Monday, November 19, 2007

Foxes Swept in San Juan

To say that the Red Foxes are happy to be leaving Purto Rico would be a vast understatement. On the long road trip Marist lost 3 straight games, dropped their record to 1-3 on the season, are 2 games under .500 for the first time in two years and to top it off... finished dead last in the ESPNU O'Reilly Auto Parts Tournament.
But all-in-all it wasn't that bad.

The Good News
Looking at it rationally, the Red Foxes had a tough earned 0-3 in San Juan; they faced some legit competition in majors Miami and Temple and played hard (for the most part) in what was a tournament they probably were not ready for. For a team that is still coming together, this was an early challenge that simply proved they are not ready for the big stage yet. But make no mistake, tough losses built character and if that is the case, the Red Foxes should have plenty of it heading into Colgate on Wednesday.

After being outclassed by Miami on Thursday, the Red Foxes lost two straight games that could have gone either way to Houston and Temple in overtime. In each successive game, the Red Foxes vastly improved, especially on Defense and showed a lot resilience and fight. With Brady changing defensive schemes using Man, Zone and even a Box-and-One at times, the Red Foxes threw off the competition with their versatility and ability to change at any time. In fact, against Temple the Red Foxes "D" held the Owls without a field goal for 12 minutes in the second half, sparking a big Red Fox run.

Another positive was the Red Foxes finally had their talented guard from Syracuse Louie McCroskey eligible, and he did not disappoint Sunday. McCroskey showed off his promise by leading the team with 18 points on 6-17 shooting (but turned the ball over 4 times).

The Bad News
The major problems on offense cannot be overlooked. Minus a couple of big runs here and there, overall the Red Foxes were extremely sloppy with the basketball. Too many possessions were wasted on broken plays, fouls and careless turnovers. They looked uncomfortable in their offensive set and could not execute plays down the stretch. Leading by 7 with 5:39 remaining against Temple Sunday, the Red Foxes offense suddenly turned anemic, only managing to score 2 points over the final 5:17 of the game, in what was an eventual overtime loss.

Time is not on the side of the Red Foxes to "adjust" because their tough out-of-conference schedule picks up where it left off later this week. As soon as they touch down back in the States they are faced with tough match-ups against Colgate on the road and Richmond at home.

In the meantime, it is important for Coach Brady to work out the 'kinks' on the offensive end and have his team cut down on mental errors and careless turnovers. And although they are still trying to figure out roles on this team, in order to win the close ones, someone is going to have to step up and make the big play late in the game...and that certainly did not happen in San Juan.

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