Defense Steals the Show in Overtime Victory at Bucknell

The Marist men’s basketball team snapped their four-game losing streak on Saturday, defeating the Bucknell Bison 60-54 in overtime. On a day where Marist desperately needed a good performance, the team was able to lean on their defense to get a pivotal road victory in non-conference play. 

Marist got off to a strong start thanks to their intensity on the defensive end. The Red Foxes were forcing Bucknell into tough looks, most of which were not falling early in the game. Three-point makes from Javon Cooley and Noah Harris opened the scoring, as Marist led 10-2 at the first media timeout. 

The Red Foxes continued to lead throughout the first half, as the Bison weren’t able to get on a run offensively. Marist had some trouble putting the ball in the basket as well, but their timely makes served as momentum-shifting plays. 

With just over two minutes left in the opening half, Marist took a 24-15 lead following a three-pointer from forward Jaden Daughtery. Bucknell would end the half on a 6-0 run, including a triple from Elvin Edmonds IV with five seconds. At the break, the Red Foxes led 24-21.

The beginning of the second half was played with more pace, as both teams looked to get shots earlier in possessions. Marist and Bucknell thrived in that speed, as each offense began to score the basketball quite a bit more.

For a majority of the half, the game went back and forth. Bucknell looked as if they were going to take the lead, but were unable to get over the hump. That was the case until the game got under the five-minute mark. 

With 04:35 left in the contest, Ian Motta hit a three-pointer to give Bucknell a 49-48 lead, their first of the night. Marist would take the lead right back with a 3-0 run, holding a two-point advantage with 02:37 left.

Bucknell would eventually make two free throws, tying the game at 51-51 with less than a minute remaining. After a missed attempt from Marist, the Bison called a timeout with 8.1 seconds left to draw up a play.

Following the timeout, Bucknell got the ball in the hands of Xander Rice. The guard took a step back three-pointer from the wing, but a good contest from Harris altered the look. Rice was unable to connect, and the game would go to overtime. 

Only three shots from the field were made in overtime, two from Marist and one from Bucknell. Cooley made a three-pointer with 03:27 left in the period to give the Red Foxes a 55-51 lead. With 01:44 left in overtime, Noah Harris connected from long distance to extend their lead to four. 

Bucknell attempted to extend the game by sending Marist to the free throw line, but the Bison were unable to hit their shots down the stretch. Isaiah Brickner made two free throws with 14 seconds left, helping the Red Foxes earn the six-point victory.

The Red Foxes held Bucknell to 33.9 percent shooting from the field, one of the deciding factors in their win. Marist was dominant on the boards, winning the rebound battle 48-42. The team also had 13 offensive rebounds, leading to 15 second chance points. Patrick Gardner and Stephane Ingo used their size to win the game on the interior, something Marist can look to do moving forward.

Coach Dunne relied on his starting five down the stretch, as all five players played at least 30 minutes. Marist made their final substitution of the game with 04:08 left in the second half. The starting five were playing at a high level, and Dunne stuck with them in the biggest moments. 

Gardner had a big scoring night, finishing with a game-high 16 points on 6-for-18 shooting from the field and 3-for-6 shooting from three. Gardner also had nine rebounds and two blocks in 34 minutes.

Harris and Cooley had big nights as well, combining for 26 points and six three-point makes. Cooley had a strong performance in the rebound department, grabbing 11 boards in 36 minutes.

His stat line may not draw a lot of attention, but Ingo played his best game as a Red Fox against Bucknell. The 6-foot-9 center made his impact on both ends of the floor, scoring eight points and grabbing 12 rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive end. Ingo played a season-high 30 minutes against the Bison. 

It was a special day for coach Dunne on a personal level, as the victory marked his 200th win of his coaching career. 

Marist will return home to play the Columbia Lions of the Ivy League on Nov. 28. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at McCann Arena.

Edited By Dan Aulbach

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