Marist was led wire-to-wire for a second straight game as a trip to West Long Branch resulted in a 72-62 defeat for the Red Foxes and a weekend sweep for Monmouth. Marist struggled to convert from deep as they shot three-for-27 from beyond the arc in the defeat.
“Disappointed not to come away with at least a split,” said head coach John Dunne. “But I’m more encouraged today than I was 24 hours ago with our team.”
The Red Foxes struggled to string together many stops yesterday and, as John Dunne attested to yesterday, play a full forty minutes. Sluggish starts to both halves dug a hole that Marist couldn’t quite find their way out of throughout the game. John Dunne looked to end his team’s two-game skid while avoiding the weekend sweep and get back in the winning column for the seventh time this season, matching last year’s season total.
“We took a few steps back as a team yesterday,” said Dunne. “We had a passionate film session last night and had a great spirit about us today. Even though we lost, I thought we took some steps forward today as a team.”
The opening of the first half was more of the same from yesterday’s defeat for the Red Foxes. Marist found itself in another hole after an opening three-for-15 shooting from the field fueled a 21-11 run for Monmouth, who converted eight-for-13 of their field goals in the same span. A 12-1 run to end the first half gave the Hawks a 39-24 lead heading to the locker room.
A late run in the second half from the Red Foxes showed the lead dwindle to single digits as Marist trailed just 57-49 with eight minutes to play. But the Red Foxes were never quite able to get footing back in the game as a two-minute stretch of eight straight points from Monmouth’s Deion Hammond sealed the game and the weekend sweep for the Hawks.
“We have to learn how to match their intensity not just for parts of the game, but for forty minutes,” said Dunne.
The offensive struggles from deep were visible as the first Marist make from the perimeter did not come until three minutes into the second half on a Matt Herasme triple. The Red Foxes shot just 20-for-56 from the floor for a season-low percentage of 35.7. Freshman guard Hakim Byrd, junior forward Matt Herasme, and senior center Jordan Jones each contributed double figures as Byrd led the trio with 11.
“For the most part, the majority of our shots were good looks,” said Dunne. “If you’re getting good looks, we’re going to shoot the ball. We missed a lot of good looks today that we’ve got to make moving forward.”
Monmouth was once again paced by its scoring leader in Deion Hammond. The senior guard poured in 21 points for the second straight game and grabbed nine rebounds in the process. Melik Martin and Donovan Toatley each followed in the scoring sheet with 13 and 11 each. The Hawks shot 22-for-51 from the field and 10-for-25 from three in the victory while never trailing in the 80 minutes played this weekend.
“We’re going to be home this upcoming weekend against a different opponent and a different style of defense,” said Dunne. “And we’ll prepare for that this week.”
Marist will return home next weekend as they take on Fairfield in McCann on Friday night. Tip-off is at 5:00 p.m.
Edited by Nicholas Stanziale
Feature Image from Marist Athletics