Jersey City, NJ - Credit the defense. Saint Peter’s defeated Marist 67-56 at Run Baby Run Arena on Friday night. The victory improved the Peacocks to 10-13 (5-9) while Marist dropped to 8-15 (4-10).
Offensive efficiency: Saint Peter’s 102, Marist 85
eFG pct: Saint Peter’s 41, Marist 36
FT Rate: Saint Peter’s 45, Marist 26
OREB Pct: Saint Peter’s 32, Marist 27
TO Rate: Saint Peter’s 14, Marist 15
What Saint Peter’s did well. Get off to a good start. Saint Peter’s coach Bashir Mason stressed the importance of getting out on a positive note. The Peacocks did just that, leading 8-4 after the first four minutes and building on that momentum.
What Marist did well. Compete. Battle back from a double digit deficit. Marist trailed by as much as 16 in the second half. The Red Foxes rallied and came within four late before Saint peter’s regrouped. Staying positive and coming back from a deficit as that on the road is admirable.
For John Dunne, the Marist coach who previously was on the sidelines at Saint Peter’s, the trip to Jersey City is one allowing him to reconnect with old friends. On this night though, Dunne and his club exited Run Baby Run Arena on a sour note having dropped the sixth game in their last seven.
Facing a night of full court pressure, Marist only turned the ball over 10 times for a better than average 15% TO rate.
Kyle Cardaci came off the bench to lead Saint Peter’s with 16 points. Cardaci, a 6’2" senior guard, shot 3 of 6 from beyond the arc. "Kyle had been in the dog house a while," Mason admitted. "As of late he’s really been working hard and doing what he should."
Marist’s leading scorer, Patrick Gardner with 17 on the night, is a unique player. The 6’11" senior will set up more on the perimeter than on the blocks. There are times Gardner will bring the ball up the floor and orchestrate a drive into the paint after catching the ball on the wing. The lean yet effective Gardner tied Corey Washington of Saint Peter’s for game-high rebounding honors with 9. He also led the Red Foxes with five assists. For the season Gardner is averaging 18.6 points per game and is Marist’s leading scorer.
Heading into a Sunday afternoon game at Manhattan, the Peacocks had won three of their last five. Mason is convinced there is time to make a run. The coach also pointed out how a good part of the year was one of transition. "We had a new coaching staff and a lot of new players who had to get comfortable with our system," he said. "It’s just something that takes time but is now coming together."
At the halftime MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor was honored. Ensor is retiring after decades of outstanding service to the conference. Ensor was presented with a plaque with the number ‘75’ on it. That was the year Ensor, a Saint Peter’s alum, graduated from the school. Saint Peter’s AD Rachelle Paul presented Ensor with the plaque. Paul, incidentally, was hired by Ensor in her first position in athletics.