Last week, Marist head coach Chuck Martin called for more intensity from his team. The results may not show it, with the Marist men’s basketball team falling to the Rider Broncs 64-58 in the McCann Arena Sunday afternoon, but Martin said he sees improvement.
“I think the intensity has improved,” Martin said. “These guys have always worked hard, they have always played hard. But we’ve certainly gotten better the last few games.”
Marist fell behind to a 16-6 deficit early in the game, but thanks to Chavaughn Lewis’ 14 first half points, the Red Foxes and Broncs went into the locker rooms tied at 30.
While the first half was primarily the Lewis show for the Foxes, the beginning of the second half was a story of three-pointers. Rider’s Thompson made two threes to create some space, but after quiet first halves, guards Isaiah Morton and Devin Price each hit one from beyond the arc to keep the Red Foxes close.
The squads exchanged baskets for several minutes, with no lead larger than four from the 14:40 mark until Junior Fortunat’s free throws with 7:34 to go extended the Broncs’ lead to six.
A minute later, Lewis cut that lead in half with a three-pointer from the left side. Rider’s lead then hovered between three and five for the rest of the game, but the Red Foxes were unable to get any closer than three. Lewis missed two free throws in the final minute with the lead at three. Overall, Marist was 11-20 from the stripe.
Rider (12-12, 7-5) out-rebounded the Red Foxes 41-25 in the game.
Lewis led all scorers with 24 points, and also contributed five assists. Adam Kemp was the only other Red Fox in double figures, with 12 points.For the Broncs, Thompson tied a career high with 23 points on 9-11 from the field, including 5-6 from three-point range.
The Red Foxes dropped to 5-18 overall and 2-10 in the MAAC. They have lost 12 of their 13 games since Jay Bowie’s injury.
“Regardless of their record those guys are competing,” Rider head coach Kevin Baggett said. “They’re young, but I’ll be just as scared when they come down to our place.”
On what it will take to turn things around, Lewis said the Red Foxes need “just the effort, staying focused for 40 minutes straight. I think we lose focus at times, and make not smart decisions, and we give up easy rebounds. I think if we just fix that we’ll be a lot better.
The Red Foxes’ next chance will come when they travel to Iona on Thursday to take on the Gaels at 7 p.m.