BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Whenever two strong defensive teams get together, flow and rhythm are never really welcome on the basketball court. Siena and Fairfield have both been ranked among the top five in the MAAC in several defensive categories over the first few months of the season so today's meeting between the two teams played out as expected.
In the end, Siena ended up holding Fairfield to 39 percent from the floor and 14 percent from three-point range which enabled the Saints to earn a 63-54 decision over the Stags at Webster Bank Arena.
"I think you have to give credit to Siena because they had a good defensive effort," Head Coach Sydney Johnson said. "I think our defense was very, very good as well but we just couldn't get it going offensively today."
The Stags held the lead early, scoring six of the game’s first eight points, which led to a four-point advantage three-minutes into the game. Matija Milin was responsible for most of that quick start, scoring four of Fairfield’s six points. Fairfield still held a three-point lead four minutes later at 10-7 after Curtis Cobb’s jumper at the 12:08 mark.
While the Saints defense surrendered just 15 more points over the final 12 minutes, the Stags were still able to hang with the visiting team. Fairfield and Siena entered the final four minutes of the half tied at 25-25 following Milin’s jumper at the 4:31 mark. Siena scored the next eight points which made the score 33-25 with a minute remaining before Jerry Johnson Jr. ended the Saints run with a jumper. Khalil Richard ended the half with a pair of free throws to send Siena into the locker room with a 35-27 lead.
Fairfield made an early run to start the second half as Jerome Segura and Cobb posted the first points of the period, cutting the lead to four points, 35-31. The lead remained at four points, 39-35, before Siena used a 6-0 run to push the lead to double-digits, 45-35 with Bisping scoring four of those points. Fairfield rallied just after that quick hit by Siena and came within three points after Johnson Jr.’s three pointer made the score 49-46 with 10 minutes remaining in the game
But the Saints responded with nine of the next 11 points to recapture their double-digit lead at 58-48 with 2:49 on the clock. Siena did it mostly from the free throw line at the end, netting seven of eight attempts over the final two-plus minutes of the game.
Amadou Sidibe posted his sixth double-double of the season with 10 points and 14 rebounds while Johnson Jr. came off the bench to score a team-high 14 points for Fairfield. Brett Bisping paced the Siena offense with 16 points while Lavon Long and Marquis Wright also reached double digits for the Saints with 11 points each.
Fairfield gets right back on the court Tuesday night when it hosts Saint Peter’s University for a 7 pm game at Webster Bank Arena, ending a three-game home stand. The Stags will play a pair of road games later in the week, heading to Iona on Friday and Monmouth on next Sunday.