Marist picked up the Samson Bracket championship at the second annual Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic, defeating LIU Brooklyn 70-53 at the SSE Arena in Belfast.
Marist used a 14-0 run in the opening phase of the game to take control and never looked back leading by as many as 27.
Senior guard Brian Parker scored a game-high 15 points, as he picked up MVP honours, followed by senior forward Isaiah Lamb and junior center Tobias Sjoberg with 12 points apiece, and freshman guard Darius Hines with 10.
It's the luck of the Irish!
— Marist Athletics (@MaristAthletics) November 30, 2018
Speaking on their team’s victory, Marist head coach John Dunne said: “We’re really excited about the win. I know we controlled the game from start to finish…the guys played with great passion and desire and poise.
“The finish could have been a little cleaner but at the end of the day winning any kind of tournament is a majorly positive. We’re really happy…and we had some fans here in Belfast that we put some smiles on their faces. We have a great fan base.”
LIU were led by 10 points from Craig Owens Jr, as the Red Foxes held Raiquan Clark, LIU Brooklyn’s leading scorer who came in averaging 23.0 points per game, to a season-low eight points.
Joining MVP Brian Parker on the All-Tournament team for the Samson Bracket were Albany’s Ahmad Clark, Dartmouth’s Chris Wright, LIU’s Raiquan Clark and Darius Hines from Marist.
Your #BelfastClassic2018 Samson Bracket All-Tournament Team:
And your Samson Bracket Most Valuable Player, from @MaristMBB, Brian Parker!!! Huge congrats to all!
— BHOF Belfast Classic (@BelfastClassic) November 30, 2018
Junior Brendan Barry put on a long-distance shooting clinic drilling seven 3-pointers as Dartmouth sank a total of 17 from the perimeter to defeat Albany, 91-77, in the consolation game of the Samson Bracket of the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic.
— Dartmouth M Hoops (@DartmouthMBK) November 30, 2018
Barry, the NCAA’s active career leader in 3-point percentage, finished the game with 25 points for the Big Green (4-4), while junior James Foye and sophomore Chris Knight both set career highs with 20 points apiece.
The Green wasted little time in establishing their hot hand as Jackson got the fireworks started with a triple on Dartmouth’s first shot of the game and never trailed as Barry rained down his first attempt on the next possession. Knight took over for the next three minutes, tallying eight straight points for a 14-9 lead five minutes in.
Knight’s last bucket started a 17-0 run for the Big Green as the 3-pointers started to come more quickly, and Dartmouth never looked back.
The Buffalo Bulls secured the first spot in the Goliath Finals Championship Game on Saturday by beating University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee 96-77 on Friday morning.
— UB Men's Basketball (@UBmenshoops) November 30, 2018
Buffalo used a 17-4 second half run to pull away, as the Bulls, who are currently ranked #21 in the AP Poll and #20 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, improved to 6-0 on the year, only the second time they have ever started a season 6-0, and the first since 1930-31.
“I was happy with the fight of our guys today and I think they are really starting to gel,” said head coach Nate Oats. “We gave them a few more runs than we would have liked, but I really liked the response of everyone on our team. I thought today was a total team victory.”
Senior Jeremy Harris led UB with 21 points, going 8-of-14 from the floor, while adding four assists. Perkins added 20 points and nine rebounds, as he tied his career high with four three pointers. He surpassed Calvin Cage for 11th place on UB’s all-time scoring list in the win.
Carson Warren-Newsome had 26 in defeat for Milwaukee.
University of San Francisco sailed to victory with a 76-58 win against Stephen F. Austin to remain undefeated on the season and set up a tantalising match-up in the Goliath Bracket final on Saturday.
— USF Basketball (@USFDonsMBB) November 30, 2018
USF improved to 7-0 for the first time in 37 years following the win, as they will now match-up with fellow undefeated side Buffalo in the final, as one of them will see their perfect record go.
The Dons led by just three points at the intermission as both teams were hot to start but after the intermission, USF turned up the defensive intensity, holding the Jacks to 24 points in the second half. SFA shot just 37.7 percent from the field in the second half including a 1-for-8 mark from 3-point range.
Discussing his team’s victory, Head Coach Kyle Smith said: “It was a great effort on our guys’ part. Stephen F has had a lot of success with their program. I know right now we are playing pretty well. We just take it day by day, possession by possession. This group has some special leaders and that’s what it takes to get to that level. It takes leadership and caring for one another, and we’ve got that.”
Jordan Ratinho was one of four Dons in double figures, he finished with a game-high 19 points going 7-for-13 from the field and 5-for-10 from 3-point range. Also in double figures was Charles Minlend who had 16 points. Frankie Ferrari had 14 points and nine assists.
Kevon Harris’ 18 points led SFA.
Marc Mulholland, Executive Director of the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic remarked on the second day of action, saying:
“I’m delighted that the Tournament has been a resounding success so far, with gameplay today even more impressive than yesterday! It’s great to see such an enthusiastic turnout of supporters from around the world over the last two days and we only hope tomorrow’s Goliath Bracket Finals attract even more visitors to the SSE Arena to experience an extraordinary level of college basketball!”
On Saturday 1st December, the tournament will see the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic come to an end for another year, with the Goliath Bracket Finals gameplay beginning at 1.00pm as Stephen F. Austin State University and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee fight it out in the Consolation Game.
Stat of the night: Out of 347 NCAA Division 1 Men's Hoops teams, only SEVENTEEN are left undefeated! And tomorrow, two of them will do battle on the @SSEBelfastArena floor! #21 @UBmenshoops vs. @USFDonsMBB!! Let's go!!! #BelfastClassic2018 #UBhornsUp #USFDons
— BHOF Belfast Classic (@BelfastClassic) November 30, 2018
After this, the tournament will reach its pinnacle for the weekend with the final game featuring the University at Buffalo Bulls and University of San Francisco Dons, which can be watched in the UK on BBC Sport online.
Tickets are still available at belfastbasketballclassic.com.
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