BELFAST — Marist defeated Dartmouth, 76-58, and will play for the championship of the Samson bracket Friday against LIU at 7:30 Belfast time (that’s 2:30 Eastern time for those of you stateside).
In the win, Marist started slowly, deliberately, and in response, Dartmouth spent the first few minutes shredding the Red Fox defense. But a lineup with Ryan Funk, Matthew Herasme and Isaiah Williams entered and gave a much better defensive effort, rebalancing the Foxes.
”They started the game with a run,” said Marist coach John Dunne, “but we stayed positive. I thought our bench gave us great energy. We knew if we had poise offensively we were going to be able to score.”
Funk, who dropped 12 points in the half off the bench for the Red Foxes, sparked an 18-0 run to give the Red Foxes some cushion in the first semifinal at the Belfast Classic. That run was also powered by Brian Parker, who led the team with 18 points and added six assists.
”They were going under my ball screens,” Parker said, “and I felt like I could get to the hole pretty easily, that’s what I did. They collapsed on me and I kicked it out to the shooters like Funk and they knocked them down.”
Dartmouth did come back when Marist struggled to make shots like they did in a blistering first half. The Big Green got within seven with under five minutes left, but couldn’t get over the last hump.
”I’d say we have seven unchallenged threes in the second half which we usually make and we didn’t make them,” said Dartmouth coach Dave McLaughlin. “When you don’t make those you have to get consecutive stops.”
- Dartmouth shot 23 percent, 3/11 from distance in the second half.
- Marist's defense held Dartmouth to a season low in offensive efficiency (.89 points/ possession); that figure is Marist’s best defensive performance as well.
- Chris Knight scored 16 for Dartmouth, but committed three turnovers, a team high.
- Aleksandar Dozic had a season high in points (none) and total rebounds (eight).
- For John Dunne, this game may have shown some growth for his squad.
”We gave up a couple of leads this year,” Dunne said, “and there’s part of you that doesn’t want to talk about that, but I did reference it. I said it’s time that we stay composed and we don’t give in to the fact that we’ve lost some games, and we try to take it possession by possession, they stayed really composed.”