It didn’t take long for Marist men’s basketball head coach John Dunne to do his classic slump. Slouched over he buried his face into his left palm as if he was a middle school student who didn’t study for his algebra exam. Slumping because the task he faces may be much steeper than he imagined. Revitalizing a Division I basketball program that hasn’t sniffed success in what seems to be forever is never a fun process. But Dunne voluntarily allowed himself to be poached from his previous head coaching position at Saint Peter’s to transform a program that once boasted credibility. Tonight, Dunne is not pondering his life choices nor wavering on his decision to leave Saint Peters. His hands droop over his face because Saint Peters, the previous team he coached and loved, came out on a 7-0 run against his Red Foxes.
Previously both teams met in Jersey City where the Peacocks made easy work of the Red Foxes winning 66-40. But tonight, Dunne’s infamous slump turned into smiles and cheers as his Red Foxes sent Saint Peters back to Jersey City empty-handed. After the Peacocks quick start, the Red Foxes went into cruise control and dominated the rest of the game, winning handily, 72-61.
Jordan Jones led the game for the Red Foxes with 18 points and five rebounds. Branden Bell’s efforts should not go unnoticed as well. The sophomore from Texas posted 15 points and shot 66 percent from the field. Bell sent the half-filled McCann Arena into a frenzy after making back to back threes to start the second half. After the game, he mentioned he was proud of his teammates and the work they’ve been putting in. “It feels good to like get a dub today. We’ve just been working all season, so for our work to benefit us right now, that’s really good and we just got to keep it rolling.”
Dunne gave credit to his team’s intensity when asked about the game. “We were embarrassed down at Saint Peter’s in game one… We didn’t play with any energy and I thought our guys came out fired up to match their intensity,” he said of tonight’s win. “They are a really hard-playing team and I thought we matched their intensity. Obviously, we shot the ball really well and I’m just happy to get a win.”
As for the Peacocks, they have seen better days. Saint Peters head coach Shaheen Holloway seemed flustered on the bench and could often be heard berating his players in the huddle. The Peacocks did not seem to respond well to the criticism and had only two players above double digits in scoring.
The Red Foxes are arguably the hottest team in the MAAC right now, having won five out of their last nine games. They look to extend their win streak against Fairfield next Friday and remain undefeated against them. As for the Peacocks, they face the conference leader Monmouth this Sunday and will look to sweep them in their final meeting.
Edited by Karl Grant & Will Bjarnar