The Marist men’s basketball team struggled against one of their bigger tests of non-conference play, facing the tough Lehigh Mountain Hawks on Wednesday night. The team would go down 64-54 and drop to 1-2 on the season.
Marist had some positive moments on the defensive end, but a majority of their problems came from an inability to put the ball in the basket. The team had some possessions where the ball movement flowed with good shot selection, but there was not enough of that over the course of 40 minutes.
The game began with little offense, as neither team found a way to score effectively. At the first media timeout, a total of five points were scored between both teams, shooting a combined 1-for-11 from the field.
From that point on, the momentum shifted in favor of the Mountain Hawks. Lehigh began to create better opportunities on offense thanks to the pressure of their defense. Once the Red Foxes got out of rhythm, they began to force shots they would typically stay away from.
Lehigh went on a 15-0 run midway through the half, going from down 5-2 to leading 17-5 with nine minutes remaining in the first. Head coach John Dunne called a few early timeouts to get his team organized, but nothing did enough to stop the Mountain Hawks from controlling the game.
As the half went on, Marist was still unable to find their flow. The only thing keeping the team in the game was Lehigh’s own troubles in the scoring department. The Red Foxes finished the half on a 6-2 run, trailing 29-16 going into halftime.
Marist shot 5-for-27 (or 18.5 percent) from the field and 1-for-12 (or 8.3 percent) from beyond the arc in the first half. Five of their 16 points in the opening 20 minutes came from the free throw line, which alludes to the scoring drought as a whole. Still, it felt like Marist was just a run away from making the game competitive.
Lehigh scored the first basket of the second half on a layup from JT Tan, but the response from the Red Foxes was strong. Three-point makes from Jaden Daughtery, Kam Farris and Isaiah Brickner cut the lead to six at 31-25.
The second-half prowess belonged to Marist from the start, but a Lehigh timeout followed by some strong play from the home team shifted that with the blink of an eye. The Mountain Hawks scored 14 consecutive points, leading 45-25 at just under 11 minutes left in the second half. Marist took themselves out of the game almost as quickly as they got back into it just minutes before.
The Red Foxes would cut into the lead over the course of the half, but never truly challenged the Mountain Hawk’s lead. Marist had a 9-0 run over a two and half minute stretch to make it 54-43 in favor of Lehigh, but it was never enough to fully overcome the large deficit.
A few three-point makes from Anthony Copper among other baskets helped Marist get some offensive rhythm late, but it was only enough to help the team finish with a 10-point loss.
Anthony Cooper had a strong finish to the game, scoring a team-high 16 points on 3-for-9 shooting from the field and 3-for-6 shooting from three. The guard was perfect from the free throw line, making all of his seven attempts in just 17 minutes.
Isaiah Brickner was the most impressive performer for the Red Foxes, as he got his first chance to play extended minutes at the collegiate level. The 6-foot-4 guard had 11 points on 4-for-10 shooting from the field, five rebounds and three assists in a season-high 24 minutes. Brickner had impressive personal highlights both as a scorer and a playmaker.
Marist will return home to continue their non-conference schedule on Saturday, Nov. 19 against the Princeton Tigers of the Ivy League. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at McCann Arena. Princeton defeated Marist in their only matchup last season, earning a 80-61 win at home on Nov. 17, 2021.
Edited By Dan Aulbach