Rothman Center scoring record. It seems the FDU women, a few years back, hosted an exhibition game against a semi-­pro team called the Ravens. Blazejowski was on the team and scored 51 points, a Rothman Center record. And yes, Burt was on the PA call.

Final Thoughts
“It was a grind-it-out game. We both grinded, but in the end, the difference was they made plays, we didn’t.” - Saint Peter's coach John Dunne

“Desi starts hitting those threes, and I sat thinking 'oh no, he's going to beat us again.' Fortunately, he didn’t, and we were able to close out a tough win.” -­ Monmouth coach King Rice

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