With Marist set to take on St. Johns tomorrow night from the Worlds Most Famous Arena, it is important for head coach Matt Brady and his team to close out 2007 on a strong note.
Having lost their last two games to UMass and MAAC defending champion Niagara on Christmas Eve,Eve... the Red Foxes could very well find themselves in a 4-game skid heading into 2008.
With tough match-ups against the Red Storm and either Hoftstra or V-Tech in the Aeropostale Holiday Tournament at the Garden, the Red Foxes are faced with their toughest competition since they were swept in the O'Reilly Auto-Parts tourney in November.
However, the Red Foxes have come a long way since being overwhelmed in Puerto Rico and have put together very impressive wins against Richmond, Bucknell, Wright State and Canisius...with the key to those wins being a swarming defense and a well balanced scoring attack.
In the last two games the Red Foxes (6-5) have gotten away from this winning formula and been sloppy with the ball and have shown their inexperience; not being able to sustain runs, take care of the ball, keep leads to close out games or score late in the game.
Against Niagara, Marist blew a 12 point second half lead because of turnovers and the inability to score down the stretch. 8 combined turnovers from Devezin and Goodwin( 4 in only 15 minutes), hurt the Red Foxes as a 7 minute scoring drought down the stretch killed them.
With Marist set for the big stage of Broadway, Coach Brady can ill-afford to have his inexperience hurt the team again.
The Solution......Play Ryan Schneider
Schneider a Red Shirt Junior, played for two seasons at the University of Vermont proving to be a staple in their success. He has the kind of big game experience the the Red Foxes deeply need, especially down the stretch. Schneider can rebound and shoot the lights out from downtown, and he has the big game experience that Goodwin does not have.
At Vermont Schneider recorded 10 double-doubles, with his leadership and ability to hit the big 3 driving Vermont to a American East Conference championship and a berth into the NCAA Tournament, where they knocked off Syracuse.
If the Red Foxes are to have any chance at the Garden this weekend, they need to stop the second half melt-downs, they need to protect the ball, they need to score down the stretch, they need experienced players in the game....they need what Schneider brings to the table, and most of all... they need Coach Brady to realize that.