The Red Foxes hadn’t won a season opener since 2007-08. Until tonight.
The Keydets hadn’t lost a home opener since the 2005-06 season. Until tonight.
The Red Foxes never led the game, but tied it up three times, only pulling ahead during the final three seconds. Marist beat Virginia Military Institute (VMI) by a final score of 58-56 at Cameron Hall in what was a very tight game.
The game began in Marist’s favor as they won the tip-off. But soon after a turnover, sophomore center Jake Stephens got the first point of the game for the Keydets. During their season opener at East Carolina University on Tuesday, he tallied a total of 10 points. Needless to say, he was a concern for the Marist defense.
Junior forward Zion Tordoff, a transfer from Casper College who’s new to Marist this year, nailed the first of many free throw shots for the Red Foxes. The Keydets led the game in fouls, allowing Marist to capitalize on free throws, of which Marist took 13, nailing 10 as opposed to VMI’s eight, on which they only scored on three.
Though it was a relatively back and forth, minorly chaotic half, the first 20 minutes ended with VMI in the lead by nine points, 38-29.
“We got all our jitters out in the first half,” said Marist head coach John Dunne. Dunne is in his second season with the Red Foxes and has brought with him this season an unprecedented 10 new players to his scheme and roster. “When you have so many new guys, [it’s] understandable to be nervous at the start of a game.”
The Red Foxes really came alive in the second half behind a very strong performance from Michael Cubbage. The redshirt junior guard was the standout player, leading the game for points with 19, 15 of which he tallied during the second half. VMI’s Stephens was the player to come closest to him in the points count with 12, trailing behind Cubbage by seven.
With a little under 10 minutes left in the game, Marist freshman guard Tyler Saint-Furcy found his way hopping off the court on one foot. Saint-Furcy had been a high-scorer for the Red Foxes, finishing his evening with 10 points. Luckily for Marist, he was able to be back on the court with a little over seven minutes left in the game.
With one minute left in the second half and Marist trailing by two, Cubbage tied the game, keeping Marist in it with a score of 56-56. The Keydets then regained possession and called a timeout with 37 seconds left. The Red Foxes, however, regained control once again and – shocker — it was Cubbage with the layup that would win them the game. Just three seconds remained. It was all but over.
“In the second half, we got more of a handle on the game,” said Dunne. “We didn’t play tentatively. We were much more aggressive.”
The Red Foxes hope to take this momentum with them to their next game On Tuesday, November 12, against Hartford in the McCann Arena.
“We understand we have a really long way to go to get where we want to be,” Dunne continued. “But for right now, we’ll take it.”
Edited by Will Bjarnar
Header Image from Marist Athletics