Marist Vs. Canisius: Men’s Basketball Battle to Avoid Last Place

Tobias Sjoberg is a senior from Malmo, Sweden who played his last regular season home game for the Marist Red Foxes. Its senior night and Marist decided to play the Sweden national anthem to honor their international teammate and his home country before the start of the game. The crowd is electric while Sjoberg’s name is called in the starting lineup.

The Marist Men’s Basketball team hosted the Canisius Golden Griffins Wednesday night for a MAAC Conference game to determine which team will finish at the bottom of the conference and which team will finish second to last in the conference going into the MAAC Tournament. The Red foxes last match with Canisius was February 2nd in which they lost by one (65-66), Michael Cubbage led the team in scoring with 16 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds.

Coach John Dunne mentions Tobias Sjoberg during the press conference as “The ultimate coaches dream”, embracing him for being unselfish and a team player and for having the coaching staffs back the whole way.

Sjoberg career averages might not wow you but he is a very important upper classmen in the locker room and that tends to be overlooked. Tobias Sjoberg was the sole survivor among players to continue with the Red Foxes after coach Dunne took over the head coach position two years ago and was a big vocal leader for the young inexperienced team.  

The Red Foxes went into the first half down by 11 points. They were shooting 12-for-23 (52.2%) from the field, 3-for-7 from behind the arc (42.9%) and 5-for-9 from the free-throw line (55.6%). Jordan Jones was leading the Foxes with shooting 5-for-5 from the field with 10 points followed by Matt Herasme shooting 1-for-2 from behind the arc, 2-for-2 from the free-throw line with seven points.

Canisius had been deciphering the Red Foxes defensive scheme accumulating many points from the back door and lead 43-32 going into the half.

We asked coach Dunne about how the opposing team continuously broke down their defensive sets, he responded stating, “you wouldn’t know it by tonight but we were third in the league in defensive efficiency, we have to get back to guarding with multiple efforts, we had a big lack of focus today and we have to learn from the things going on good and bad.”

Canisius was having a great first half shooting 15-for-30 (50%) from the field 5-for-9 from behind the arc (55.6%) and 8-for-9 from the free-throw line (88.9%). Majesty Brandon lead the team only missing one of six shots from the field with 14 points shooting a perfect 4-for-4 from behind the arc. This was followed by Jacco Fritz shooting 100% from the field with 10 points while also capturing seven rebounds in the process. The Griffins took advantage of the Red Foxes’ struggles maintaining possession by forcing nine turnovers within the first half of play.

At the start of second half Marist continued to rack up turnovers despite their hard efforts as Canisius seemed to be scoring at will. They continued shooting the ball sufficiently from the field with 50% from the field goal, as well as, shooting 55.6% from behind the arc. Majesty Brandon finished the game leading both teams in scoring tonight shooting 56% from the field racking up 23 points. He was followed by Malik Johnson shooting 66.7% from the field with 16 points and seven rebounds. Canisius biggest lead of the game was by 23 points with three minutes left in regulation. They forced Marist to turn the ball over 18 times while scoring 20 points off of it.

Marist now goes into the MAAC Tournament dead last in the standings and will most likely be facing off against Siena, St. Peters, or Monmouth. Coach Dunne’s mindset is to go down to Atlantic City and “win one game at a time.” He feels that his team can compete with any team in the tournament despite the standings.

Edited by Rebecca Rose

Header photo by Marist Athletics

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