By Mike Ferraro
POUGHKEEPSIE – The Marist men’s basketball team closed out non-conference play with a 68-45 win against Bethune-Cookman on Wednesday night at McCann Arena.
After being held scoreless for the first three minutes, Marist jumped out to a 13-5 lead thanks to a 10-0 run, which included two three-pointers from Samkelo Cele. This run gave the Red Foxes the lead for good.
Marist added runs of 10-0 and 6-0 later in the first half, and led by as much as 16 in the first 20 minutes. The Red Foxes took a 33-18 lead to the locker room.
Marist led by as much as 25 in the second half, and Bethune-Cookman never got closer than 18.
Marist held Bethune-Cookman to .213 (13-for-61) shooting from the field.
Cele led all scorers with 18 points. He shot 7-for-11 from the field, 3-for-7 from three-point range, and hit his only free-throw attempt.
Reigning Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player and Rookie of the Week Jao Ituka tallied 13 points, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
Matt Herasme led the team in minutes (30:40) and plus-minus (+26) had contributed 10 points, six rebounds, two assists, and a blocked shot. Herasme was the primary defender on Bethune-Cookman’s Joe French, who was held seven points under his average (team leader at 15.3 entering, scored six on 2-for-8 shooting from the field).
Victor Enoh led Marist with nine rebounds, followed by Javon Cooley with eight and Jordan Jones with seven. Marist held a 47-35 edge in rebounds.
Marcus Garrett led Bethune-Cookman with nine points. French and Damani McEntire led the Wildcats with eight rebounds apiece.
The Red Foxes will be back in action on Friday, Dec. 31 for MAAC play at Monmouth.