BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- The numbers may not necessarily reflect the end result as the Fairfield University men's basketball shot 47 percent from the floor, recorded 10 assists, and placed four student-athletes in double figures. But the one number that erased all the good in those statistics was 22 in the turnover column. And, it was the turnovers, namely 16 in the first half that played a role in the Stags' 86-72 loss to Canisius College at Webster Bank Arena.
The game appeared to be going in Fairfield's favor from the opening tip as Curtis Cobb put points on the board off the team's opening possession. The layup led to a three-point basket from both Tyler Nelson and Matija Milin, pushing the Stags in front 8-0 just minutes into the game. But the mistakes began to pile up from that point as Fairfield turned the ball over on five of their next six possessions, allowing the Golden Griffs to tie the score at 9-9 with 15 minutes left in the half.
Canisius' run would continue to the point that it would build a 17-11 lead just two minutes later, a lead that the team would never surrender the rest of the way. The Stags still remained close to their opposition, trailing by only four points at 23-19 following a free throw by Jerome Segura. The Golden Griffs would retake control of the contest with an 11-0 run that turned the small deficit into a 15-point margin, 34-19, before Milin's layup ended the run with 4:50 on the clock.
That 15-point lead would remain intact for Canisius as the two teams went into the locker room with the score standing at 46-31 at the buzzer. The Griffs would carry that late first-half momentum into the second half as well, raising their advantage to 22 points at 59-37 with 14:33 left in the game.
Fairfield found new life though and began to take points off the deficit slowly but surely over the eight minutes. Milin started the Fairfield run with another three-point field goal, the first of three long-range jumpers that cut into the Canisius lead. Nelson was responsible for two of those three pointers and netted eight points during Fairfield's run. The Stags came within eight points at 69-61 after Segura's short jumper at the 6:20 mark.
The Golden Griffs responded with a 10-3 spurt that nearly doubled that advantage and regained its double-digit lead. Fairfield never came closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
Nelson led all Fairfield scorers with 24 points, followed by Milin's 15 points. Curtis Cobb and Segura also reached double figures with 13 points each. Jermaine Crumpton paced Canisius with his first career double-double, scoring a career-high 32 points and grabbing a personal-best 10 rebounds.
Fairfield returns to the court on Sunday, January 15 when it hosts Siena College at Webster Bank Arena. Game time is slated for 2 pm.