CHARLESTON, South Carolina – What a way to get the first win of the season! The Marist men’s basketball team earned its first victory of the season by rebounding from a 20-point second-half deficit for a 100-91 victory over The Citadel in the first round of the Papa John’s Bulldog Bash on Friday at McAlister Field House.
It all looked good when the Red Foxes started the game with a three point lead in the first five minutes of the game, but went downhill quickly. The Citadel went on a 15-4 run and then outscored Marist 11-0 in the final two minutes of the first half to take a 57-39 lead into the halftime locker room.
What happened next, was four years in the making for Marist head coach Mike Maker. The Red Foxes went on a 12-1 run led by junior guard Brian Parker who picked up five straight points during that offensive spurt.
“We had played well in games where we weren’t rewarded with a victory,” Coach Maker said. “We did not play well today, but we won the game, and it’s nice to be rewarded when we didn’t play our best. We made enough shots when it counted, and we got on the glass when it mattered.”
Later in the half, another offensive push resulted in a 9-0 Marist run, giving the Red Foxes their first lead since those early five minutes of the game. Marist solidified it’s groundbreaking comeback by holding The Citadel scoreless for the last 4:32 and without a field goal for the final 5:52 minutes of the game.
Junior forward Ryan Funk led Marist with 22 points. Funk drained five three-pointers and also grabbed seven rebounds.
Dozic had 19 points, 11 rebounds, and three assists. He was 4-for-6 from three-point range.
Parker finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
Junior forward Isaiah Lamb added 15 points off the bench to give the Red Foxes four double-digit scorers.
Marist outrebounded The Citadel, 43-35.
Marist shot .450 (18-for-40) from three-point range. The Red Foxes were .263 (5-for-19) in the first half, and .619 (13-for-21) in the second half.
Marist shot .556 (35-for-63) from the field, including a .606 clip (20-for-33) in the second half.
The Citadel shot .303 (10-for-33) from the field and .250 (5-for-20) from three-point range in the second half.
After being outscored 57-39 in the first 20 minutes, the Red Foxes outscored the Bulldogs 61-34 over the final 20.
This was the first time Marist scored 100 points since a 102-100 double overtime loss at Rider on Jan. 14, 2016. It was the first time Marist scored 100 points in a regulation game since a 103-72 triumph over Quinnipiac on March 2, 2014. It was the first time Marist scored 100 points in a regulation road victory since a 115-101 win at LIU on Feb. 12, 1994.
Ryan Funk’s 22 points tied the highest total by a Red Fox this season (previously accomplished twice by Parker). The point total was one shy of his career high, and his rebound total tied his career high.
Aleksander Dozic’s double-double was the first of his career, and the first by a Red Fox this season.
This was the first meeting between Marist and The Citadel in program history.
Fitting that the two Hudson Valley Division One basketball programs will have traveled 846 miles to play for the championship of this tournament in Charleston, South Carolina. The Red Foxes take on Army West Point at 5 p.m Saturday. This will be the second meeting between the teams this season. The Black Knights defeated the Red Foxes by a score of 94-73 in Poughkeepsie on Nov. 18.