Saint Peter's (5-24) at Iona Gaels (23-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, February 26th, 5:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hynes Athletic Center (2,611) -- New Rochelle, New York. Television: None. Home Record: SPC 3-10, Iona 9-1. Away Record: SPC 2-12, Iona 12-4. Neutral Record: SPC 0-2, Iona 3-1. Conference Record: SPC 4-13, Iona 14-3. Series Record: Saint Peter's leads, 47-46.
GAME NOTES: Two teams occupying opposite ends of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings meet in the regular season finale today, as the Iona Gaels entertain the Saint Peter's Peacocks.
This season has been a dreadful one for Saint Peter's as it has won only five games in 29 opportunities, and though four of those wins came in MAAC play, it is still in ninth place with a 4-13 league ledger. The Peacocks are in the midst of a six-game losing streak, with its latest defeat coming to Niagara on Friday, 59-56.
Iona has enjoyed a fantastic season at 23-6 overall and it has clinched the MAAC regular season crown with a 14-3 league mark. It has challenged itself outside of conference as well, notching impressive wins over Saint Joseph's, Maryland, Denver and Nevada. The Gaels have won four in a row and nine of their last 10 games, including a 77-72 decision over Fairfield on Friday.
After 93 all-time meetings between these two teams, Saint Peter's holds the slimmest of margins, 47-46, although Iona has caught up in recent years by winning four of the last five matchups, with the most recent being a 64-40 verdict in Jersey City on January 29.
Saint Peter's has the worst offense in the MAAC as it averages a mere 58 ppg on 40.1 percent field goal efficiency, and it has been especially poor lately, putting up less than that average in eight of its last 10 games. The team's struggles continued against Niagara, as the Peacocks connected on just 37.3 percent of their total shots and 3-of-20 from three-point range. The poor shooting effort spoiled a great defensive performance as they held Niagara to a woeful 11-of-43 from the field, though they did send the Purple Eagles to the foul line 38 times. Darius Conley has been the Peacocks' top performer this year, scoring 11.3 ppg and ranking seventh in the conference in rebounding with 7.3 rpg. Chris Prescott chips in 10.4 ppg, but does so on just a 34.1 percent shooting effort. Saint Peter's is not effective from beyond the arc, ranking next-to-last in the conference in both three-pointers made (147) and three-point field goal percentage (.318).
Iona has the most potent scoring attack in the nation, ranking first in points per game at 83.1 while draining just below 50 percent of its total shots. The Gaels continued their offensive onslaught against Fairfield by shooting 53.8 percent from the field, and they were led by Sean Armand, who tallied 17 points. Though Armand averages just 9.6 ppg on the season, he has picked things up lately with 17.2 points over the last five. Iona has the good fortune of having one of the best playmakers in the country on its side in Scott Machado, who averages 13.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg, and ranks first in the nation in assists with 10 per game. As the MAAC's leading scorer, Mike Glover (18.3 ppg) has been the primary beneficiary of Machado's ball-handling skills. Glover also has the best field goal percentage in the conference (.642) and he ranks second in rebounding (9.2 rpg). Machado's running mate at the guard position is Lamont Jones, who puts up 15.9 ppg.
As if this matchup wasn't lopsided enough, Iona has lost just one game at home in 10 tries this season. Saint Peter's can only hope that the game doesn't get out of hand too early.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iona 85, Saint Peter's 62
02/26 10:31:52 ET