POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- Since his sophomore season, Amadou Sidibe was tabbed one the leaders of the Fairfield University men’s basketball team, serving as a captain since his second season with the Stags. And its nights like this to which Head Coach Sydney Johnson can point when justifying his decision.
With the Stags struggling offensively, Sidibe took over the final six minutes of the first half and helped turn a 14-14 game into a 27-19 halftime lead. From there, the forward pushed his team toward an important win over Marist College, as the team picked up a 73-53 decision over the Red Foxes at the McCann Center. The Stags improved to 12-11 overall and evented up their MAAC mark at 7-7.
Sidibe finished the night with another double-double, netting 19 points and securing 14 rebounds. But the most important points of the night came late in the first half. Trailing 17-16 with four minutes remaining, Jonathan Kasibabu threw down a dunk that put the Stags in front by a point. From there, Sidibe scored six straight Fairfield points that turned the one-point lead into a five-point edge.
The Stags seemed poised for another run inside the lane, but Sidibe signaled to pull the ball out and run the clock. Jerry Johnson Jr. took advantage of the opportunity and netted a long-three-pointer that gave Fairfield its eight-point halftime lead.
In the second half, Tyler Nelson, who drew the assignment of stopping Marist’s top scorer Khallid Hart, moved into a more offensive mode. After keeping Hart to just two points in the first half, Nelson attacked on the Fairfield side of the court, resulting in a team-best 11 second-half points. He was aided by the outside shooting of Johnson Jr. and Curtis Cobb, who combined for five three-point field goals in the second half. Johnson Jr. tied his season high with five three pointers and ended the night with 16 points. Cobb made two of four shots from behind the arc enroute to a nine-point night.
The decisive run of the second half came midway through the period when Fairfield was able to put together seven consecutive made field goals, four of which were three pointers, that turned an 11-point lead into a 20-point advantage at 58-38 with eight minutes remaining. The Stags would eventually take their biggest lead a few minutes later at 22 points before settling for the 20-point win.
Brian Parker led all Marist scorers with 17 points while Ryan Funk added 10 points to the Red Foxes’ effort. Hart, who averaged 17 points per game, was held to nine points, three of which came on a 25-footer in the final minute.
After enjoying a rare weekend off, the Stags will return to action on Monday night against Rider University when they host the Broncs at Alumni Hall. The game time is slated for 7 pm.