What started as a first-half battle between the Marist Red Foxes and the Quinnipiac Bobcats didn’t take long to go sour. As the Red Foxes were looking to build on their momentum following their win on Monday against Manhattan, the Bobcats had other ideas and walked away 92-78 winners.
Quinnipiac’s scoring boom — the mark was their highest of the season — caused quite a headache for Coach Dunne’s squad. It wasn’t just the opposition’s offense, though. Within the first eight minutes of the game, freshman Luke Nedrow was ejected for a technical that left McCann roaring at the referees. While there seemed to be a lot of confusion on the court about what the foul was called for, Coach Dunne assured after the game, “Luke’s a great kid. He probably just made a mistake; he apologized to his teammates, and he already asked if he could apologize to Quinnipiac unprovoked.”
The first half ended in what still resembled a battle. The Foxes only trailed by two — 39-37– going into the locker room. The scoreboard and the game’s numbers might have said otherwise, but it really seemed as though Marist had controlled the game to that point. There were fewer turnovers than typical. The smart play was evident. The Foxes did a much better job moving the ball around on offense, creating extra touches on each possession and looking to find the open man. It led to a trend of smart shot selections.
The Foxes were no match for the Bobcats in the end, though. Quinnipiac’s Cameron Young was able to drain six total threes on his way to a total of 29 points, going nine of 13 from the field. Additionally, Rich Kelly poured in 22 points.
The collapse was disappointing, especially after such a great start to the game. When asked about conference play and trying to make it into the tournament, Coach Dunne said, “Honestly we are at a point right now where we can’t even think about anything other than just getting better tomorrow.” He also sent a message to the team, saying, “we have the ability to be able to get hot at the right time of the year if we don’t hang our heads and quit.” The turnaround has to be quick; the Red Foxes have slipped to 3-7 over their last 10 games, and next up is another tough opponent in Rider, who currently sits at 10-8.
What Coach Dunne had asked his players to buy into this offseason was a consistent defensive effort. Early on, this looked to be coming into fruition. During the press conference, David Knudsen, who led the team in scoring on seven of 12 shooting for 17 points, was asked about the frustrations that the team faced in the second half. He responded, saying, “since Coach Dunne came here, we’ve been really improving on defense, and even though we get going on offense, if we just keep exchanging baskets then it doesn’t really matter.” This sums up the night for the Foxes. They were able to put up points, but they simply could just not stop the Bobcats from scoring.
This Sunday Marist will take on the Rider Broncs in New Jersey as they try to avoid slipping further from the top of the MAAC. There is a lot of basketball left to be played. But for a team with defensive promise and a win count that borders on superior to any past total, Dunne’s words must reign true: “we can’t even think about anything other than just getting better tomorrow.”
Edited by Will Bjarnar