Both the Marist Red Foxes and Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers find themselves in the middle of the MAAC standings as the two square off in Emmitsburg on Friday.
Marist Red Foxes vs. Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers (-3.5, 132.5)
What has been holding Mount St. Mary’s back this season has been turnovers, ranking 351st in the nation in turnovers per possession at home and now has to face one of the nation’s toughest mid-major defenses.
The added turnovers go hand-in-hand with the team’s 3-point shooting percentage diminishing from being ranked 76th in the nation last season to just 218th this season.
With last year’s point guard Jalen Benjamin now at Santa Clara, Dakota Leffew has had to transition from playing off-ball to being the primary ball handler and has seen his 3-point shooting percentage dip from 38% last season to 34.5% season. Leffew also commits 2.9 turnovers per game.
Marist entered Thursday ranked 19th in points allowed on a per-possession basis and has been one of the best defenses at generating takeaways, ranking ninth in the nation in turnovers forced per offensive play in games played on the road.
Along with having an edge in ball security, Marist has also been the better team in preventing second-chance scoring opportunities, ranking 80th in defensive rebound rate and allowing opponents to rebound just 24.4% of their missed shots. Mount St. Mary’s ranks just 238th in that same category.
With Mount St. Mary’s ball security issues and the way the Marist defense is built, this is a bad matchup for the Mountaineers and will lead to the Red Foxes getting a sly road win.
The Play: Marist +3.5