The Marist College men's basketball team kicked off its home campaign last night against St. Bonaventure, losing 77-54, and falling to 0-2 on the season.
First year head coach, Chuck Martin, previously a two-year assistant at Memphis, was very intense on the sideline, but the team couldn't get in a groove and didn't seem to be communicating well on the court.
St. Bonaventure (2-0) looked great. If they played in the MAAC, they'd definitely be a tournament team this season. Unfortunately for them, they're in the A-10, so when conference play starts, they'll be running into teams with equal size, speed, and strength.
Lawrence Williams (LB) had a thundering dunk just seconds into the game on an assist from David Devezin that got the McCann Center pumping. That didn't last long.
Ryan Schneider was the bright spot for the Red Foxes, scoring 16 points and pulling down eight boards. Through two games, he's averaging a double-double at 12 points and 10 rebounds per game.
As for the nuts and bolts, Devezin and fellow guard DeJuan Goodwin didn't seem to mesh, almost as if they were competing against each other on the court, rather than side-by-side.
I expect Chuck Martin to take care of that very quick.
One of the most promising aspects of the game for Marist was the play of freshman R.J. Hall. He showed true sportsmanship on the court last night. He was very polite to the referees when they were making terrible calls, and when he had the ball, he was running the offense as if he'd been doing it for four years.
His downside is his size. Standing 5'10", he was unable to penetrate effectively to open up his teammates on the wing.
Once the Red Foxes get a little chemistry in the locker room, they definitely have the speed, athleticism, and raw talent to pull off a few upsets and make some noise in-conference.
They do have some work to do, though. Marist committed 24 turnovers last night, only dishing out 10 assists. I'm not a math guy, but I'm pretty sure that's not even close to a 1-for-1 ratio.
The Bonnies' size, as I alluded to before, was too much for Marist. They blocked eight shots, and held Marist to 33 percent shooting, and 4-17 from long range. Four of the 3-pointers missed by Marist were from about 30 feet, none of which were smart shots.
Chris Matthews dropped 21 points for St. Bonaventure, but Andrew Nicholson stood out with 13 points, five blocked shots, and I swear he almost touched the roof on a couple of his dunks.
This game was each team's second game of the Garden State Challenge, a five-team, round-robin tournament without a winner. Rutgers, Robert Morris, and Delaware are the three other teams involved.
Rutgers/St. Bonaventure looks to be the best game featured in this tournament. Since that game will be played in Piscataway, I'm going to take Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights match up with the Bonnies in both size and speed. It should still be a great game.