Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
St. Peter’s Senses Big Opportunity Against The Hall
Seton Hall recently lost its best player to injury, while St. Peter’s just got theirs back.
With senior guard Wesley Jenkins back in the fold, the Peacocks (2-3) have a chance for a big win Monday at the Prudential Center against the Pirates (2-3), who are playing without leading scorer Jeremy Hazell, out with a broken wrist.
“I just think at the end of the day we’ve got to play really well to beat them, with or without Hazell,” said St. Peter’s coach John Dunne, a former Seton Hall assistant under Louis Orr.Eugene Harvey hit a one-handed 28-footer at the buzzer to lift Seton Hall to a 53-51 victory last year. This year’s game will be shown at 7 p.m. on SNY.
Jenkins returned Saturday from a partially torn ACL suffered Oct. 1 and scored 13 points on 4 of 11 shooting in 29 minutes in a 65-62 victory over LIU.
Dunne said his star was “sore” during practice Sunday.
“Obviously, he’s 100 percent healed,” Dunne said. “As far as not being in game shape and being rusty, I played him more yesterday than I wanted to.”
St. Peter’s is obviously looking to win this game, but one factor to keep in mind is that the Peacocks have league games Thursday (at Loyola, Md.) and Saturday (Manhattan), meaning Dunne will have to manage Jenkins’ minutes.
“You never want to think ahead,” Dunne said. “You always want to win the game you’re playing. But you also gotta be smart.”
Both Seton Hall and St. Peter’s participated in the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands. Both clubs went 1-2, beating Alabama for their only wins.
Hazell, a first-team All-Big East pick, scored 27 points in the victory over Alabama, but broke the scaphoid bone in his left wrist.
He left the Virgin Islands to return home to see a hand specialist, and Seton Hall has not commented since initially saying he would be out 4-6 weeks.
Pirates coach Kevin Willard did not return phonecalls or text messages seeking further comment.
“Obviously, they’re better with Hazell,” Dunne said. “I’m not going to deny that. At the end of the day they’re still Big East players, still a Big East team. They’re a little bigger, a little stronger.
“We have to play very well to beat them. I don’t think they’ll be as explosive a scoring team from the perimeter without him but they’re a very good transition team and they can get a lot of paint scores if you’re not ready and focused to battled against that.”
Still, without Hazell, and with Jenkins, the Peacocks know they have a big opportunity ahead of them.
Said Dunne: “It’s always great for your program when you can perform well or beat a so called higher level team.”
Dunne also said sophomore guard Steven Samuels suffered a “deep bone bruise” in the LIU game but was “probable” for Seton Hall.
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.