The Marist men’s basketball team rebounded from a tough loss on opening night with an emphatic win against the Columbia Lions. The Red Foxes took an early lead, and never looked back, moving to 1-1 on the season with a 82-67 victory on Friday night.
Unlike the game against American, Marist got off to an excellent start on the offensive end against the Lions. The Red Foxes started the game with a layup from Jordan Jones followed by a three-pointer from Ricardo Wright, really setting the tone for the rest of the night. Marist continued to find good looks at the basket, with most of their makes coming from behind the arc in the first twenty minutes.
Marist was eight-for-13 from three in the first half, leading 46-42 going into the break. Ricardo Wright led all scores with 16 at halftime.
The opening minutes of the second half saw far less offensive firepower from either side. Both teams were a bit sloppy, committing a handful of turnovers. With all of that being said, anytime it seemed like Colubmia was going to jump ahead, the Red Foxes had the answer.
A pivotal moment in the game came with a little more than seven minutes left in the second half. Raheim Sullivan drove the basket, but lost control of the ball as he attempted to find Tyler Saint-Furcy on the block. The ball somehow made its way back to Sullivan, who quickly realized the shot clock was expiring. The guard from Toronto set his feet, connecting on a critical three-pointer to give Marist a 71-56 lead.
Columbia was unable to really put any pressure on the Red Foxes in the closing moments of the game.
One of the biggest reasons for the drastic improvement on the offensive end against the Lions relates to balance. While connecting on 12 threes will get most of the headlines, what Marist was able to accomplish inside the arc may be just pleasing for head coach John Dunne. The Red Foxes were 15-for-23 on two-point attempts, showing their ability to create good looks in all areas of the floor.
Teams coached by Dunne are known for their defensive intensity, as that was far more evident after halftime. Marist held the Lions to just 25 second half points on 33.3 shooting from the field.
Sullivan led the way for Marist against Columbia, just as he did in the season opener earlier this week. The 6-foot-1 guard had a team-high 17 points on five-for-nine shooting from the field, including 13 points in the second half.
Wright was also a solid contributor for the Red Foxes on Friday night. The sophomore from Florida had 16 points on six-for-ten shooting from the field and four-for-six shooting from behind the arc, with all of his makes coming in the first half.
Jones didn’t have many field goal attempts but was efficient once again. The 6-foot-8 center had 10 points on four-for-five shooting from the field in 23 minutes. Matt Herasme contributed in a multitude of ways, adding 10 points on three-for-four shooting from the field and a team-high eight rebounds.
Freshman Noah Harris and Jao Ituka also stepped up in a big way against the Lions. The duo combined for 20 points on six-for-11 shooting from the field.
Marist returns to play on November 17th at 7 p.m., when they face the Princeton Tigers at the Jadwin Gymnasium in Princeton, New Jersey. Princeton won the last matchup between these teams, earning a 68-57 victory at home back on January 5th, 2011. The Red Foxes are 0-2 all-time against the Tigers.
Edited by Jonathan Kinane
Photo from Marist Athletics