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”
ALBANY, N.Y. — It would have been hard to think that Fairfield would have been standing on the big stage in the MAAC semifinals on Sunday afternoon, with a nine point lead on the conference favorite, even six months ago. Continue reading “Fairfield Has Come A Long Way In A Short Time”
ALBANY, N.Y. — Fairfield came out with energy early, but Monmouth overpowered them in the first MAAC semifinal game at the Times Union Center to take a 76-63 victory on Sunday afternoon. Continue reading “Monmouth 76, Fairfield 63: Hawks Run Past Running Stags”
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. – Feeling sorry for Division I head basketball coaches can be a bit overrated, they are fairly well compensated, and although most have worked extremely hard to get near the top of their chosen profession (and now hold a position that thousands of other coaches would love to hold), they are at the end of the day dealing with a game on a daily basis.
(And, yes, I understand the pressures involved, that losing too many of those basketball games could find you unemployed eventually, but still).
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – It’s hard to call Marcus Gilbert unknown, especially in the MAAC, where he was a preseason first-team selection after all.
Maybe underappreciated might be a little closer to the target. Gilbert finished fifth in the MAAC with 16.1 points per game last season, and was praised by opposing coaches for his outstanding ability after almost every game, but made only the MAAC third team last March.
The primary reason isn’t hard to deduce, Gilbert’s Fairfield team finished a putrid 7-24, finishing with a lopsided MAAC Tournament loss that saw them score just 33 points. Yes, them, as in the whole team. It was Fairfield’s second straight seven-win season after the Stags went 19-16 in Gilbert’s freshman season, one that saw him on the MAAC All-Rookie Team.
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. – After a lackluster first-half that saw his team down seven points, Monmouth coach King Rice stormed into the locker room and … calmly discussed what his team had to do better to win the game.
“The thing about this year’s team is when I even get a frowned up face it’s a negative reaction to my kids,” Rice said. “So I have to be a better coach and understand they don’t respond to that at all. When we came into the locker room, it was just, ‘Guys when we got after them defensively, those three-pointers didn’t go in. When you stand two feet off them like we were doing, that team will beat you badly because they’re comfortable.’ We weren’t guarding to our level. No yelling. We just needed to do a better job on defense.”
LEWISBURG, Pa. – It’s never easy for first-year head coaches, but that can be doubly true when trying to step in at a program that’s used to having success.
Nathan Davis has plenty going for him at Bucknell, not the least of which is his tenure as an assistant coach on the most successful Bucknell teams of all-time: the 2004-05 team that upset Kansas (and won an ESPY for doing so), and the squad the following year that went undefeated in the Patriot League (and 28-5 overall), getting a No. 9 seed in the NCAAs and beating Arkansas in the first round.