Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: ESPN's 24 Hours of Basketball, St. Peter's-Monmouth Recap

by Ray Floriani

JERSEY CITY, NJ -- A 6 am start, as part of the ESPN marathon, made for a unique setting. Beyond the excitement, all night activities and pre-game breakfast for the students who were absolutely pumped up, was a very good showing on the defensive end by St.Peter’s. St. Peter's and their cross state rival Monmouth University competed in a 63 possession game.

St. Peter's92

The Four Factors:

St. Peter's51162927

The 6 am hour was forgotten as, immediately after the tip, both clubs engaged with emotion and intensity. The first half saw St.Peter’s leading 27-16. At intermission it was a 33 possession tempo with John Dunne’s club showing their defensive prowess. Turnover rates were rather high. Chalk it up to defense rather than the 6 am tipoff. Effective field goal percentage shows how well St.Peter’s defended. Monmouth started slowly.

St. Peter's82

I didn’t expect the Hawks to post an under 50 in offensive efficiency for the 1st half, but the second half was not much better for the Northeast Conference representatives. St.Peter’s man to man contested the perimeter. 6-8 sophomore Travis Taylor, Monmouth's primary inside threat, was faced by collapsing defenders to the verge of frustration. The Hawks shot 4 of 22 (18%) the first half. On the afternoon -- excuse me morning -- they were 10 of 47 from the field (21%). Taylor led all scorers with 12 points while Wesley Jenkins paced a balanced Peacock attack with 10 points.

Basketball at 6 am is an almost surreal experience. Arriving at just after 5 am to find a charged up, high energy atmosphere. Departing after interviews, around 8:30, I found the campus as quiet as a church, commuters, on their way to work mingled with students on their way to classes. Truly an experience. For players, coaches, fans...all involved.

"We played three emotional games in five days but give St.Peter’s defense credit. They were awfully good.” –Monmouth Coach Dave Calloway

“I’m really excited right now but in a few hours I’ll be tired. I had every alarm in the house go off at 3 am this morning.” – St.Peter’s coach John Dunne

No comments: