For the first time in 31 years, the Marist Men’s Basketball team has brought home some tournament hardware. New head coach John Dunne and his Red Foxes dominated in Northern Ireland this past week during the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic.
The tournament is made up of eight teams split into two brackets: the Samson Bracket and Goliath Bracket. The Red Foxes found themselves in the Samson Bracket paired up with Dartmouth College. The other matchup in the bracket included eventual runners-up LIU Brooklyn and Albany.
Marist put on an impressive showing in their first game abroad. Three players scored 10 or more points, led by senior guard Brian Parker who put up 18. Parker, the eventual tournament MVP, managed eye-catching statistics in each game in Belfast, continuing his consistently productive play this season.
In the Samson Bracket final, Parker and company dispatched of LIU handily. This time around, four players posted double-figures including center Tobias Sjoberg who put up his most points of the season against Dartmouth, only to break that total again in the finale.
Long before the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference was born, Marist basketball played in the ECAC Metro Conference. Vying with schools including Wagner, Robert Morris, LIU and Loyola (MD), the Red Foxes claimed the Conference tournament title in 1986 and 1987. Though they claimed the regular season title as recent as 2007, Marist Men’s Basketball has its first knockout-style championship since ‘87.
They also displayed a bright future on a big stage. Freshman Darius Hines was a massive contributor to the Red Foxes’ success in Belfast, and was named to the All-Tournament Team. Hines has started every game so far this season, and posted 10+ points in three of those games. The rookie out of Maryland has also produced consistent rebounding and assisting numbers in his short career in the red and white.
Coach Dunne didn’t get off to exactly the start he wished to begin this year, leaving for Belfast with a 1-4 record. Now at 3-4, his Red Foxes look far more promising than last year’s squad that took 17 games to reach their third tally in the win column.
Marist won’t return to McCann Arena for a home game until the end of December, and begins MAAC play at the turn of the new year.
Edited by Will Bjarnar