The Marist men’s basketball team suffered a 94-87 road loss at the Quinnipiac Bobcats on Friday night. The Red Foxes trailed by as much as 23, but a second half turnaround fell just short. Marist is now 3-7 in MAAC play on the season, including dropping their last three conference games.
Qunnipiac began the game in a zone, something that more than few teams have employed against the Red Foxes this season. Marist struggled to create good looks for themselves, leading to tough offensive possessions and a handful of early turnovers.
Going into the U8 media timeout, the Bobcats were up 22-13. Over the next four minutes, Qunnipiac really started to pull away from Marist. With 4:33 left in the first half, the home team held a 16-point advantage.
The Bobcats finished the half on a 9-5 run over the final 3:08, giving the home team a 21-point lead going into the break.
Marist fell behind early as a result of their inability to maintain possession on the offensive end. The Red Foxes committed 11 turnovers in the first half, which turned into 17 points for Quinnipiac.
For the first two and a half minutes of the second half, Marist was only able to trade baskets with Quinnipiac. An inability to get stops allowed the Bobcats to continue leading by more than 20.
With the score standing at 65-42 in favor of Quinnipiac, Marist went on a 12-2 run over the next three minutes to get within 13. All of a sudden, the Red Foxes were able to string some stops together on the defensive end.
Marist finally cut the lead to single digits following a three-pointer from Noah Harris, making it a 79-70 game with 07:51 remaining. The team followed that with a basket from Ricardo Wright and another three-pointer from Matt Herasme, putting the deficit at just four.
Each team scored another basket over the next two minutes, making it a 81-78 lead for the Bobcats heading into the final media timeout.
A dunk from Jordan Jones made it 81-80 with 03:31 left, getting Marist as close as they had been since the opening minutes. If Marist was able to score the next basket, it seemed like the team was going to be able to hang on.
The momentum then swung in favor of the Bobcats following two consecutive three-pointers from Matt Balanc. Just like that, the lead was back up to seven with a little more than two minutes remaining.
Marist cut the gap to as low as five in the final minutes, but were unable to get any closer than that. The Red Foxes showed a ton of fight in the second half, but left themselves with too much work to do following their issues in the first.
Balanc was excellent for Quinnipiac, scoring a team-high 20 points on seven-for-14 shooting from the field and five-for-seven shooting from beyond the arc. His two makes down the stretch proved to be massive, especially with Marist surging at the time.
The Bobcats had four other players finish in double figures, including Kevin Marfo, who had 17 points on six-for-11 shooting in 29 minutes, The 6-foot-9 forward also had 11 rebounds and five assists against the Red Foxes.
Harris was the star of the show in the second half turnaround for the Red Foxes. The 6-foot-1 guard had a career-high 24 points on eight-for-12 shooting from the field and seven-for-10 shooting from three. His previous career-high was 12 against VMI back on Nov. 20th.
Matt Herasme was another player who came up big in some critical moments against the Bobcats. The senior guard had 12 points on four-for-seven shooting from beyond the arc. Herasme also contributed with four rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes.
Marist returns to play on Jan. 30 at 2 p.m., when they face the Manhattan Jaspers at Draddy Gymnasium in the Bronx, N.Y. The Red Foxes earned a 72-67 road victory when these teams last faced off on Dec. 20, 2020.
Edited by Ricardo Martinez
Photo from Luke Sassa