Marist is led wire-to-wire for the third consecutive game as the Red Foxes tumble to their 21st loss in a 71-52 defeat at Quinnipiac.
While a buzzer-beater ended in heartbreak for Marist their last time out, a buzzer-beater ended in celebration for Quinnipiac just minutes later on Friday night. Both programs have been struggling as of late but two important shots that were minutes apart just two nights prior seemed to give each team opposite trends coming into the meeting.
“It’s too many games now where we’re not ready and focused enough to start the game,” Marist head coach John Dunne said. “That’s where we lost.”
Marist came into the outing at 6-12 in the MAAC, looking to make one last push up the conference standings. The Red Foxes had suffered losses in five of their last six games and fell to Siena on a Jalen Pickett buzzer-beater on Friday night. Quinnipiac escaped Fairfield with their first road win in nearly a month on yet another MAAC buzzer-beater when Jacob Rigoni buried a three to take down the Stags. The Bobcats sat at eighth in the conference with an 8-10 record, going just 2-7 in their last nine games coming into Sunday’s senior day, a quiet afternoon for a team with zero seniors.
The opening half was unforgiving for John Dunne’s squad as they shot just six-for-27 from the field. A quick 11-3 run gave the Bobcats a lead that helped them keep the distance for the remainder of the half. Eight three-pointers and some stout defense gave Quinnipiac a 32-21 advantage heading into the break.
“We lost the game in the first half,” Dunne said. “We’re playing guys 37 minutes a game and it was our fourth game in seven days… I just think mentally we lost focus.”
The second half saw Marist make things interesting and cut into the double-digit halftime lead. The Red Foxes reduced the deficit to three on a Tyler Saint-Furcy three-pointer that made the score 39-36 with 12 minutes to play. But Quinnipiac would keep distance, never relinquishing the lead and cruising to the win and a season sweep of the Red Foxes. Marist has not led at any point in their last 120 minutes of play.
“They don’t ever give in and quit,” Dunne said of his team. “But if we want to change the ending to the story for this season, we have to stop turning the ball over and be ready to play in the first half.”
Sophomore forward Braden Bell and freshman guard Tyler Sagl were the lone Red Foxes in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Saint-Furcy and junior guard Michael Cubbage each had seven points for Marist. The Red Foxes shot just 15-for-51 from the field in the loss, though Sagl regained a bit of the stroke that had people marveling throughout the middle of the season. The freshman had taken only one three-pointer in his last two outings and was able to shoot three-for-five from deep on Sunday.
“We talked a little bit just about keeping his confidence,” Dunne said of Sagl’s improved performance. “He came out confident today looking to shoot the ball. They weren’t trying to just take him out of the game like some other teams have. We executed some sets and we got him some looks and he knocked them down today.”
Quinnipiac had four players reach double figures as junior guard Rich Kelly led the way with 17. Junior forward Kevin Marfo stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, and four blocks.
Quinnipiac improves to 14-15 overall and 9-10 in the MAAC with the victory. Baker Dunleavy’s squad will travel to Iona on Wednesday night for their regular-season finale.
Marist drops to 7-21 overall and 6-13 in the conference. The Red Foxes will come back to Poughkeepsie and celebrate senior night in their final game as they take on Canisius on Wednesday.
Edited by Will Bjarnar
Header photo by Mike Cahill