With Marist College and Canisius College facing off on Wednesday night you would have thought either team had nothing to play for. It was quite the opposite however. They had everything to play for.
Conference rivals, both teams are closing out their regular season this week before beginning the MAAC Championships next week. With Canisius’s 85-69 victory over Marist this ensures the Red Foxes will be the #11 seed during the MAAC Championships. All eleven teams from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference qualify for the tournament. A win would have put the Red Foxes as the #10 seed allowing them to potentially avoid a tougher opponent. Head coach John Dunne isn’t concerned about who they face. He preached about how important it is to just try and take one game.
“All you have to do is get the first one. If you can get the first one then anything can happen from there and the league has shown this year anybody can beat anybody on any given night,” said Dunne.
While their record may not show for it, Marist has proven this year they can compete with anyone. The current #1 seed is Siena and even though the Red Foxes lost both games to them this year, they only lost by two points to them last week. The #2 seed is Saint Peters. While they lost the first game to them, their second time around the Red Foxes walked out with a 72-61 victory over them. Clearly the Red Foxes have what it takes to pull an upset next week.
Entering the night, the Marist Red Foxes had an overall record of 7-21, while the Canisius Golden Griffins entered 10-19. This loss has now put the Red Foxes conference record at 6-14, while the Golden Griffins take a half-game lead over them at 6-13. Even though Canisius has one regular season game left this Friday the result of that game will do nothing for the Red Foxes. Marist is guaranteed the #11 seed due to the two victories the Golden Griffins had over them this year.
While the Red Foxes have not had the season they would have hoped for, next week begins what is almost like a brand new season. Coach Dunne noted while it may be a fresh start it is important to not forget about everything this season.
“We have to learn from our mistakes and we have to continue to try and build on our strengths,” said Dunne.
As they prepare for the tournament being the favorite doesn’t guarantee anything. Marist College knows a thing or two about that. In the 2006-2007 season, they were the MAAC regular season champions. Despite being the favorite, they fell a game short of the finals that year. This is why Dunne expressed multiple times after the game how important it is to try and focus on just getting the first win.
The only senior, Tobias Sjoberg was also recognized before the game for his contributions to the program in what was the team’s final regular season game.
Still in search of their first MAAC Championship, The Red Foxes opening round opponent will be determined following the conclusion of MAAC regular season Friday, March 6th. Sienna, Saint Peters, Monmouth, Iona, Manhattan, and Fairfield all have one game remaining so there may be a shakeup coming soon that determines the final seeding.
Edited by Rebecca Rose
Header photo by Mike Cahill