Marist escaped a trip to New York City with a gritty 71-66 victory over MAAC foe Manhattan earlier on Saturday. With the win, the Red Foxes move to a perfect 3-0 in conference road games.
It took until Thursday’s home loss to Rider for Marist to play a game decided by less than 10 points. In another too close for comfort contest, the Red Foxes made some crucial mistakes that helped their opponent stick around, but ultimately came away with an important conference win.
Marist (now 12-3, 5-1 in the MAAC) was led in scoring by Rebekah Hand with 24 points. The senior, who struggled against Rider, was back to her old self, finishing nine-of-13 from the field. Grace Vander Weide finished with 12 points and nine assists, and Alana Gilmer fought through foul trouble to add 11 of her own. Allie Best, getting the start for an injured Sarah Barcello was the fourth Red Fox in double-digits with 10, a season-high.
“We wanted to bounce back from the Rider loss,” said Hand. “We started slow, but we got our feet under ourselves and came back from an early deficit.”
Manhattan (7-9, 4-3 in the MAAC) also had four in double-figures. Emily LaPointe finished with a team-high 18. Julie Hoier and Sydney Watkins both had 14 and Gabby Cajou chipped in with 10.
Marist trailed 15-14 after the first quarter, in which Manhattan went on a 9-0 run punctuated by a trio of successive threes. The Red Foxes harkened back to last year’s contest in Riverdale when they trailed after one but outscored the Jaspers 21-2 in the second frame. Using those fond memories and a bench that did not see much time against Rider, they outscored Manhattan by 11 and took a 35-25 advantage to the locker room.
Much like Thursday’s game, Marist did their best to break the game open in the third quarter. Willow Duffell hit a three on the first possession of the half to make it 38-25. The Red Foxes continued to keep the Jaspers at arm’s length, and after a Vander Weide layup off a nice assist from Best, the lead was 50-38.
Marist shot a scintillating nine-of-12 from the field in the third quarter. Despite a 75 percent performance from the field, the Red Foxes were outscored by Manhattan to the tune of 26-20. The Jaspers broke out a press that befuddled Marist and led to six turnovers and many easy baskets. A three-pointer from Watkins just before the buzzer helped Manhattan cut the lead to 55-51 entering the fourth quarter.
“One of these days I will sub and get people some rest,” said head coach Brian Giorgis, who has perhaps the deepest team in the MAAC. “You could see that we tired and out of position on the defensive end and credit to Manhattan for attacking so well, but I’ve got to do a better job getting more people in… I know they can play.”
After LaPointe split a pair of free throws to make it 55-52, Duffell and Gilmer hit shots to stretch the lead back to seven. Then Hand went to work, making a layup and splashing a three to put the Red Foxes up 64-54 with 6:47 remaining.
The Jaspers, however, were not finished, a Hoier layup capped a 7-0 run and cut the lead to 64-61. With the score sitting at 66-63 and Marist trying to avoid coughing up a late lead for the second consecutive game, Vander Weide dished the ball to Hand. Without hesitation, she drained her second three of the quarter and gave the Red Foxes a six-point cushion with 3:07 left.
“We persevered, we survived and Bekah (Hand) made some big buckets down the stretch,” said Giorgis. “Grace (Vander Weide) also did a great job at the down stretch with those assists.”
Hand drained crucial free throws to extend to lead to 71-63 with 1:45 left. Manhattan could not execute a late-game comeback and the Red Foxes were able to come away with a crucial MAAC win.
Marist had another strong performance from the field, going 28-of-53 (53%). They also turned in an eight-of-16 mark from beyond the arc, a vast improvement from Thursday. The Red Foxes outrebounded the Jaspers 35-32 and finished with 23 assists compared to 14 turnovers.
Manhattan turned in a 25-of-63 (40%) performance from the field and a nine-of-24 (38%) clip from three. They equaled Marist with 14 turnovers but only managed 16 assists. The Jaspers could only manage two points from their bench.
The Red Foxes will be back in action on Thursday in the newly renovated McCann Center. They welcome Quinnipiac, who they have not beaten since December 2015. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Edited by Will Bjarnar