Sunday's game will be televised regionally on Time Warner Cable Sports Channel (check local listings)
FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- The Fairfield University men's basketball team will close out the regular season against Niagara University on Sunday afternoon. With the MAAC tournament starting next week, the Stags are looking to improve their standing in the final seedings for the event. Going into the game, Fairfield has a chance to be the fifth or sixth seed depending on the final day's results.
The Purple Eagles will try to end a four-game skid on Sunday, coming off a home setback to Saint Peter’s, 66-53. Niagara’s last win came at Canisius, a 94-81 decision behind 18 points from Matt Scott.
The 94-point effort was the team’s second-highest point total of the season, eclipsed by its 97 points in an overtime loss at Youngstown State (101-97). Niagara has reached 90 points four times this year and owns a 3-1 record. Two of those 90-point performances came against rival Canisius College, defeating the Golden Griffs by a 91-84 margin in late January.
The team has lost its last two home games (Saint Peter’s and Iona) which gives the squad a 2-3 mark in its last five contests at the Gallagher Center. Niagara won five of its 13 homes this year, starting the year with a 3-3 mark. The Purple Eagles have played more road games this season, 17 dates to be exact. Niagara has a couple of nationally-ranked student-athletes, namely Dominic Robb and Kahlil Dukes.
Robb entered the weekend ranked 23rd in blocked shots per game (2.41) and 15th in total blocks (70). Dukes places fifth nationally in free throw percentage at. 920. Scott enters today’s action ranked fifth in the conference with a 17.4 scoring average. He places seventh in rebounding with 7.0 per contest, one of only two student-athletes in the MAAC to place in the top 10 for scoring and rebounding.
The Stags evened up their road record at 7-7 with its thrilling 58-55 win at Canisius on Friday night. Tyler Nelson made a three-point field goal as time expired to break the tie, his second buzzer-beater in a week. He sent the Quinnipiac game into overtime with his driving layup, tying the score with a tenth of a second on the clock.
Fairfield had trailed for nearly the entire game, leading 6-5 in the first half and 55-51 late in the second half before the Griffs tied the game with under a minute remaining to set up Nelson game-winner. Fairfield has won of its last four road games, beating Marist, Quinnipiac, and Canisius during the run. Nelson led all Fairfield scorers with 17 points, which brought his team-leading scoring average to 19.3 points per game.
He remains secondi in the MAAC for scoring. Jonathan Kasibabu also reached double figures with 12 points and added seven rebounds in the Stags win, improving his numbers to 5.6 and 4.9 rebounds per contest.