Marist returns to conference play on Friday night against the 10-7 (7-5 in the MAAC) Saint Peter’s Peacocks. The Red Foxes will be back on the road after going on pause following a positive COVID-19 test on February 5th.
After starting the season with a 6-5 record, Saint Peter’s went 20 days without playing a game following a positive COVID-19 case in early January. The team hasn’t missed a beat since they returned to the court on Jan. 22, winning four of their last six games, including a split with the Fairfield Stags last weekend.
The Peacocks don’t have a prolific offense, as they rank eighth in the conference at 64.2 points per contest. Junior forward KC Ndefo currently leads the team in scoring at 12.2 points per game on 49.1 percent shooting from the field.
While the team doesn’t score a ton of points, the main reason why Saint Peter’s is so successful comes down to their dominance of the defensive end. The Peacocks only give up 62.4 points per game, which ranks second in the MAAC. Marist will need to create good looks at the basket against one of the toughest defenses they’ve seen all season.
One of the biggest keys for the Red Foxes will rely on how they perform defensively. The team is only 6-6 when they allow 60 points or more in games this season. On the other hand, Marist is 3-1 when they allow less than 60 points. If the Red Foxes can keep this game low-scoring, they will certainly give themselves a great chance to earn another road victory.
Offensively, Marist will look for Ricardo Wright to continue his excellent freshman season against the Peacocks. The 6-foot-4 guard is averaging 11.3 points per game 40.4 percent shooting from the field and 35.1 percent shooting from behind the three-point line. If the game is close towards the end of the second half, expect Wright to have the ball in his hands for the Red Foxes.
Coach Dunne will also look for Jordan Jones to stay out of foul trouble. The redshirt senior from Baltimore picked up two early fouls against Siena on Jan. 31, and he only managed to play 15 minutes in a loss. Jones currently ranks third in the MAAC with 2.3 blocks per game, so it will be crucial for the bigman to not pick up quick fouls in the first half.
The Peacocks provide another test for the Red Foxes as we get closer to the conference tournament in Atlantic City. Neither team scores at a high rate, so I expect this game to be tight in the second half. The Red Foxes have every chance to earn a sweep this weekend, but I believe Saint Peter’s will take the first matchup on Saturday.
Score Prediction: Saint Peter’s over Marist 63-57
Edited by Nicholas Stanziale
Image courtesy of Marist Athletics