Saint Peter's (6-6, 0-1) vs Monmouth (4-9, 0-1)
Sunday, December 31 – 12:00 PM
Yanitelli Center – Jersey City, NJ
The Saint Peter's men's basketball team closes out the 2017 calendar year at home on New Year's Eve with an hOURglass Rivalry meeting against Monmouth University at 12pm. The Peacocks will look to remain unbeaten at the Yanitelli Center after an unblemished non-conference record in Jersey City. Both teams seek their first conference victory after losses in their respective MAAC openers.
hOURglass RIVALRY WITH THE HAWKS
Sunday afternoon's battle will be the 36th all-time between the two New Jersey rivals dating back to 1963-64. The Peacocks lead the all-time series against the Hawks, 23-12, and the two teams have split the series 4-4 with both teams as members of the MAAC.
LAST SEASON'S SERIES
The two in-state rivals split last season's series, with the home team winning both contests. In the first meetings on January 2 in Jersey City, the Peacocks knocked off the Hawks, 71-61, which was the only double-figure MAAC loss of the season for Monmouth and one of two MAAC regular season losses for the eventual regular season champion. In the second game on February 3 in West Long Branch, the Hawks earned a close, 71-70 overtime victory over the Peacocks.
MONMOUTH SCOUTING REPORT
The Monmouth University Hawks enter the rivalry matchup with a 4-9 overall record and a 0-1 MAAC mark. Monmouth limps into Jersey City, having been defeated in five out of its last six, and eight out its last 10 contests. The Hawks most recently fell in their MAAC opener to Quinnipiac, 78-76, on Thursday night in Hamden, CT. Monmouth is led by All-Conference junior guard, Micah Seaborn, who ranks ninth in the MAAC, averaging 15.7 points per game.
LAST TIME OUT
Saint Peter's opened the MAAC schedule with a defeat at the hands of Fairfield on Thursday, falling 70-61 in Bridgeport, CT. Freshman guard, Elijah Gonzales, played the best game of his collegiate career, leading the Peacocks in scoring with a career-high 16 points, in steals with a career-best four thefts, and in assists handing out three dimes, while also tying his career-best rebounding mark of three in the game.
The Peacocks tip-off for the first time in the new year on the road at two-time defending MAAC champion, Iona College on Friday, January 5. The game will be the first MAAC wildcard broadcast of the 2017-18 season, airing live on ESPNU at 7pm.
After finishing fourth in the country in scoring defense last season, John Dunne's squad is back among the nation's best in the category this year. The Peacocks are again at the forefront of the MAAC defensively, as Dunne's teams have done the past four straight seasons dating back to 2013-14, currently leading the conference in scoring defense, field goal percentage defense, three-point field goal defense, and turnover margin.
AMONG THE MAAC LEADERS
Nick Griffin and Quinn Taylor both sit among the MAAC leaders in multiple statistical categories so far this season. Griffin ranks top 15 in scoring (10th), free throw percentage (ninth), three-point field goals made (ninth), and minutes played (fifth). Taylor ranks top 10 in rebounds (fifth), offensive rebounds (seventh), defensive rebounds (ninth), and steals (tied for seventh). Additionally, freshman Elijah Gonzales ranks second in three-point field goal percentage and tied for seventh in steals, while Samuel Idowu ranks seventh in blocked shots.
MAAC OPENING CAREER NIGHT FOR GONZALES
Freshman guard, Elijah Gonzales played the best game of his collegiate career in the MAAC opener at Fairfield (December 28), leading Saint Peter's in four statistical categories and setting new career-marks in three. Gonzales led the Peacocks in scoring with a career-high 16 points, in steals with a career-best four thefts, and in assists handing out three dimes, while also tying his career-best rebounding mark of three in the game.
NON-CONFERENCE PERFECTION AT THE YANITELLI CENTER
Saint Peter's men's basketball posted a perfect 3-0 non-conference record at the Yanitelli Center for the first time ever under head coach John Dunne and for the first time since the 2005-06 season, which also witnessed a 3-0 home record in non-conference action.
PEACOCKS DOMINATE NEC
The Peacocks recorded a perfect 4-0 record against the Northeast Conference (NEC) during non-conference play, earning wins over Sacred Heart (November 18), Fairleigh Dickinson (November 29), LIU Brooklyn (December 17), and St. Francis Brooklyn (December 23).
