The question at the beginning of the night was “who would step up?” A query present in each team’s prospectus, for different reasons. Continue reading “Three Thoughts: Fairfield vs. Sacred Heart”
FAIRFIELD, Conn. – We can debate the relative merits of the CIT and whether it belongs in the current college basketball landscape, but the fact is that Fairfield and New Hampshire had 2015-16 campaigns that deserved some kind of recognition, even though neither could get past their respective conference semifinals.
For the host Stags, it was a 12-win increase not only over last season, but the last two campaigns, and probably served to help save Sydney Johnson’s job as their new up tempo style got them 12 MAAC wins. For the Wildcats, they were chasing a school record 20th win after getting 19 a year ago at one of the most stubborn Division I campuses to win. Like Johnson, Bill Herrion was probably heading toward a pink slip last season before the fairly astounding turnaround.
ALBANY, N.Y. — Fairfield had not played in a game all season where they failed to make a second half three-pointer, but with just over a minute left and a three-point lead, they were in danger of doing so. Continue reading “Fairfield 64, Saint Peter’s 55: Stags Saved By Marcus Gilbert, One More Time”
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Let’s be honest, we all thought the Runnin’ Stags thing was just a clever gimmick for Sydney Johnson and Fairfield, right? Coming off 7-25 and 7-24 campaigns, Fairfield again started 0-3 and then struggled to beat then fellow-struggler Sacred Heart in overtime.
That game went 82 possessions, but it was seen more as Sacred Heart’s doing than Fairfield’s, but the 89-possession pummeling of Maryland-Eastern Shore that followed was an eye opener, and the Runnin’ Stags dragged 75 trips out of a pretty good Columbia team and beat them in doing it. The real turning point from ha-ha to hmmm came right after Christmas when Fairfield ran current Patriot League leader Bucknell out of Sojka Pavilion 101-91 in 86 (?!?) possessions.
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Fairfield’s two leading scorers (and only two averaging double digits) – Marcus Gilbert and Tyler Nelson – combined for just two points (both Nelson’s), the Stags committed 13 turnovers, and … had a 16-point lead at the half over Manhattan Sunday afternoon?
Manhattan battled back from there, but was never quite able to get over the proverbial hump, falling for the 10th straight trip to Webster Bank Arena, 80-70.
FAIRFIELD, Conn. – With Monmouth and Iona doing their thing, Saint Peter’s has been able to glide under the MAAC radar for most of the season. In fact, while Monmouth was beating Notre Dame and USC in Orlando (and scaring Dayton), the Peacocks were losing four straight, including to Lafayette, Hartford, and Fairleigh Dickinson, none of which can be mistaken for a national power.
But, although they haven’t been heard or seen by most, the Saint Peter’s Express has been registering on the MAAC screen. That approaching red dot and accompanying beep you heard Tuesday night was the Peacocks registering another conference win, this one 77-71 at Fairfield’s Alumni Hall. Saint Peter’s is now a game ahead of Iona and tied with Monmouth atop the conference at 6-1, and with a showdown at Jordan Washington-less Iona looming Friday night, the MAAC may have to deal with the Peacocks sooner rather than later.
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – There are lies, damned lies, and statistics as Mr. Twain once told us, of course, and, yes, there are times where the numbers (even advanced ones) only give an obstructed view of what is really transpiring.
However, for the disappointing 2015-16 Rider basketball team, it doesn’t take an advanced degree in hyperbolic topology to figure out what the biggest problem is.
Last season, the Broncs were picked seventh in the preseason MAAC poll, and finished alone in second at 15-5. With a break (or one less injury to senior center Matt Lopez), Rider might have been even better and perhaps wouldn’t have been upset by Saint Peter’s in the MAAC quarterfinals.
Fairfield head coach Sydney Johnson was hardly surprised to see his group put together the kind of performance they did Tuesday night. Continue reading “Youth Strengthening Fairfield, Sydney Johnson”