Saint Peter's
Photo Credit: Tony Maddox

Saint Peter's Repeat Cinderella Hopes Crushed

It was a bad night for the Saint Peter’s Peacocks in round one of the NCAA Men’s Tournament against the Tennessee Volunteers. The Peacocks do not have another Cinderella run in them as they fell 83-49.

First Half

The Peacocks struggled to put points on the board right from the tip-off. Tennessee dominated the entire first half as Saint Peter’s could not get into a rhythm on offense. Tennessee led at the half 46-20.

The story of the first half was the Peacocks not being able to shoot well from the field. They shot 7-30 from the field and 4-15 from three. Saint Peter's was also unable to hit their free throws, shooting just 2-of-7 from the line.

Corey Washington, who was their leading scorer all year, had zero points in the half, shooting 0-5 from the field. The leading scorer for the Peacocks in the opening half was senior guard Latrell Reid, with nine points.

The Peacocks were also getting out rebounded 25-11 in the half which made for a big difference, but that was mainly because the Peacocks could not hit anything all half.

Turnovers were not even an issue for them as they won the turnover battle against Tennessee, with only having three compared to Tennessee’s five.

The issue was they could not stop the Volunteers, who shot 16-25 from the field and 4-9 from three. They also sent Tennessee the line 16 times, in which Tennessee hit 10 of them.

Tennessee dominated in the paint all half, with 20 points in the paint compared to Saint Peter’s four. Star player Dalton Knecht was showing out for the Volunteers with 13 points in the half on 5-8 shooting.

Forward Jonas Aidoo also had a solid first half with 13 points as well. Saint Peter’s was coming in as the massive underdog and if you want to pull off the upset, you need to be able to hit on all cylinders.

The Peacocks came into the game outmatched, out of synch offensively, and struggled to get anything going. They could not slow down Tennessee’s high-powered offense. In result, you have a first half blow out that would be hard for any team to overcome.

Second Half

As the second half came and went, the final score ended up being a big Tennessee win with an 83-49 score. For the half, Tennessee won 37-29 which seems a lot more competitive than the first half, but the Volunteers coasted by.

The biggest factor in the half was both teams got to the free throw line a lot. Tennessee only went 9-29 from the field in the half, but they did go an impressive 7-13 from three. From the free throw line, they went 8-9.

For the Peacocks, they only had a minor increase shooting from the field going 9-25. They could not make a three though all half going 0-9. They did improve from the free throw line though, going 11-12.

The one positive out of all this for Saint Peter’s was that they dominated the turnover battle in this half only having three turnovers to the Volunteers' 10. In total, the Peacocks had six turnovers to Tennessee's 15. It was not enough to make a difference, though, as Tennessee dominated in every other aspect of this game. They shot better from the field, they outrebounded the Peacocks and shared the ball better as Tennessee had 19 assists to the Peacocks' 10.

Knecht was the star player of the game for Tennessee like he has been all year, giving them 23 points tonight. For Saint Peter’s, it was a disappointing showing for Washington, who only scored two points on 1-9 shooting.

The first half deficit was too much to overcome to begin with, but Tennessee never took their foot off the gas, just dominating the entire game over Saint Peter’s. The Peacocks never had a chance from the tip-off. The Jersey team would have loved to make another magical Cinderella story in March, but the Volunteers shut that down on opening day of the tournament.

Tennessee will look to make a deep run in the tournament while the Peacocks are coming back home to Jersey with their heads held high after earning a bid into March Madness for the second time in three years.

Keep it here with Jersey Sporting News as we continue to follow all New Jersey athletes participating in the Men's and Women's postseason tournaments.