POUGHKEEPSIE - The sixth-seeded Marist men's basketball team (12-18 overall, 9-11 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) will open play in the 2014 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships on Thursday night, when the Red Foxes take on 11th-seeded Niagara (6-25, 3-17).
After starting its season 0-9, Marist went 12-9 since mid-December. The Red Foxes achieved their highest win total and best MAAC Tournament seeding since 2008. Marist enters the tournament with four players averaging at least 10 points per game, led by junior swingman Chavaughn Lewis at 17.3.
Lewis enters the tournament just three points shy of becoming the first player in program history to reach the 1,500-point milestone in his junior year. Senior forward Jay Bowie enters the tournament with 982 career points, and senior center Adam Kemp has scored 959.
Marist and Niagara split the regular-season series, with each team winning at home. In the Red Foxes' victory in Poughkeepsie on Feb. 1, Bowie scored a career-high 31 points.
All of Marist's tournament games will be broadcast live on WKIP (1450 AM) in Poughkeepsie, as well as on the Red Fox Network and iHeartRadio, with Dean Darling on play-by-play and Ed Weir on color. The tournament's quarterfinal and semifinal games will air on ESPN3, and Monday's championship game will be carried by ESPN2.
For in-game updates, follow the official Twitter account of Marist Athletics, @MaristAthletics. The Marist Athletics Department will also be running live blogs for all tournament games.
Should the Red Foxes advance, they will return to action on Saturday against third-seeded Quinnipiac at 9 p.m.