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Saint Peter's (14-16) vs. Manhattan (22-7)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 8, 6:30 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: MassMutual Center (7,552) -- Springfield, Massachusetts. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Saint Peter's 8-5, Manhattan 9-3. Away Record: Saint Peter's 5-11, Manhattan 12-4. Neutral Record: Saint Peter's 1-0, Manhattan 1-0. Conference Record: Saint Peter's 9-11, Manhattan 15-5. Series Record: Manhattan leads, 72-48.

GAME NOTES: The Saint Peter's Peacocks had to go to overtime to take down Fairfield in the first round of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament on Thursday, and look to build on that when they battle the Manhattan Jaspers in the quarterfinals of the 33rd annual event at the MassMutual Center on Saturday.

The seventh-seeded Peacocks, winners of this tournament just three years ago with a 62-57 final over Iona, came on strong at the end of the 2013-14 regular season with four straight victories and wins in six of the final eight decisions. Two nights ago the squad was taken to overtime by the Fairfield Stags before pulling out a narrow 65-62 final in order to advance.

The second-seeded Jaspers are experiencing their best season in several years, losing back-to-back outings just once during the campaign, setbacks against top-seeded Iona and third-seeded Quinnipiac back in late January. Since then Manhattan has rattled off eight wins in nine tries, the only other loss coming at Siena by four points a few weeks ago.

Manhattan lost in the title game last season, but by a mere three points (60-57) and has taken home the big prize a total of three times, most recently in 2004 when it repeated as tourney champ.

In terms of the all-time series between these two programs, the Jaspers are on top by a mark of 72-48 after winning both meetings against Saint Peter's by double figures this season.

The survivor this time around will advance to the semifinals on Sunday to face off against the Niagara/Quinnipiac winner, for the right to take part in the title game on Monday.

Late in regulation against the Stags, Marvin Dominique knocked down the second of two free throws in order to knot the score at 58-58 and send the first- round meeting into overtime where Desi Washington broke a late tie with a successful 3-pointer in the waning moments for the Peacocks. Washington finished with 14 points, one of four starters in double figures for Saint Peter's, while Dominique registered a double-double consisting of 11 points and a game-high 13 rebounds as the team crushed the Stags on the glass, 42-26.

Quadir Welton, who had a couple of key free throws in overtime, and Trevis Wyche both tallied 10 points and combined for another 13 boards for a team that managed to come out on top despite shooting just 37.0 percent from the field and 3-of-9 behind the 3-point line. On a more positive note, the Peacocks did outscore Fairfield by a 22-13 margin at the charity stripe.

For one of the most successful road teams (12-4) in the country this season, George Beamon was the one to watch as the All-MAAC First Team selection dialed up 19.7 ppg, cranking out nearly one-third of all his points at the free-throw line. Not afraid of physical play, Beamon also stepped up to pace the program on the glass with 6.7 rpg as well, giving the Jaspers a slight advantage in that department over the competition.

Rhamel Brown (9.4 ppg) carved out a spot for himself on the All-MAAC Second Team as he accounted for another 5.8 rpg and was one of the nation's leaders with 110 blocked shots, which made it a little less painful to watch him shoot only 51.9 percent at the free-throw line overall, just 46.9 percent at the charity stripe in conference play. Michael Alvarado (12.4 ppg) had his own issues at the stripe (.645), but it was crucial to have him and his 118 assists on the floor as much as possible as the team generated 77.4 ppg and led the league in scoring margin (+6.9 ppg). Unfortunately, the latest news has Alvarado dealing with a sprained ankle and is currently listed as questionable just days before he is due to take the floor.

Even though the Peacocks were given a day to catch their breath, being pushed to the limit in a win-or-go-home setting is not easy to come back from. Taking into consideration the talent level that Saint Peter's now faces, it would take a lot for the team to move into the semifinals.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Manhattan 78, Saint Peter's 66

03/08 11:37:56 ET