You know how the Thanksgiving leftovers seem to taste so much better than the original meal? Well, if you consider my postgame rant on Monday night the original meal, this is the leftovers.
Here is my scouting report on the St. Peter's Peacocks in advance of Monday night's game at Prudential Center:
2010-11 record: 2-3
2009-10 record: 16-14 (11-7 MAAC), 4th place in the MAAC
Key returnees: Nick Leon, Ryan Bacon, Yvon Raymond, Jeron Belin, Wesley Jenkins, Darius Conley, Steven Samuels
Key losses: none
Make no mistake about it- this is a downright dangerous game for the Pirates.
The Peacocks are a seasoned, veteran group of players with plenty of experience playing at the college level, not to mention with each other. Senior Wesley Jenkins is their best scorer, although he is coming off a knee injury suffered earlier this year. He returned in the Peacocks' Saturday win over LIU, playing 29 minutes and scoring 13 points.
Jenkins is flanked by Nick Leon, a senior point guard who is a tenacious individual defender and a guy who can hit an outside shot or two per game. Two more seniors, Ryan Bacon and Jeron Belin, join Jenkins and Leon in the starting lineup. Belin is coming off a career-high 23-point performance against LIU, while Bacon is averaging about 7 points and 7 rebounds a game (leading the team in that category).
The offensive numbers for the Peacocks are, to put it politely, ugly. They shoot 37 percent from the field as a team, 31 percent from downtown (so they are a decent outside shooting team). But they are at 48 percent from the line AS A TEAM. They have been dreadful from there, with Leon (12-13) the only Peacock above 50 percent for the year. Bacon in particular is 7-18 (39 percent) from the line this year. They have 52 assists compared to 75 turnovers on the season. So offense is most definitely not St. Peter's strong suit.
But as Pirate fans remember from last year, they play very good defense, dragging the opposition down to their level and imposing their game on their opponents. They allow just 38 percent from the field and 35 percent from downtown while forcing their opponents into similar assist-to-turnover numbers. The Pirates needed an answered prayer from Eugene Harvey to beat them at the Rock last year as they forced Jeremy Hazell into the worst shooting night of his life.
With the way the Pirates have been on offense lately, this game has a very, very good chance to be a grind-it-out, ugly display of basketball. If it turns into a foul-fest and a free-throw fight, then you have to give the advantage to Seton Hall, especially since they will once again be at home.
PIRATES WILL WIN IF:
- They shoot a good percentage from the field and the line.
- Someone steps up and scores 20 points with no Hazell.
- They don't let St. Peter's, a horrible offensive team, to have a good offensive day.
PEACOCKS WILL WIN IF:
- They can force their style onto the Pirates
- They can hit their free throws.
- They shoot a decent percentage from the field and line.
Basically, whichever offense plays better will win this game, as both defenses are solid.