ON A MISSION: The Fairfield Stags ended a three-game losing skid with their opening round MAAC win against Saint Peter’s. Fairfield, which plays No. 2 Rider tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the quarterfinals, was glad to enjoy victory again, but the Stags are not getting carried away.
“A little bit, but not much,” junior Maurice Barrow said, when asked if the Saint Peter’s win was a relief for the team. “It gives us momentum into the next game, but you can’t slack off.”
“We’re just trying to get one win at a time,” senior Derek Needham added.
ROOKIES NO MORE: Fairfield coach Sydney Johnson has mixed and matched his rookies in the line up all season, but against the Peacocks only freshman Amadou Sidibe, who was the co-MAAC Rookie of the Year started. Barrow started in place of Marcus Gilbert, who was an all-conference rookie-team selection.
Sidibe led the Stags with 13 rebounds and six points. Gilbert came off the bench to score six points and Coleman Johnson had two points, four rebounds and two blocks in 18 minutes.
One of Johnson’s blocks came at a critical time for the Stags. With the teams tied at 46-46, off a Needham 3-pointer, Johnson stuffed Yvon Raymond going in for a go-ahead layup with 3:22 to play.
“We tried to tell them to just keep going,” Needham said on advice for the freshmen. “It’s a MAAC Tournament game and they are the hardest games in your career to win basically. We just tell our freshmen to keep going; we are going to need you down the stretch.”
QUOTABLE: Sydney Johnson on the Stags extending their season:
“I’m just excited to see Derek, Colin (Nickerson) and Dez (Wade) in a Fairfield uniform one more time.”
Mo Barrow on when Needham has the hot hand:
“When he steps up we just try to keep looking for him. He’s made big shots for us to win games in the past and we’re going to keep looking for him. If he’s off, he’s a shooter. Shooters shoot and he just has to keep shooting.”
TIDBITS: The Stags had 16 offensive boards against the Peacocks and converted them into 13 second-chance points. … Fairfield prevailed in a rough night at the foul line for both schools, hitting 12 of 22 (Saint Pete was 4 of 9). The Stags were only 4-for-10 in the final minute, though.