ENDING A SERIES ROAD DROUGHT
The Peacocks road win over LIU Brooklyn (December 17) ended a seven-game losing streak for the road team in the series between both programs after the home team had been victorious in every meeting since 2006-07.
Quinn Taylor put together a three-game stretch, where he recorded double-figure rebounds in all three games. He snagged 14 at Lafayette (November 26), against FDU he picked up 10 (November 29), and at Elon he grabbed 12 (December 2).
HOME OPENING STATEMENT WIN
The Peacock's 24-point home opening blowout win over Fairleigh Dickinson was tied for the largest home opening win margin by a John Dunne team, tying the 2009-10 team which defeated, then NEC member Monmouth, 58-34, in the Yanitelli Center.
Nick Griffin poured in a career-high, 37 points at Lafayette (November 26). Griffin's 37 points were the most in a game by a Peacock player since Hall of Famer, Keydren "Kee Kee" Clark, scored 43 points against Canisius on February 24, 2006. He became the first men's basketball player from Saint Peter's to score over 30 points in a game since Antwon Portley tallied 30 points against Brown on November 13, 2015 and he was the first Peacock to surpass the 30-point threshold on the road since Desi Washington dropped 34 at Seton Hall on December 14, 2013.
FIRST CAREER DOUBLE-DOUBLES
Quinn Taylor recorded the first double-double of his career and the first of the season for Saint Peter's with his 12 points and his 14 rebounds at Lafayette (November, 26). Mamadou Ndiaye registered his first career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds at LIU Brooklyn (December 17).
Nick Griffin was named to the All-Tournament team at the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament in Uncasville, CT. Griffin averaged a team-best, 14.5 points per game in the four contests and combined for a team-high of 31 points in the two games at Mohegan Sun Arena.
CAREER NIGHT FOR BACKCOURT IN TIP-OFF SEMIS
The starting backcourt duo of Nick Griffin and Davauhnte Turner combined to score 41 points, as both players set career marks in the Peacocks win over Sacred Heart. Griffin scored a then career-high, 23 points and Turner scored a then career-best, 18 points in the game.
PRESEASON ALL-MAAC HONORS
Nick Griffin (Rockville, MD/George Washington/Col. Zadok Magruder) earned a spot on the Preseason All-MAAC Third team after making his case as one of the league's top three-point threats in his first season as a Peacock in 2016-17.
PEACOCKS SELECTED EIGHTH BY COACHES IN PRESEASON POLL
The Peacocks were selected eighth by the coaches in the preseason coaches' poll, receiving 44 votes after finishing second in 2016-17 and making an appearance in the MAAC semifinal round.
HISTORICAL SEASON LAST YEAR WINNING THE CIT
Saint Peter's, put together one of the programs most historical seasons last year. The Peacocks capped off the 2016-17 season by winning the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT). The Peacocks closed out the season winning 11 out of their last 12 games and finished the season with a 23-13 overall record, which was tied for the second most wins in a single season by a Peacock team. Saint Peter's became the second MAAC team ever to win a national postseason tournament and the first team from New Jersey to win a national postseason tournament title since Princeton in the 1975 NIT. The Peacocks compiled a 14-6 MAAC record in 2016-17, winning the most conference games in program history and finishing second in the league for the first time since 1989.
MEET THE 2017-18 SQUAD
The Peacocks return two starters and five letterwinners from last year's championship team.
GRADUATES AND RETURNING STARTERS
Graduates Nick Griffin (Rockville, MD/George Washington/Col. Zadok Magruder) and Nnamdi Enechionyia (Springfield, VA/Samford/St. James School) are the team's only returning starters from last year's squad. Griffin appeared in all 36 games for Saint Peter's last season, making 24 starts. He made his mark behind the three-point arc, knocking in 75 trifectas, the ninth most amongst MAAC shooters. Griffin hit 41.7 percent of his three-point field goal attempts, the sixth ranked percentage in the conference and he hit at least one three-point field goal in all but five games and made four or more threes seven times in 2016-17. Griffin is the Peacock's highest scoring returning player after averaging 8.8 points last year. His career game came on November 18 against Lipscomb, when he poured in 21 points and hit a career-high six shots from downtown.
Enechionyia appeared and started in all 36 Peacock games a year ago. Enchionyia averaged 4.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game during the 2016-17 campaign. His best performance came in the CIT semifinals against Furman, when he scored 18 points after connecting on four of five three-pointers.
