The Marist men’s basketball team took a 67-61 defeat at home against the Navy Midshipmen on Sunday afternoon. The Red Foxes are now 4-5 on the season, with 3-4 record in non-conference games.
“Playing against this kind of intensity is another step that we have to take. Being able to run some fluid offense against physicality,” Marist head coach John Dunne said following the loss.
The game got kicked off with a fair amount of empty possessions at the start. With that being said, Navy managed to gain an early lead and never really looked back. Back-to-back three-pointers from junior forward Jaylen Walker gave the Midshipmen a 12-6 lead, forcing coach John Dunne to call a timeout.
With the score at 22-9 in favor of Navy, Marist was able to find more rhythm on the offensive end. The Red Foxes went on an 11-3 run over a three-minute stretch, getting themselves right back into the game. This was highlighted by consecutive three-point makes from senior forward Samkelo Cele and sophomore guard Ricardo Wright, cutting the deficit to just five with more than six minutes remaining in the half.
It seemed like Marist had flipped the momentum in favor of themselves. A combination of good defense mixed with creating good offensive looks began to really lift the home team. That was until Navy scored the next fourteen points–a run that was snapped by a dunk from graduate student center Jordan Jones to make it a 39-22 game in favor of the Midshipmen.
Navy finished the half on 16-2 over the final 05:41, taking a 41-22 going into the break. Marist struggled from the charity stripe, shooting one-for-eight from the line in the first. Junior forward Tyler Nelson of Navy led all scorers with 11 points on four-for-seven shooting at the half.
After Navy junior guard Sean Yoder connected on a three-pointer to open the scoring in the second half, the Red Foxes began to pick up their intensity. Marist proceeded to go on a 16-2 run over the next five minutes and change, stringing bucket after bucket. The Red Foxes found themselves only down by eight after trailing by as many as 22.
Both teams would trade baskets for the next few minutes. With Navy leading by a score of 54-41 with 11:47 remaining in the second half, Jao Ituka began to run the offense for the Red Foxes. The dynamic freshman guard scored the next seven points for Marist, making it a 54-48 game with over nine minutes left.
Over the final 08:18, each team scored 13 apiece. The Red Foxes were only able to get the deficit to as low as six points on two different occasions.
For the Red Foxes, Wright finished the game with a team-high 18 points on seven-for-13 shooting from the field and three-for-six shooting from beyond the arc. The 6-foot-4 guard also had a season-high seven rebounds in 27 minutes.
“I got some open looks and locked it down. Just wanted to get some rhythm going on the offensive end,” Wright said after scoring 15 points in the second half.
Ituka had another excellent performance for the Red Foxes, adding 17 points on six-for-nine shooting from the field and three rebounds in 24 minutes. The 6-foot-1 guard is now averaging 10.8 points per game on 56.5 percent shooting from the field on the season.
The Midshipmen had a balanced scoring attack all afternoon, as multiple players showed the ability to find good shots on the offensive end. Nelson had a team-high 13 points on four-for-eight shooting from the field and three-for-four shooting from three. Senior guard Greg Summers, Yoder and senior guard John Carter Jr. all scored in double figures for Navy as well.
Marist returns to play on Dec. 18th at 5 p.m., when they face the Boston University Terriers at Case Gymnasium in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Foxes are 1-3 all-time against the Terriers. Boston University won the last matchup between these teams, earning a 58-37 victory at home on Nov. 19th, 2010.
Edited by Bridget Reilly
Photo Credit: Luke Sassa