FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- The Fairfield University men's basketball team will begin play in the 2017 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Basketball Championship on Saturday night, playing host Siena College at the Times Union Center. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU, beginning at 9:30 pm.
The game represents the start of what the Stags hope will be a run to the conference championship and the NCAA tournament berth that goes along with the title. Fairfield earned its spot in the MAAC tournament as the number five seed, posting a 16-13 overall record and an 11-9 MAAC mark.
The Saints won three of their last four and six of their last nine regular season games to enter the MAAC tournament as the fourth seed. Siena brings a 15-16 overall record into this contest which includes a 12-8 MAAC mark. During that season-ending run, the team averaged 80.7 points per game and scored 80 or more in six of those nine contests. The Saints have been very tough at home, winning 10 of their 14 games at the Times Union Center.
Most of that offense comes from five student-athletes who combine for nearly 68 points per game. Marquis Wright represents the team’s top scorer at 16.5 points per game. He also leads the team with 47 three pointers (1.6 per game) and 148 assists (4.8 per game). Nico Clareth came off the bench for a 22-point performance in the regular season finale against Marist, raising his season scoring average to 13.6 points per contest. Javion Ogunyemi and Lavon Long are not far behind at 13.4 and 13.0 points per game, respectively.
Brett Bisping rounds out the scoring quintet with 12.2 points every forty minutes. He just missed out on averaging a double-double for the season, posting a MAAC-best 9.6 rebounds per outing.
The Stags captured a pair of wins in upstate New York last weekend, capping the sweep with a 62-58 win over Niagara University. Sophomore Jonathan Kasibabu led all Fairfield scorers with 16 points, while Curtis Cobb added 15 points in his return to the starting lineup. Cobb had come off the bench in his previous six appearances. The Stags led for nearly the entire game, outscoring the Purple Eagles by a 14-5 count over seven minutes to turn a 46-46 tie into a 60-51 lead with 37 seconds remaining. Kasibabu just missed out on the double-double with nine rebounds.
Tyler Nelson, who posted nine points at Niagara, remains the team’s top scorer with 18.9 points per game. His scoring average also places him second in the conference behind Monmouth’s Justin Robinson’s 19.7 scoring average. Amadou Sidibe, who missed the Niagara game after he tweaked his ankle in the Census game, places second in the MAAC with 9.4 rebounds per game. Cobb (12.7 pig) and Jerry Johnson Jr. (11.5 ppg) are also contributing to the Stags’ offense.