Samuel Idowu (Brooklyn, NY/Lafayette Educational Complex), Mamadou Ndiaye (Laurel, MD/Oakland Mills), and Quinn Taylor (Amarillo, TX/Tascosa) are three returning letterwinners. Idowu is the team's rebounding returning leader and second highest returning scorer after averaging 2.8 rebounds and 5.9 points.
Ndiaye appeared in 32 games last year and averaged 1.7 points and 1.3 rebounds.
Taylor appeared in all 36 games for the Peacocks last season and averaged 2.1 points and 2.4 rebounds.
TIME TO SUIT UP
WELCOME TO JERSEY CITY
The Peacocks welcome six newcomers to the lineup this season. The additions include two JUCO transfers, three true freshmen, and one walk-on. Jeremiah Livingston (Stamford, CT/Odessa College/Westhill) and Julian Powell (Baytown, TX/Lee College/Goose Creek Memorial) come to Jersey City after playing two seasons at junior colleges. Manny Dixon (Lawrenceville, NJ/Notre Dame), Elijah Gonzales (Portland, OR/Clackamas), and Mikko Johnson (Brooklyn, NY/Brooklyn HS for Law and Technology) join the squad as freshmen. Dixon and Gonzales will see playing time in 2017-18, while Johnson will take a redshirt year and sit out the season. Amir Hicks (Paterson, NJ/St. Mary's) is a sophomore walk-on who is new to the team.
ABOUT THE COACHING STAFF
John Dunne enters his 12th season at the helm of the Saint Peter's University Men's Basketball team. He is coming off his most successful season at Saint Peters. Last season was an exciting one with 23 wins (second highest in school history) and culminating with the program's first ever-national post season tournament championship in the CollegeInsider.com Post Season Tournament. The CIT proved to be challenging with three very difficult road victories. The Peacocks came from behind in all three road wins, including the championship game at Texas A&M Corpus Christi.
The Saint Peters Men's Basketball team also delivered the most wins in school history for a MAAC season with 14. They finished 14-6 in league play and second place overall.The Peacocks had a very impressive 18-6 record after Jan. 1st, while winning 11 of their last 12 games.
The exciting year also brought about two All-MAAC selections in Quadir Welton (First Team) and Trevis Wyche (Second Team). The team was also rewarded with the program's first ever MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, Chazz Patterson. In addition, Welton was named as the CIT Most Valuable Player.
Over the course of the last three seasons, the Peacocks have had four wins in the MAAC Tournament including two semi-final appearances. They have had double digit wins in the MAAC in each of the last two years.
He led the 2011 squad to his first 20 win season, the 2011 MAAC Tournament title, and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. During that season, he was also named a finalist for the 2011 Skip Prosser Award.
Dunne has victories over Power Five Conference programs such as Alabama (50-49 in 2010-11), Rutgers (65-58 in 2007-08, 56-52 in 2012-13, 68-50 in 2013-14) and Seton Hall (83-80 OT in 2013-14).
Dunne was a four-year letter winner for the Ithaca men's basketball team from 1988-92. He helped the team to a 61-47 mark in his four seasons, including an 18-10 record in his junior campaign. Dunne left as the Bombers all-time leader with 168 career steals and he dished out 376 career assists to rank third upon the completion of his playing career. He also ranks on the single-season steal list, sitting in second place after recording 60 steals as a senior and tied for ninth with 52 steals in his junior year.
He earned a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Ithaca and Master's degree in Sports Management at East Stroudsburg in 1996.
A Queens, N.Y. native, he played his high school basketball for the late legendary head coach Jack Curran at Archbishop Molloy High School.
He is married to Marlene Burchfield Dunne, Ph.D., who serves as the U.S. Vice President of Assessment Services for SHL, an International Human Resources Consulting Firm. They reside in Florham Park, N.J. with their two children, Chloe and Brady.
Assistant coaches Matt Henry and Serge Clement each return to the bench for their fifth seasons under Dunne, while Dalip Bhatia rejoins Dunne's coaching staff after departing in 2013 after five seasons. Bhatia was a member of the coaching staff during the 2011 MAAC championship run.
JK Schneiderman returns for his third season as the director of basketball operations.
Matthew Johnston joins the staff in 2017-18 as the coordinator of basketball operations and video.