The Marist men’s basketball team had an impressive performance on Sunday afternoon, earning a 79-67 road victory over the Rider Broncs. This win means the Red Foxes are now 1-1 in conference play on the season.
Ajiri Ogemuno-Johnson got the scoring started for Rider with a dunk off a pass from Allen Powell. The Red Foxes followed that up by going on a 7-0 run to get out to a quick lead.
From that point on, Marist continued to build the lead throughout the first half. Even when it seemed like Rider had an opportunity to close the gap, the Red Foxes managed to find quality looks at the basket, time and time again.
A play towards the end of the first quickly became an explanation point for the Red Foxes. With a little more than four minutes remaining in the half, Samkelo Cele got out in transition. The senior from Durban, South Africa finished with an emphatic two-handed slam, forcing Rider head coach Kevin Baggett to call a timeout.
The Red Foxes held a 37-26 lead going into halftime. At the break, Ricardo Wright led all scorers with 13 points on five-for-seven shooting from the field and two-for-three from behind the arc.
The biggest reason Marist was able to get out to an early advantage was due to their intensity on the defensive end. The Red Foxes did an excellent job of forcing the Broncs into difficult shots on a majority of their offensive possessions in the opening 20 minutes.
Rider was held to 33.3 percent shooting from the field and 30.8 percent shooting from three in the first. Marist also had five steals and two blocks, along with forcing six turnovers from the Broncs in the opening half.
Rider got off to a much better start on the offensive end to begin the second half, scoring three of the first four baskets following the break. While the Broncs were able to find more of an offensive rhythm to start the second, they were still only able to trade baskets with Marist.
The Red Foxes continued to stay patient on the offensive end, waiting for the right opportunity to exploit a hole in the defense.
After finishing the first half with a few baskets, Wright got right back to where he left off. The 6-foot-4 guard scored eight points in the first seven minutes of the second half, perfectly picking his spots offensively.
Midway through the second half, Dimencio Vaughn began to really get going for the Broncs. The graduate student from New York scored 11 consecutive points over a five minute stretch, showing why he is one of the best scorers in the MAAC. Still, the Broncs were unable to make a dent into the Marist lead.
Rider cut the deficit to as low as 11 in the final minutes of the game, but was unable to put any significant pressure on the Red Foxes.
Wright led the way on the offensive end against the Broncs, scoring a team-high 27 points on 10-for-15 shooting from the field and four-for-seven shooting from three along with seven rebounds. The sophomore from Eustis, Florida is now averaging a team-high 15.3 points per game on the season.
Samkelo Cele also finished in double figures for the Red Foxes. The 6-foot-5 forward had 11 points on five-for-12 shooting from the field. Raheim Sullivan had 14 points on four-for-seven shooting along with five rebounds and three assists in 28 minutes.
Vaughn had another fantastic performance for Rider. The 6-foot-5 forward had a game-high 28 points on ten-for-16 shooting from the field and five-for-seven shooting from three along with ten rebounds and three steals in 34 minutes.
Marist returns to play on Dec. 8 at 7 p.m., when they face the Binghamton Bearcats at the Events Center in Binghamton, New York. The Red Foxes won the last matchup between these teams, earning a 64-60 road victory on Dec. 6, 2020.
Edited by Ricardo Martinez
Photo Credit: Jonathan Kinane