Philadelphia, PA – The Saint Joseph’s Hawks are scheduled to play the Saint Peter’s Peacocks, today, Saturday December 10th. The Hawks will look to turn their season around with a home win against the Peacocks, as SJU has lost four of their last five games. Two of which include an embarrassing loss to Fairleigh Dickinson, as well as, a loss to Big 5 Rival Temple this past Tuesday.
Saint Peter’s on the other hand is off to a 4-4 start to their season. All of this after their incredible March Madness run last year in the 2021-22 NCAA tournament. Saint Peter’s is led by Sophomore Guard Jaylen Murray who has averaged 13.6 points, 3 rebounds and 3.4 assist a game. The Peacocks also have Isiah Dasher, a Senior guard, who is the only other player on the roster averaging double digit points this season.
In addition, Saint Peter’s has accumulated wins against NJIT, Bucknell, and Fairleigh Dickinson. FDU stands out heavily in those four as it is a team that the Hawks failed to beat earlier this season.
Keys to the Game
In addition to individual contributors, there are a few team stats that are worth noting. First, Saint Peters is third in the country in Personal Fouls allowed. Saint Joe’s would be wise to exchange their errant three point strategy for a methodical attack of the paint. Erik Reynolds, Lynn Greer, and Rasheer Fleming should take the ball into the lane, or the paint, on every play. They need to go for the old fashioned three point play rather than the modern three point play. If you put the Peacocks in foul trouble you force them to use their bench, and you give yourself opportunities to score inside. All while adding easy free throws to help expand the lead.
Another stat to keep in mind is shots allowed. Saint Peter’s has allowed the 9th most field goal attempts of any team in college basketball. This may be a blessing or a curse. If Saint Joe’s has these many shot attempts thanks to good defense, and rebounding, then it is a blessing. But if this game turns into a shoot out, where Saint Joe’s lets Saint Peter’s score so they can get the ball in their hands again, rather than defend, it will be a curse.
Either way, this stat isn’t as important to the outcome of the game. Instead, it’s a stat that could tell two different stories, depending on how these teams perform.
Saint Joe’s Season so Far
This match up looks more and more like a make or break game for Saint Joe’s, especially as the conference schedule approaches and the out of conference ‘buy games’ dwindle. As mentioned above, Saint Peter’s has beaten Fairleigh Dickinson this year. A team that embarrassed Saint Joe’s only one week ago. Additionally, the only win in the last two weeks for SJU was an OT win against Penn. A game in which Saint Joe’s had business no winning with the product they put out on the court.
Every game this season, outside of maybe Albany, has been filled with red flags which have continued to go unaddressed this season.
Those red flags include: Saint Joe’s inability to play defense, reduce turnovers, and run a competent offensive set. The worst part of it all is that this team never has energy or the will to win. They carry themselves in a way that appears like they don’t care. Sadly, all of this can be fixed by coaching, which is the most frustrating part. Game prep, and improved decision making, would take away a lot of these issues and reduce the constant in game mistakes. But after four years of the Coach Lange experience those changes never seem to happen.
However, what can the Hawks do against Saint Peter’s to the turn the season around? The question Hawk Hill has to be asking is this, “was the Fairleigh Dickinson loss one off fluke, or will a pattern emerge where they lose games they are favorited in?” SJU will need to come out swinging and put this Saint Peter’s team away early if they want to restore confidence with the fan base. Unfortunately, even I, who was once a staunch defender of being patient with this team, am down to my final straw. I can only imagine how the early skeptics feel now. The simple fact is we are at a point where Saint Joe’s can’t have another buy game that devolves into a mess. Coach Lange needs to handle Saint Peter’s early and put this game to rest, otherwise the hope for an above.500 season will quickly slip away.
The game is scheduled to tip off at 1:00 pm EST in Hagan Arena. The game will be aired on both NBC Sports Philadelphia as well as ESPN+.