Friday, March 4, 2011

Men: Marist Wins, Wants More Success

Marist coach Chuck Martin wanted his team to have some success in the MAAC men's post-season tournament as a momentum builder to carry into next season.

But, now that the Red Foxes have a play-in round 73-61 victory over Niagara Martin wants much more.

"This us a crazy time of year," said Martin. "There's going to be something somewhere around the country, in some league, when some team does something crazy. Let it be us."

It certainly won't be an easy road for the Red Foxes to advance, not since they'll play regular-season champion Fairfield on the Stags' home Arena at Harbor Yard court 4:30 p.m. on Saturday in a quarterfinal-round game.

But Marist was within six points midway late in the second half of its most-recent game with Fairfield, ultimately a 60-45 Fairfield victory, and Martin is hopeful his team's strong play through the first 36 minutes of that contest has helped his team's confidence.

"They're a tough match-up, a really good team," said Martin. "But a week ago (Sunday) we were only down six with a chance to cut it to four with four minutes left. Hopefully that made these guys feel that we can play with those guys if we limit our mistakes."

Marist played one of its better games of the year, not only running an offense efficiently, a trait Martin says has been there for most of the year, but finishing plays with points. Its 73 points on Friday was its second highest point production since the middle of January.

In all eight different Red Foxes scored at least six points with freshman guard jay Bowie leading the way with 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Teammate Candon Rusin, a sophomore, added 12 points.

Anthony Nelson, Niagara's standout senior guard, finished with a game-high 28 points.

No matter Saturday's outcome, Martin is happy his youthful team got a taste of March success.

"This is a step in the right direction for a team of guys who have never won in March," said Martin. "I've had that experience before and so has some of my staff, but you can't share that with the players. You try, but now you can continue that dialogue. Now you can talk to them about 'isn't it good to win in March?' "

It's good for Marist, but winning more in March would be even better.

Maybe even a little crazy.

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