FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- The final road trip of the 2016-17 regular season sends the Fairfield University men's basketball team to upstate New York for its annual road match ups with Canisius College and Niagara University. The Stags will take on the Golden Griffs on Friday night while the Purple Eagles represent the final regular season game of the season on Sunday afternoon. As always, the final weekend will have a great deal to do with the final seedings for the 2017 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Basketball Championship in Albany beginning on March 2.
Friday's game will have a significant impact for both Canisius and Fairfield as the Stags trail their host by a single game in the MAAC standings. The Golden Griffs enter the weekend with a 10-8 MAAC mark while Fairfield stands at 9-9 in conference play. Canisius will host Saint Peter's for its final regular-season game of the year.
The Golden Griffs are coming off a five-day layoff, their last game being played on February 19 at Marist. Canisius was nipped by the Red Foxes, 76-74, despite outscoring Marist by a 7-1 margin over the final three minutes to turn an eight-point deficit into a two-point difference. Canisius held an 11-point lead in the second half until an 18-6 run by the home team put the game back in contention for the final 10 minutes. Kiefer Douse led all Canisius scorers with 19 points while Phil Valenti added 16 points.
Kassius Robertson, the team’s leading scorer, was held to nine points, the first time that he failed to reach double figures since netting seven points against Tennessee State in November (23 games). Robertson gains most of his points from three-point range, leading the MAAC with 3.1 three pointers per game. His per game average is also good enough to rank nationally, spending time in the top 25 for that category for most of the season and comes into this game ranked 30th in the nation. He averages 16.8 points per game, one of four Griffs in double figures for the season.
Jermaine Crumpton (16.6 ppg), Phil Valenti (13.7 ppg), and Kiefer Douse (11.5 ppg) round out the team’s top four scorers. Valenti represents the team’s top rebounder, averaging 5.6 caroms per contest.
Fairfield dropped its second straight game with an 82-62 setback against Monmouth on Tuesday night. The Stags closed out the home portion of their schedule with a 7-6 mark, their second straight winning season at home. Tyler Nelson led all scorers in the game with 25 points, while Amadou Sidibe (11 points) and Jerry Johnson Jr. (10 points) each reached double figures in the contest.
Nelson hit the 20-point mark for the 14th time this season and raised his season scoring average to 19.4 points. He places second in the MAAC for overall scoring and in conference only games with a 20.1 mark. He joins Justin Robinson (21.4 ppg) as the only student-athletes in the MAAC who are scoring better than 20 points per conference game.
Sidibe remains the MAAC's top rebounder and places 24th in the nation with 9.7 rebounds per game. Curtis Cobb, who picked up a personal-best 10 rebounds in the Monmouth game, places second on the team in scoring (16.4 ppg), while Johnson Jr. closes out the top three with 11.7 points per contest.