Men's Basketball Season Notebook
March 19, 2017
RUNNING STAGS, WINNING STAGS.
In the past 10 seasons, the Fairfield men’s basketball program has registered SEVEN winning seasons tying them for second best in the MAAC since 2007. In all seven seasons, the Stags have qualified for postseason play setting a program record for postseason berths within a ten-year span. (The league leader in winning seasons is the Iona Gaels with eight winning seasons since 2007.)
MAKING WINNING PART OF OUR HISTORY.
With a 62-58 win vs the Purple Eagles of Niagara on February 26th 2017, the Running Stags ensured Head Coach Sydney Johnson his fourth winning season since joining the program. Johnson is the only head coach in the past 40 years of Fairfield men’s basketball to lead his teams to four winning seasons during his tenure.
FAIRFIELD KNOCKS OFF BOSTON COLLEGE (Boston Herald headline, 12/21/16)
As the heading states, our 2016-17 Running Stags bested fellow Jesuit institution Boston College 89-83 in a nationally televised game on December 21st 2016. The victory in front of an impressive Red Sea crowd at the Mohegan Sun Arena marked the men’s team’s first win versus an Atlantic Coast Conference team in the program’s 53 year history of competing at the Division I level.
THE RUNNING STAGS OFFENSE Part I
Junior Tyler Nelson capped a First Team All-MAAC season by leading the Running Stags in points per game (19.5), three pointers made (81) and free throws made (131). Nelson’s scoring average was the highest of any Stag in 28 seasons (Troy Bradford ’89 went for 20.4 points per game in the 1988-89 season) and came just short of leading the MAAC conference in scoring (Monmouth senior Justin Robinson finished with a 19.7 average).
THE RUNNING STAGS OFFENSE Part II
Tyler Nelson registered over 500+ points in a season for the second straight time in his career. There are only four Stags in the history of the program who have scored over 500+ points in back to back seasons and two of them have played for Head Coach Sydney Johnson: Nelson, Marcus Gilbert (2015-16, 2014-15), Troy Bradford (1988-89, 1987-88) and Tony George (1985-86, 1984-85).
DIALING IN FROM LONG DISTANCE.
Tyler Nelson led the Stags team with 81 three-pointers, his third straight season with 60 or more three pointers. Nelson joins Derek Needham ’12 as the only two Fairfield student-athletes to accomplish that task.For his career, Nelson has knocked down 211 three pointers putting him on pace to finish at or near the top of the school’s all-time three-point scorers. Derek Needham ’12 owns the school record with 281 triples and Marcus Gilbert ’16 ranks second all-time with 242 three pointers made. All three players--Needham, Gilbert and Nelson—have starred for Sydney Johnson-coached teams.
THE RUNNING STAGS OFFENSE Part III
On January 5th 2017 vs Manhattan College, sophomore Curtis Cobb set the Fairfield University men’s basketball single-game scoring record with 46 points in a 97-79 win at Draddy Gymnasium. Cobb went into the halftime break with 31 points and at game’s end had tied the school record for most three pointers in a game and most points scored in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) league game.
THE RUNNING STAGS OFFENSE Part IV
In addition to Cobb, the 2016-17 season saw SIX other Running Stags register their single game career highs in scoring at some point during the season:
Tyler Nelson 38 points (vs Rider 12/1/16)
Jerry Johnson 26 points (vs Iona 1/20/17)
Matija Milin 21 points (vs Iona 1/2/17)
Amadou Sidibe 19 points (vs Marist 2/9/17)
Jerome Segura 17 points (vs Sacred Heart 11/11/16)
Jonathan Kasibabu 16 points (vs Niagara 2/26/17)
WHY SO MANY CAREER HIGH SCORING MARKS?
Head Coach Sydney Johnson reminds his team to share the ball many times during a game and the Stags responded this season. The team dished out over 20+ assists in a single game on five separate occasions this year. As a program, the Fairfield team owns a 13-6 record under Coach Johnson when hitting the 20-assist mark in a game, and has won eight of their last nine games when the team has dished out 20 or more assists.
WINNING BY A NAIL
The Stags own a 5-1 record this season in games decided by 4 points or less. The program has made a habit of winning close games: the 2015-16 team went 5-1 in games won by 4 points or less.
NOT ONE-SIDED: RUNNING STAGS went on the Defense.
Fairfield owns a 4-0 record in the four games in which the opponent failed to score 60 points and a 11-2 mark overall when their opponent failed to score 70 points.
Fairfield finished the league ranking second overall in scoring defense. In the six seasons with Sydney Johnson, the Stags have ranked 1st or 2nd in scoring defense in four of his six seasons at the helm.