The Marist men’s basketball team earned a 66-50 road loss at the Saint Peter’s Peacocks on Sunday afternoon. The Red Foxes fell behind early, and were unable to recover against one of toughest defenses they will face all year. Marist is now 3-9 in conference play this season, which ranks last in the MAAC.
In the opening minutes of the contest, the game was fairly even. Both teams were sloppy on the offensive end, committing a fair amount of turnovers. At the first media timeout, the score was tied at seven apiece.
With 09:41 left in the first half, Ricardo Wright connected on a jumper to put Marist ahead 13-11. That would be the last time the Red Foxes held a lead against Saint Peter’s. The Peacocks proceeded to go on a 9-0 run, giving the home team a seven-point advantage.
Marist would get back within four following a made layup from Jao Ituka with just under a minute remaining in the first. KC Ndefo finished the half off with a three-point play, giving Saint Peter’s a 27-20 lead at the break.
For a majority of the first half, Marist was unable to survive against the swarming defense of the Peacocks. The Red Foxes shot just six-for-20 from the field and one-for-nine from long distance in the opening twenty minutes.
Getting off to a good start in the second half would have provided a big boost for the Red Foxes. Instead, Saint Peter’s went on to go on a strong run of their own. The Peacocks went on a quick 12-2 run, led by eight points Daryl Banks III. All of a sudden, the deficit had grown to 17 for Marist.
The Red Foxes were unable to respond, as the lead continued to grow for Saint Peter’s. Marist was able to get some easy baskets inside from Jordan Jones, but the stops were not coming on the defensive end.
A turnaround jumper from Oumar Diahame made it a 62-34 game, giving Saint Peter’s their largest lead of the game. That basket capped off a 9-0 Peacocks run over a two-minute stretch.
With just over eight minutes remaining, the game had already been decided. The teams were able to trade baskets for the next few minutes, but that was all.
Following the final media timeout, Marist was able to string some good possessions together on the offensive end to get a bit a closer. The Red Foxes finished the game on a 12-2 run, led by five points from Rahiem Sullivan, who returned to the lineup after missing the last six games.
All 11 players who stepped on the floor scored for the Peacocks. Banks was the only one to finish in double figures, scoring a game-high 13 points on four-for-four shooting from the field and two-for-two shooting from beyond the arc.
Ndefo, who was coming off a career-high 11 blocks against Quinnipiac on Friday night, was effective in limited action against the Red Foxes. The 6-foot-7 senior scored seven points on three-for-five shooting from the field, four assists, three rebounds, three steals and two blocks in just 17 minutes.
Braden Bell was one of the few bright spots for the Red Foxes against Saint Peter’s. The 6-foot-7 forward had a team-high 11 points on four-for-seven shooting from the field and five rebounds in 30 minutes.
Jones had a very solid game for Marist as well. The center from Baltimore, Md. scored ten points on three-for-four shooting from the field and four-for-four from the free throw line in 18 minutes.
Marist returns to play on Feb. 8 at 7 p.m., when they face the Monmouth Hawks at the OceanFirst Bank Center in West Long Branch, N.J. The Red Foxes earned a 84-48 victory at home when these teams last faced off on Jan. 16, 2022.
Edited by Ricardo Martinez
Photo from Luke Sassa