JERSEY CITY, N.J. – A strong defensive effort was the headline as St. Peter’s defeated Marist 61-49 at the Yanitelli Center. The win improves the Peacocks to 7-7 (2-2 MAAC) while Marist falls to 10-12 (1-2 MAAC).
The key, as noted, was defense. Marist is basically a perimeter team. “With their dribble drive, they try to get mismatches with ball screens, cuts and handoffs,” St. Peter’s coach John Dunne said. “They do not have a true post game, so we didn’t want them to spread us out. We were willing to give up a few threes.”
Marist shot 5 of 14 beyond the arc. Overall the Red Foxes were 15 of 42. Marist trailed 27-21 at the break, but in the first ten minutes of the second had managed only two field goals as St. Peter’s enjoyed a comfortable double-digit lead.
Execution and balance were also keys for Dunne’s club, seeing how they ran their offense and their inside/outside approach. Ryan Bacon (12 points, eight rebounds) established himself inside, while Nick Leon (a game-high 16 points) was effective on the perimeter and did a good job running the team from the lead guard spot. “Ryan had a good game against Marist last year, so he came in with confidence,” Dunne said. “If he didn’t miss a few easy ones early he could have had a monster game.”
All things considered, it was a solid win over a team that has lost several heart-breakers and was coming off a victory over Manhattan on Saturday. “They (Marist) are going to beat some people,” Dunne said. “I was pleased with our defensive intensity the first 32 minutes. The last eight, we let up a bit.” In those final eight, Marist never got the deficit under double figures.
- The Red Foxes were paced by Sam Prescott, a freshman guard who came off the bench to score 14 points. Devin Price, another freshman guard, added 12 points.
- Marist has no seniors in the starting lineup and went with a starting five of three freshmen and two juniors.
- Among those in attendance was Nick Mariniello, coach at Hudson Catholic, a school two blocks from St.Peter’s. Wesley Jenkins of St. Peter’s and RJ Hall of Marist both played for a few of Mariniello’s state champions at Bloomfield (NJ) Tech High School.
- Marist entered the game shooting 61 percent from the line. So much for tendencies, as they hit a perfect 14 of 14 for the night.