Saint Peter’s beats Monmouth 58-34 in 6 a.m. start

There were plenty of one-liners to go around for a game that started at 6 a.m.

From Reveille being played instead of the national anthem to pajamas replacing warmups to the coolers being filled with coffee rather than Gatorade.

Nothing, though, could have been better than the truth.

The first basket of Saint Peter’s 58-34 pre-dawn victory over Monmouth on Tuesday was scored by Ryan Bacon.

“I’ve always heard jokes about my name, but I never heard them this early,” Bacon said after starting the Peacocks on their way to the victory.

Then reality hit the 6-foot-7 sophomore forward.

“I have a quiz in my International Management class at 9:30,” he said about an hour before the class was to start.

Very little was normal for the game that was part of ESPN’s Tip-Off Marathon, which got under way 6 hours before this tipoff.

“Every alarm in the house went off at 3 a.m.,” Saint Peter’s coach John Dunne said. “My wife wasn’t too happy.

“I was a little concerned when I went in our locker room at 5 a.m. and our guys were dancing,” he said. “I didn’t want to lose that energy we would need for the next 3 hours.”

Most of the players said they had trouble sleeping because of how excited they were to be playing a nationally televised game.

There was another reason being home wasn’t a big advantage.

“They had the pep rally going in the bubble all night, and that’s right next to the dorm, so that made it impossible to sleep,” said Wesley Jenkins, who led the Peacocks (1-1) with 10 points.

Monmouth (1-2) boarded the team bus at 3:15 and arrived in Jersey City about an hour later because there wasn’t much traffic except for delivery trucks.

“I got up at 2 a.m.,” Hawks coach Dave Calloway said. “I can honestly say I have gotten in at that time a lot more than I have woke up.”

Although the Peacocks didn’t seem to have any trouble with the early start time, the same could not be said for the Hawks, who struggled from the field all game, finishing 10 of 47 (21.3 percent), including making just two of 13 from 3-point range.

Saint Peter’s took a 27-16 halftime lead and pulled ahead by as many as 26 points, 53-27 on a basket by Darius Conley with 3:48 to play.

Conley and Steven Samuels both had nine points for the Peacocks, who were urged on by a contingent of students who spent most of the night at that pep rally.

“We played with great energy, and we got a lot of it from the students,” Dunne said. “Hopefully, this snowballs for us.”

Travis Taylor led Monmouth with 12 points.

“I told my team with about 3 minutes to go that I thought we played hard and did a decent job defensively,” Calloway said. “I thought Saint Peter’s played harder, and that had nothing to do with 6 a.m. They were ready. Offensively, we were a little poor, and that had more to do with this being our third emotional game in five days.”

Dunne said he would be 100 percent behind another chance at a game like this.

So was Calloway.

“I would do it again, and I would love for it to be a rematch at our place,” he said. “Same bat time, same bat channel.”