For the third consecutive game, Marist played a good game of basketball, but only for 30 minutes. The Red Foxes had quite a few individual moments on both ends of the floor, but their execution in the final minutes was the deciding factor in a 72-66 loss against the Quinnipiac Bobcats Tuesday night.
Marist could not have asked for a better start to the game, opening on an 11-2 run. Quinnipiac was struggling against the offense of the Red Foxes, who made it a point of emphasis to space the floor. That allowed point guard Isaiah Brickner to get downhill, giving the option to finish over a smaller defender or pass it back out to the perimeter.
Quinnipiac tried to neutralize the Marist offense by shifting to a 2-3 zone, which worked for a few minutes. But as soon as the Red Foxes inserted the ball into the high post, that allowed them to find open shooters on the wings or in either corner. Marist continued their strong play, taking a 22-9 following a made three from Javon Cooley.
The Red Foxes continued to play well on both ends, giving the Bobcats very few opportunities to close the gap. Eventually, Marist would take a 14-point lead after Noah Harris made a jumper. The guard would finish the game with eight points.
It was not until the final few minutes of the half when the Bobcats began to put pressure on Marist. Quinnipaic finished the first half on a 10-2 run, giving Marist a slim 40-36 advantage.
Head coach John Dunne had to be pleased with his team’s offense through 20 minutes, shooting 45% from the field and 42.9% from downtown. Marist also had 11 assists on 17 field goal makes, which alludes to how good their ball movement was. If they did more of the same in the second half, it would have given them a great chance to win.
Marist was able to continue that strong offensive play in spurts, but the second-half struggles mostly came on the defensive end. Quinnipiac got a lot of clean looks from three, which got their offense and home crowd going.
A three-pointer from Matt Balanc gave the Bobcats a 49-44 lead, their largest of the game to that point. The Red Foxes would score 12 of the next 14 points, flipping the score to give Marist a five-point lead with 10:31 remaining.
The next stretch was back and forth. Quinnipiac would get the lead, but Marist would immediately fight back to go ahead. Brickner scored on a short jumper at the 4:26 mark, giving Marist a 65-60 lead. At that point, it looked like the Red Foxes had all the momentum.
That was until Quinnipiac began to force Marist to make some simple mistakes, some that would prove costly. The Bobcats scored the next seven points, giving them a two-point lead. Jaden Daughtry would hit one of two free throws to cut the deficit to one, but that would be their last point of the night.
Luis Kortright would make a layup to give Quinnipiac a 69-66 lead with 2:36 left on the clock. Marist had their chances to make it a one-possession game, but four turnovers in the final 1:13 gave the Bobcats the opportunity to close it out. The team showed their youthfulness on those possessions, as most of those giveaways were careless mistakes.
The losing streak for the Red Foxes has now grown to five games, leaving themselves at the bottom of the MAAC. Marist has played well in large portions of each contest, but they have yet to show maturity to close out games during this recent stretch. To win at this level, that is an area any team needs to thrive in.
Marist will be the only team that gets Friday night’s time slot off, meaning their next game will come against the Canisius Golden Griffins on Sunday, Feb. 5. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. at McCann Arena. Marist defeated Canisius 76-58 in their previous matchup back on Jan. 13.
Photo From Marist Athletics
Edited By Dan Aulbach