“The Red Foxes hadn’t won a season opener since 2007-08. Until tonight.” That was written this past Friday about the men’s basketball team’s opening game, a time much more recent than it feels. A time when it felt like this season might be something different. But tonight, we learned it might be more of the same old picture we’ve seen in season’s past. The Hartford Hawks defeated Marist 62-51 in the team’s home opener, an effort that looked more hapless than the score indicates. As head coach John Dunne put it, “I thought we tried.”
Marist’s only lead of the game came within the first minute, and didn’t last through the second. From there, the Hawks held the lead for 38 out of the 40 minutes.
The highest scorer of the game, Hartford freshman guard Moses Flower, tallied all 16 of his points in the first half. And frankly, that’s about all that needs to be said about the first. Or, as Dunne put it, “that’s it.”
“The hardest thing in basketball is to continue with the defensive intensity when you’re not scoring,” he said. The notion was echoed by redshirt junior guard Michael Cubbage. “Like coach said, it’s just hard to play defense when you’re not scoring.”
The Hawks led the Red Foxes into the second half – and for the rest of the game – with a halftime score of 36-24, capped off by a beautiful buzzer-beating three-point shot by Hartford sophomore forward Hunter Marks.
The Red Foxes did show signs of coming alive at the end of the second half, but, as they say, it was too little too late. Had they played the first 30 minutes they way they played the last 10, the score may have (read: likely would have) been different. At the end, they held Hartford to 62 points.
The Marist lineup that really made a difference for the team in the second half consisted of freshman Tyler Saint-Furcy, redshirt sophomore Matt Turner, sophomores Darius Hines and Braden Bell, and junior Zion Turdoff. This particular squad consists of three men new to playing at Marist and two returning players. With them, the fire that lit up their final 10 minutes came with a Bell steal and three-pointer. Dunne took notice of his performance: “Braden Bell, went out of his area, got some nice rebounds for us, and played pretty well on offense.”
The highlight of the game came during a media timeout in the second half. At every game, fans are selected at random to participate in a variety of dorky competitions — a Lola’s Wrap shuffle, a game of knockout, for example. John from Poughkeepsie — the selection for tonight’s court-length putt — lined up a beautiful, wonderfully-aimed hole-in-one, earning himself a gift card. Inarguably, he was the most successful man to see the floor tonight. Well, except for the Hartford Hawks.
In the second half, the Red Foxes did outscore the Hawks, 27-26. But this wasn’t a tale of two halves. The whole tale was told in the first.
“It can be easy to hang your head and just quit. I don’t think we quit,” Dunne said. “We have a long way to go. Sure, we’re not happy about it, but we’ll get better.”
They will attempt to redeem themselves this Saturday when they face off at Fordham University at 7 p.m.
Edited by Will Bjarnar