The Red Foxes return to conference play this afternoon against the Manhattan Jaspers. After winning two non-conference games to begin the season, Marist earned a split with the Canisius Golden Griffins last weekend. The Jaspers opened their season against the Rider Broncs a week ago, with both teams earning a win.
The biggest storyline going into this matchup will be how Marist can perform without redshirt senior Micheal Cubbage. In the second game of the series versus Canisius, the starting guard came up limping following a wide open layup. On Monday, it was determined that Cubbage had fractured his right foot, essentially ending his season.
Losing one of most talented players on the roster is a big blow for head coach John Dunne, but the team has enough depth at the guard position to overcome the devastating blow. Freshman Hakim Byrd was named Rookie of the Week after averaging 13.5 points per game against the Golden Griffins. The 5-foot-10 guard has come off the bench in each of the first four games, so he will be the likely candidate to replace Cubbage in the starting five.
Besides Byrd, coach Dunne will look for other players to step up on the offensive end. Rahiem Sullivan, Ricardo Wright, and Braden Bell will assume bigger scoring roles with the loss of Cubbage. Tyler Saint-Furcy is another x-factor who has the ability to score and create for his teammates. Offensively, it will need to be a team effort in order to create enough good looks at the basket.
Defensively, the Red Foxes will need to focus on containing former Seton Hall guard Anthony Nelson. The 6-foot-4 guard was given the freedom to run the offense by head coach Steve Masiello, and his talent really showed against the Broncs. Nelson was the team’s main source of offense in their first two games, including 27 points on 8-12 shooting from the field and 3-4 from three last Saturday.
Another player Marist needs to watch out for in this matchup is 6-foot-5 guard Elijah Buchanan. The junior struggled in the Jaspes first loss of the season, only scoring nine points on 2/11 shooting from the field. Buchanan turned things around the following night, scoring 20 points on 8/11 shooting. If the Red Foxes can do a good job making things difficult for Nelson and Buchanan, they will give themselves a great chance to earn another road victory.
Going into this matchup, both Marist and Manhattan are coming off their first conference victories of the season. The absence of Cubbage is a major loss for the Red Foxes, and that could cause some trouble for the team in this game. Marist will need some time to adjust how to play without one of their main playmakers, and that will allow the Jaspers to take the first game of this series.
Score Prediction: Manhattan over Marist 68 to 63
Edited by Nicholas Stanziale