Men's Basketball, A Story-Book Start

The Marist College men’s basketball team, collectively, may have had the most productive post-Thanksgiving week of any group of Marist students.

The Red Foxes won the Samson bracket of the Belfast Classic Tournament in Belfast, Northern Ireland during the weekend of Nov. 24-25, defeating Dartmouth College and Long Island University-Brooklyn, en route to a title in their division. It was the first tournament win, in any capacity, for the men’s basketball team since 2006.

The tournament, sponsored mainly by the Basketball Hall of Fame, features eight teams competing in two separate brackets, named Samson and Golitath. The two brackets are named after two iconic cranes that aided shipbuilders in the Belfast-based construction of the R.M.S. Titanic, before it set sail in 1912. In addition to the previously mentioned schools, the 2018 tourney participants included the University at Albany (N.Y.), the University at Buffalo (N.Y.), the University of San Francisco (C.A.), Stephen F. Austin State University (T.X.), and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (W.I.).

Marist debuted in Belfast with a convincing 76-58 victory over the Dartmouth Big Green on Nov. 29, paced by Brian Parker ‘19 and Ryan Funk ‘19, who finished with 18 and 14 points respectively. Aleksandar Dozic ‘20 added eight rebounds for the Red Foxes in the victory.

Marist’s big test came the following day, with a showdown against Long Island University-Brooklyn that would decide the Samson bracket. The opposing Blackbirds have been to four N.C.A.A. tournaments this decade, but the Red Foxes appeared more than up to the challenge, racing out to a 37-20 halftime lead. In the second half, faced with the task of maintaining a large lead, Marist kept a clamp hold on defense, maintaining their 17-point lead. No Blackbird scored more than ten points as Marist notched its best defensive performance of the season thus far in a 70-53 win that clinched the Samson bracket title.

The Red Foxes (3-4 overall) will look to keep their momentum going into another road swing, though this trip will stay confined to American borders. The Red Foxes head to Stetson University on Sat. Dec. 8, followed by trips to Colgate University on Sat. Dec. 15 and the University of New Hampshire on Wed. Dec. 19. The team will begin Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (M.A.A.C) play on Wed. Jan. 3, 2019, as they host Canisius College.

Feature Image Courtesy of Marist Athletics

Jack McElduffComment