Marist ticked off Kevin Rice and paid for it in tournament loss

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ In the game in which he scored a career-high in points, it was a bump on one of Kevin Rice’s teammates that set him off.Early into the third quarter, Marist midfielder Mike Begley leaned his left shoulder into Syracuse faceoff specialist Ben Williams on the run, causing Williams to fall to the ground.Rice confronted the Red Foxes’ faceoff man Dominic Montemurro after the play in a moment that was the culmination of what Rice called a “chippy” game. As he jogged to the sideline for his 30-second penalty, SU head coach John Desko violently clapped his hands together and loudly scolded at his senior captian.“Just in these playoff games we want to take advantage of everything we can,” Desko said of his message to Rice.“Obviously I overreacted a little too much,” Rice added. “I should’ve just gone in there to make sure Ben was alright.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFrom that moment on, Rice collected two goals and two assists to round out the quarter and give him nine points on the night. The break in character from the usually stoic Rice helped launch second-seeded Syracuse (13-2, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) over Marist (14-4, 6-0 Metro Atlantic), 20-8, in the Orange’s opening game of the NCAA tournament on Sunday night in front of 2,555 fans at the Carrier Dome.Rice dished off two assists and scored twice in the second quarter as a part of SU’s 10-0 run that lasted nearly 23 minutes.“He’s the whole package,” Red Foxes attack Joseph Radin said. “He can score, pass, and makes his teammates better all-around.”Rice didn’t produce anything offensively until the second quarter, and the Red Foxes actually opened the scoring in the contest before two minutes had gone by. The sparse, but rambunctious contingent of Red Foxes fans roared as the Marist players viciously bumped helmets and shoulders on the sideline.But as the deficit quickly grew for Marist, it was as if the Red Foxes tried to compensate by bringing out their sideline physicality on the field. In Rice’s offensive spree in the second quarter, his first goal was immediately followed with a body check from behind delivered by Marist defender Ben Willett.SU’s senior attack sprawled on the ground momentarily before popping up and celebrating with his teammates. Ultimately it turned out to be the prequel to his confrontation with Montemurro.“I just wasn’t into the game too much yet,” Rice said “… That hit sometimes wakes you up a little bit and gets in the blood flowing.“I think it just kick-started my game.”Before he was laid out across the crease, Rice was able to bank on his fellow attack and midfielders while he tried to work out of his early-game groove. Syracuse had built a five-goal lead before Rice’s name ever appeared on the stats sheet.He reestablished himself and amassed five points by the time he was forced to serve his 30-second penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. A six-goal deficit for Marist at the time didn’t mean the game was out of reach, but Rice took it upon himself to make it that way after his half-minute sabbatical.Attacks Randy Staats and Dylan Donahue teamed up upon Rice’s return to grow the Orange lead to seven. Rice then contributed four consecutive points and lofted the Orange’s lead over Marist to 10 when he converted on a Jeff Desko pass with two minutes left in the third quarter.His poise had returned, and the difference in Rice was stark from the beginning of the game. Syracuse and Rice got by unscathed in its opening-round win, but the message from the senior was clear that the ordeal was one he’ll move past with ease.“Coach had every right to be angry with me, it was a stupid play in a close game that could cost us.“That’s a mistake that I won’t make again.” Comments Published on May 11, 2015 at 12:29 am Contact Connor: [email protected] | @connorgrossmanlast_img

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