Marist returns to conference play on Saturday afternoon against the Siena Saints. The Red Foxes will be back at home after splitting with the Rider Broncs in Lawrenceville last weekend. The Saints currently sit in first place of the MAAC Conference with a 7-1 overall record, all their games have been conference battles.
After winning the conference last year, Siena was forced to begin the season on the sidelines. The Saints didn’t play their first game of the season till January 3 as a result of positive COVID cases. In comparison, Marist opened their season against the Binghamton Bearcats 29 days earlier.
With all of that being said, the Saints still look like the most dangerous team in the MAAC. The team earned sweeps against Monmouth, Fairfield, and Rider before dropping the first game of their series with the Saint Peter’s Peacocks on January 22.
Many expected Jalen Pickett and Manny Camper to lead the way for Seina after being picked in the preseason All-MAAC First Team, but a different player has assumed a crucial role on the offensive end. Sophomore Jordan King currently leads the team in scoring at 14.9 points per game.
Even with King developing into one of the most promising guards in the conference, Marist cannot afford to forget about Pickett and Camper. The duo is averaging 27.7 points per game and nine rebounds per game. If the Red Foxes want any chance of winning this game, they will need to do a quality job containing these players.
Offensively, Marist will look to find a lot of their success from behind the three-point line. When the team is playing well, they are connecting on a high percentage of their threes. The Red Foxes were 12-for-24 from three in their win over the Broncs last weekend. Good shooting from the perimeter will give the Marist a great opportunity to keep up with a potent Siena offense.
Another point of emphasis for the team needs to revolve around getting the ball inside. Jordan Jones and Victor Enoh have the ability to score inside, but they need to get touches in order to keep the defense on their toes. Having a dominant presence in the paint will be crucial for Marist in this matchup.
Marist and Siena played some really competitive games last season, and we could see more of the same this weekend. The Red Foxes have shown drastic improvement in the early stretches of this season, but it may be too difficult to stop Jalen Pickett and Siena without the verteran leadership of Micheal Cubbage.
Score Prediction: Siena over Marist 66 to 61
Edited by Nicholas Stanziale