It was yet another overtime heartbreaker for Marist on Friday night as they fell 65-61 to Monmouth at home, their fourth loss in five games.
“I’m disappointed for our fans,” said Marist head coach John Dunne. “But I’m disappointed for the guys in that room.”
Marist entered the contest with a 5-9 record in the conference and was looking to bounce back from a two-game skid. The Red Foxes fell 64-66 on the road in their previous meeting against Monmouth in a game where John Dunne’s squad held a lead for only 2:46 of the game. The Hawks entered the night in fourth place among the MAAC standings with hopes to keep pace with the upper echelon of the conference after suffering losses in three of their last four games.
“If people knew how hard that they worked and how hard we’re working,” said Dunne. “That competitive spirit on that court, to me, is phenomenal. This is about winning and losing, I understand that. But we’re going to keep playing hard.”
A sluggish start to the game saw both teams combine for two made field goals in the opening 6:10. A sloppy first half offensively for both teams saw Monmouth fail to convert a three-point attempt on ten tries. It wasn’t much better for the Red Foxes as they shot just seven-for-24 from the field and committed 11 turnovers to just five assists. The Hawks took a small one-point lead into the break after a last second layup made by junior guard George Papas. The Red Foxes were held scoreless in the final 4:16 of the first half and the first 3:18 of the second half, combining for a 7:34 scoring drought.
The second half began with a flurry of runs back and forth until Monmouth ballooned its lead to 12, its largest of the game. Marist chipped away at the lead until back-to-back Matt Herasme three pointers put the Red Foxes up three with just 18 seconds to go. A nearly immediate foul on the other end of the court was committed by Herasme on Ray Salnave while shooting a three. Salnave was able to convert all three free throws to tie the game. A missed three pointer from Braden Bell and follow form Tobias Sjoberg as time expired sent the game to overtime. Monmouth would go on to dominate the overtime period and take their ninth MAAC win of the season.
“We’ve had a lot of opportunities for game-winners,” said Dunne. “And we’re zero for four or five at the end of regulation and overtime. We’ve missed them. If four out of five of those go in, things look a little different in the standings.”
Tyler Sagl was Marist’s leading scorer with 16 points on a red hot five-for-11 from the perimeter. The deep threat was a common theme for the Red Foxes as 41 of Marist’s 55 shots from the field were from the perimeter. Matt Herasme and Braden Bell contributed 15 & 12, respectively. Marist was outscored in the paint 36-8 in the loss.
“I thought we fought hard,” said Sagl. “First half and second half. Really proud of my guys and I think we did a really good job towards the end. We were down ten with about seven minutes left and we showed our resilience and fought back.”
Monmouth was led by Ray Salnave with 13 points and a perfect nine-for-nine from the charity stripe. George Papas and Melik Martin both pitched in 12 and ten off of the bench in the overtime win. The first Monmouth three pointer did not come until the 17:27 mark of the second half when sophomore guard Samuel Chaput finally hit the Hawks’ 11th attempt from the perimeter. King Rice’s squad struggled from the perimeter shooting just three for 21 in the victory.
“When we’re winning games, we’re making threes,” said Dunne. “When we came back tonight, we were making threes. The reality is, we got some good shooters and we’ve got better shooters than we have playmakers right now. When we’re open from three, we’ve got to shoot the ball. A lot of the shots that we missed in the overtime and leading up to that I’ll take every day of the week.”
Monmouth improves to 15-11 overall and 9-6 in the MAAC with the win. The Hawks will travel back home to New Jersey to take on Quinnipiac on Sunday.
Marist falls to 6-18 overall and 5-10 in conference with the loss. The Red Foxes have a quick turnaround and will face Niagara at home on Sunday afternoon.