NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. –Jonathan Kasibabu tied his career high with 16 points and nearly completed a double-double with nine rebounds, helping the Fairfield University men’s basketball team complete an upstate New York sweep with a 62-58 win over Niagara University.
This win was not easy as both teams held leads that forced the opponent to fight its way back. In the first half, five lead changes and two tied scores comprised the first four minutes of the game and set the tone for what would be a see-saw game that never saw one team establish complete control.
The Purple Eagles led early and took their biggest lead of the game at 19-13 with 12 minutes remaining, mostly on the talent of Matt Scott. The junior was responsible for nine of the team’s first 19 points, giving the home team its six-point edge. Fairfield fought back with 10 straight points which included a three-point shot from Curtis Cobb and Kasibabu that erased the deficit and pushed the Stags in front at 23-19 with seven minutes remaining.
Fairfield’s offense would add four more points to its lead by halftime, going into the locker room with a 32-24 advantage. Cobb, who picked up his first start since February 6, fueled the Fairfield offense with 10 points.
With the score 39-28 in Fairfield’s favor at the 17:22 mark, Niagara began to gain its footing and started to make a solid run that would eventually erase the double-digit deficit. The Purple Eagles outscored the Stags by an 18-5 count over nearly 10 minutes of game time to regain the lead at 46-44, its first lead since 19-18 at the 8:07 mark of the first half.
Fairfield followed with six of the next nine points to pull back in front 52-49 with 3:50 remaining in regulation and would not surrender the lead from that point. The Stags were able to rebuild their edge to nine points at 60-51 with 37 seconds remaining after a pair of Tyler Nelson free throws.
Cobb finished the game with 15 points while Johnson Jr. also reached double figures with nine points. Marvin Prochet paced the Niagara attack with a game-high 22 pints, followed by Scott’s 15 points.
The Stags finish the regular season with a 16-13 overall record and an 11-9 MAAC mark, setting up next week’s Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) tournament in Albany, N.Y. Fairfield earned the number five seed and will play fourth-seeded Siena College at the Times Union Center on Saturday. Tip off is slated for 9:30 pm.