The Marist men’s basketball team finished off a three-game road trip with a tough loss at Princeton on Wednesday night. The Red Foxes fell behind early, and were never able to recover, losing by a score of 61-80.
Marist got off to a pretty good start against the Tigers. Two quick baskets for sophomore guard Ricardo Wright and a layup for senior forward Samkelo Cele had the team only trailing by one a little over three minutes into the game. Princeton would then pick up their defensive intensity as the lead gradually increased over the course of the half.
The Tigers had the touch from beyond the arc all throughout the opening half. Princeton had five players with at least one three-pointer going into the break, as they shot seven-for-14 from three as a team.
Marist did most of their offensive damage on the inside in the first. The Red Foxes had 16 points in paint, but their struggles from the outside led to the large deficit. Marist shot three-for-12 from the outside, as the team trailed 25-45 at halftime.
The beginning of the second was much better for the Red Foxes. Marist scored seven points in the first three minutes after halftime, showing some signs of life on the offensive end. While the offense improved for the Red Foxes, they were only able to trade baskets with Princeton.
Marist got the deficit down to 13 following a layup from freshman guard Jao Ituka with 12:04 remaining, but that would be as close as they would get. Princeton proceeded to go on 13-two run over the next five minutes and change, putting the game away for the Tigers.
While the Red Foxes finished the game on an 18-13 run, the damage was already done. A disappointing first half followed up by a much improved effort following the break led to a 19 point loss on the road.
One point of emphasis for Princeton seemed to come anytime graduate student center Jordan Jones caught the ball on the block. As soon as the pass was thrown into the 6-foot-8 center, the Tigers would double him. Marist was unable to deal with this for a majority of the game, leading to a handful of turnovers.
The Tigers had a balanced attack all night long, finishing the game with four players in double figures. Senior guard Jaelin Llewellyn led all scorers with 17 points on six-for-14 shooting with four rebounds and two assists in 31 minutes. Senior guard Ethan Wright had an excellent night as well, finishing with 15 points on five-for-seven shooting from the field and three-for-four shooting from three.
Ituka led the way for Marist on the offensive end. The 6-foot-1 freshman had a team-high 13 points on five-for-ten shooting from the field in 20 minutes. Ituka has now scored in double figures in two of his first three collegiate games.
Wright had another strong performance on the offensive end against Princeton. The sophomore from Eustis, Florida had 12 points on five-for-14 shooting from the field and two-for-six shooting from three.
Cele was the only other Red Fox to finish in the double figures. The 6-foot-5 forward had ten points on five-for-nine shooting from the field in 24 minutes.
Marist returns to play on Nov. 20th at 5 p.m., when they face the VMI Keydets at McCann Arena in Poughkeepsie, New York. The Red Foxes won the last matchup between these teams, earning a 58-56 road victory on Nov. 8th, 2019. Marist is 2-1 all-time against VMI, averaging 82.33 points in those three games.
Edited by Bridget Reilly
Photo Credit: Marist Athletics