Marist picked up their first conference win on Saturday night by defeating the Canisius 56-52. After giving up a season high 81 points last night, the story of the game was the defensive intensity for the Red Foxes. The team did a great job making things tough for the Golden Griffins, holding them to 29.6 percent from the field.
With 11:52 left in the first half, redshirt senior Michael Cubbage raced down the floor for a wide-open layup following his second steal of the game. The 6-foot-4 guard came up limping, and he was unable to return to the game. “He’s going to get an x-ray on his injured foot and that will determine his timetable,” head coach John Dunne said about his availability going into next weekend against Manhattan.
From that point on, it became more difficult to create good looks on the offensive end without the playmaking ability of Cubbage. The Red Foxes still found a way to take a 28-23 lead going into halftime thanks to relentless effort of the defensive end. Canisius guard Majesty Brandon had 11 points after twenty minutes, while the rest of the team only managed to put up 12 points prior to the second half.
It was more of the same in the second half, as the Red Foxes had opportunities to pull away but Canisius continued to keep the game close. Marist had their largest lead of the half by nine points with just under 18 minutes to go, yet the Golden Griffins were not willing to go down without a fight.
Marist was leading by one point with 50 seconds to go when Canisus sent forward Malek Green to the free throw line for two shots. He managed to knock down both of his looks at the charity stripe, giving the Golden Griffins a slight one point advantage.
With less than a minute to go, coach Dunne would typically put the ball in the hands of Cubbage in order to get a quality look at the basket. Instead, freshman Hakim Byrd was given the ball and he made the defense pay. The 5-foot-10 guard drove to the basket with his left hand, took the contact from the Canisius defender, and hit the tough layup plus the free throw to give Marist the two point lead with 35 seconds to go.
Matt Herasme secured a tough defensive rebound on the next possession, and the Red Foxes never looked back. The 6-foot-3 junior knocked down two free throws to give Marist the 56-52 lead, and that is how the game ended.
Offensively, the Red Foxes were to withstand the absence of Cubbage but getting contributions for everyone. Byrd and center Jordan Jones led the way with ten points each, but Marist had seven players who scored five or more.
The Red Foxes played much better defensively in their second matchup with Canisius. The Marist guards did a fantastic job putting pressure on the ball, causing the Golden Griffins to commit 17 turnovers on the night.
“We had better focus and I thought we played harder in game two. Our depth really helped us today and we did a better job executing the game plan,” coach Dunne said about what changed from the previous loss.
After dropping their first game in conference play, the Red Foxes showed a lot of maturity and growth to overcome the loss of Micheal Cubbgage. “I’m really proud of these guys for coming back today with a great focus after dropping the first one,” head coach John Dunne said after the team’s third victory.
Marist will return to conference play on December 19th at 2 p.m., when they face the Manhattan Jaspers at Draddy Gymnasium in Riverdale, New York.
Edited by Mackenzie Meaney
Photo by Marist Athletics