The Marist men’s basketball team fell back to .500 following a 79-75 loss against the Rider Broncs on Sunday afternoon. The defeat means the Red Foxes have a 2-3 record in conference play on the season.
“I was proud of our fight today off a really good road win two nights ago. Coming back and playing an afternoon game and doing that with only seven healthy bodies,” head coach John Dunne said.
Rahiem Sullivan and Tyler Saint-Furcy, who did not play in the win at Fairfield on Friday night, were deemed available before the game against Rider. Sullivan played with a mask on after clearing health and safety protocols.
The early stages of the game favored the high-intensity style of the Broncs. Rider, who had not played since Dec. 20th, looked like a team that had extra gear on the road. The Broncs held a 22-8 lead through the first seven minutes of the opening half.
A layup from Dimencio Vaughn midway through the first gave Rider their largest lead of the game at 16 points. Slowly but surely, the Red Foxes began to climb back into the contest.
Marist went on an extended 15-7 run to cut the deficit in half. The team started to find a rhythm on the offensive end while also showing the ability to string stops together defensively.
The Red Foxes went on a 13-4 run over the final four and half minutes of the first, cutting the deficit to just one going into halftime. Marist trailed by as much as 16 at one point but was able to stay calm and find themselves in a one-possession game at the break.
For the first eight minutes of the second half, neither team was able to break away from the other. With the score at 51 apiece, the Broncs began to open the game up. Rider went on a 14-0 run over the next four minutes and changed.
Once again, a Marist group with plenty of experience dug deep and began to fight back. A 9-2 run, led by Ricardo Wright and Matt Herasme, made it a 67-60 game in favor of the Broncs with just under five minutes remaining.
From that point on, Marist was only able to trade baskets with Rider. The intensity continued to be there for the Red Foxes, but the Broncs were still able to execute offensively. With just 16 seconds left, Allan Powell made two free throws to give Rider a seven-point lead.
Rahiem Sullivan came down the floor and connected on a three-pointer to cut the lead to four with 12 seconds remaining. Marist then forced a turnover on the inbound pass, allowing them to make it a one-possession game. Samkelo Cele drove past Dimencio Vaughn, finishing with a two-handed slam.
All of sudden, Rider had to make consecutive shots from the line to put Marist away. Dwight Murray Jr. sank back-to-back free throws, making it a 79-75 game. The Red Foxes were down by as much as 14 in the second half but were unable to fight back in the end.
Wright, who had a team-high 27 points against Rider back on Dec. 5th, was once again a force offensively against the Broncs. The sophomore from Eustis, Florida had 14 points on four-for-12 shooting from the field and three-for-seven shooting from beyond the arc.
Noah Harris, who has stepped into a bigger role with the absence of Jao Ituka, was once again impactful against Rider. The 6-foot-1 guard had ten points on three-for-six shooting from three along with three rebounds in 32 minutes.
Rider had a balanced scoring attack all afternoon, with five players finishing in double figures. Powell finished with a game-high 15 points on four-for-nine shooting from the field and four-for-six shooting from three in 38 minutes. Vaughn and Murray had 14 apiece, with Ajiri Ogemuno-Johnson and Mervin James adding 13 and ten respectively.
Marist returns to play on Jan. 14th at 7 p.m., when they face the Siena Saints at McCann Arena. The Red Foxes are 25-46 against Siena all-time and the Saints won the last matchup between these teams, earning a 63-50 victory on Jan. 31, 2021.
Edited by Jonathan Kinane
Photo from Marist Athletics