POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - The Marist men's basketball cruised to a regular season finale win over Niagara on Saturday afternoon by a score of 89-77. The Red Foxes, led by junior Devin Price's (Inglewood, Calif.) career-high 32 point effort, held a double digit lead over the Purple Eagles for the final 28 and a half minutes of action. Sophomore Jay Bowie (Tampa, Fla.) notched his second career double-double in the Red Foxes' 13th win of the 2011-12 season.
Niagara opened the game with the first basket of the contest at 18:56. After a layup by freshman Chavaughn Lewis (Queens, N.Y.) tied it up at 2-2 at 18:35, Marist never looked back and led throughout the remainder of the first half and the game.
The Red Foxes held one to two possession leads throughout the next 6:36 of play until they went up by seven at 11:59 following a trio of successful foul shots by Price. Those three points gave the junior shooting guard 14 of his team's first 18 points.
Marist continued creeping away on the scoreboard over the next few minutes until they opened a double digit lead at 26-16 with 8:39 left in the first half. Following a made jumper by sophomore Pieter Prinsloo (Johannesburg, South Africa) as the shot clock was expiring, Marist was up 12 at 28-16 with 7:17 remaining. Niagara would never get closer than 12 the rest of the game.
The Red Foxes led by Price's scorching shooting stroke, expanded their lead to 18 at the half, 46-28. Both the points for and margin were season highs for Marist. Price led all scorers with 22 points on 6-8 field goal shooting, 3-4 three point shooting and 7-7 foul shooting. Lewis and Bowie also had a strong opening period as they registered point totals of nine and seven respectively.
As a team, Marist shot 53.8 (14-26) percent versus 34.5 (10-29) for Niagara. The Red Foxes also led in three point shooting 44.4 (4-9) to 20.0 (2-10) and foul shooting at 82.4 (14-17) to 60.0 (6-10) at the half.
Efficient Red Fox offense continued to be the story of the second half as Marist able to twice stretch their advantage out to 21 points; 51-30 at 16:56 and 55-34 at 14:10. The second advantage was made possible by a thunderous alley-oop from Price to the leaping Adam Kemp (Sherrill, N.Y.).
Of note, all three of Kemp's field goal attempts and consequentially his makes were via alley-oops.
Price's previous career high of 25 points fell at the 10:19 mark with his fourth trey of the day. The successful basket was setup off of a crisp pass by senior R.J. Hall (East Orange, N.J.) along the perimeter. Price closed his scoring with six more successful foul shots in the final 1:36 of play.
When the 40 minutes of fast-paced action went final at McCann Arena, the Red Foxes were victorious 89-77. With the win, Marist completed its regular season with a 13-17 record and a 7-11 mark in MAAC play. They also won their 10th game of the year at home.
Individually, Price was the star of the game as he shot 58.3 percent (7-12) from the field, 57.1 percent (4-7) from three point range and 93.3 percent (14-15) from the line on his way to 32 points. His free throw attempts and makes were both career highs. He also added four assists, four steals and three rebounds.
Bowie and Lewis tied with the second-most points on Marist as they each tallied 16. Bowie augmented his point total with a career-high 11 rebounds, while Lewis added four steals. This was Bowie's second career double-double, his first being on Dec. 3, 2010 versus Niagara.
In his final regular game, Hall received his 25th career start and finish with nine points, two assists and a steal in 18 minutes.
As a team, Marist outshot Niagara from the field at 54.5 (24-44) percent to 40.3 (27-67), from three point range at 42.9 percent (6-14) to 20.0 (5-25) and at the line 83.3 percent (35-42) to 72.0 (18-25). 35 successful foul shots was a season-high total for the Red Foxes and second time this season that they made over 30 versus Niagara.
The Red Foxes will next be in action in the first round of the MAAC Tournament in Springfield, Mass. Seeded eighth, Marist will open play versus the ninth-seeded Saint Peter's Peacocks on Friday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m.