Marist picked up their third straight road victory in conference play on Sunday afternoon by defeating Manhattan College 72-67. A 5-1 record to begin the season is the best opening stretch of the year the program has had in 22 years.
For a majority of the first half, Marist had a difficult time creating good looks at the basket. The Jaspers came out and showed a lot of defensive intensity after losing by 22 on their home court on Saturday.
The Red Foxes only shot 33.3 percent from the field and 12.5 percent from three in the first half. Marist was only down 35-30 at halftime due to their ability to get to the free throw line, as they hit 15-of-17 from the charity stripe.
To begin the second half, the Red Foxes came out the locker room with more energy. Marist scored the first seven points of the period before Manhattan guard Anthony Nelson sank two free throws to tie the game at 37 with 17:48 left in the second half. Neither team could pull away from each other, as the biggest lead for the rest of regulation was only four.
With 41 seconds left in the game, the Red Foxes were down by three with possession. The ball ended up in the hands of freshman Ricardo Wright at the top of the key, and he drilled the three-pointer to tie the game at 58.
“It was a play call we put in two or three days ago but we never really worked on it,” head coach John Dunne said about the late game set the team ran.
On the ensuing possession, Matt Hersame did a great job forcing Nelson into a tough three-pointer with time expiring. The shot missed long, and the Red Foxes would be playing their second overtime game of the season.
In the extra period, Marist continued to find themselves at the free throw line. The team put an emphasis on attacking the basket, and it really benefited the Red Foxes. 12 out of their 15 points in overtime came from free throws, and that was the story of the game.
“I thought we were aggressive enough and tougher with the ball in the second half. We showed a lot of toughness which I was really happy about,” Dunne said.
One player that really stood out for the Red Foxes today was University of Memphis transfer Victor Enoh. With 7:14 left in the second half, the redshirt junior picked up his fourth foul.
Enoh’s ability to stay aggressive while not picking up his fifth foul was one of the biggest reasons why Marist won this game. He had 11 points along with 15 rebounds, including five offensive boards. His physical and ability to put pressure on the Manhattan defense gave the Red Foxes another dimension on both ends of the floor.
“They both were in foul trouble [Jordan Jones and Enoh] and I thought Victor had great energy level so I really didn’t want to take him out of the game,” Dunne said.
Another reason why this team earned their second straight win over the Jaspers was due to multiple guys having the ability to contribute offensively. After Hakim Byrd scored a career high 20 points on Saturday, Manhattan did a great job holding the Rookie of the Week to seven points today.
Wright led the way with 18 points, but double digit efforts from Raheem Sulluvan and Enoh were extremely important as well. Without Micheal Cubbage for the foreseeable future, getting scoring from different players every game will determine how good this can really be on the offensive end.
Marist will return to conference play on January 1st at 5 p.m., when they face the Quinnipiac Bobcats at McCann Arena in Poughkeepsie, New York.
Edited by Nicholas Stanziale