After prevailing in overtime by a score of 68-65 yesterday, the Red Foxes have the opportunity to get a second straight win over the Binghamton Bearcats on Sunday afternoon. This will be Marist’s first game at McCann Arena this season, so head coach John Dunne will look to get his team off to a hot start at home.
The biggest story from yesterday’s contest was the utilization of redshirt senior Micheal Cubbage. The 6-foot-4 guard was the only ball handler that Dunne could trust last season, but a few newcomers have given his lead guard the opportunity to play off-ball at times. Freshman Ricardo Wright and junior transfer Raheim Sullivan were immediately slotted into the starting lineup, giving the team two more guards who can also make plays for their teammates.
Another positive for the Red Foxes is the improved free-throw shooting we witnessed in the first game of the season. Marist finished 10th in the MAAC at 64.8 percent from the line last year, but the team knocked down their shots from the charity stripe when they needed it most, shooting 16-20 from the line, including four key makes in overtime from Victor Enoh and Hakim Byrd. If Marist is going to prevail in the close games throughout this season, the team will need to continue their success from the line going forward.
One point of emphasis for Marist going into their second matchup with Binghamton will be containing sophomore Brenton Mills. The 6-foot-3 guard scored 20 points on eight-for-18 shooting from the field and three-for-six shooting from beyond the arc to open the season. He was the main source of offense for the Bearcats yesterday, so it will be key for the Red Foxes to make things difficult for him.
Another Binghamton player to watch out for is forward/center Thomas Bruce. The 6-foot-9 senior was a major presence in the paint against the Marist big men, as he was able to get inside and show a lot of physicality. Enoh and fellow center Jordan Jones will need to fight down low and stay out of foul trouble. If those two players can do a good job keeping Bruce in check, Marist will have a very good opportunity to win this game.
Offensively, a balanced attack for Marist will be crucial to keep the Binghamton defense on their toes. Cubbage, Wright, and junior forward Braden Bell all scored double digits in the last game, giving coach Dunne more than a few quality options on the offensive end. We could see players like Tyler Saint-Furcy, Enoh, and Jones come into their own and be offensive weapons in the second matchup of these teams.
The Bearcats fought hard and eventually sent yesterday’s game into overtime before the Red Foxes prevailed in the end. Without junior guard Matt Hersame for the time being, coach Dunne will need to rely on multiple guys to carry the offensive load. Marist showed a lot of maturity in the extra period to get their first win of the season, and I believe they will continue to progress today with another win over Binghamton.
Game Prediction: Marist defeats Binghamton 59 to 53.
Edited by Sam DiGiovanni
Featured image from Jonathan Cohen from Binghamton Athletics