Fairfield Finishes Strong In 72-60 Win Over Quinnpiac

Fairfield Finishes Strong In 72-60 Win Over Quinnpiac

UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Maurice Barrow scored a career-high 19 points, one of four Fairfield starters in double figures as the men's basketball team opened the season with a 72-60 win over Quinnpiiac University. The game was part of the Connecticut 6 Classic which was played at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

The Stags never trailed in this game, opening the game by scoring eight of the first nine points of the game. After Derek Needham started the season with a three-point shot, Rakim Sanders scored the team's next five points to grab the early lead. Ryan Olander showed his outside shooting ability by hitting a three pointer at the 13:31 mark which pushed the lead to eight points at 11-3. Fairfield would eventually increase its advantage to double digits, taking a 15-point advantage at 25-12 after Sanders laid the ball in the basket at the 5:53 mark.

The double-digit lead remained intact heading into the final two minutes of the first half as Barrow's jumper made the score 34-23 with 2:14 on the clock. Quinnipiac answered with four straight points to make it a little closer, courtesy of a layup by Jamee Jackson and Nate Gause. The Stags answered back with four points from Barrow, making a pair of free throws followed by a lay up. Quinnipiac cut into the lead when Dave Johnson netted two charity tosses to bring the half to close at 38-29.

Fairfield's good fortune continued over the opening four minutes of the second half when it put together a 10-4 run which gave the team its biggest lead of the game at 48-33 The Bobcats found their rhythm at that point and started to mount a strong come back. The lead was cut nearly in half with a 12-5 run that pulled the team within eight points at 53-45. Ike Azotam began the comeback with four points, while Jamee Jackson would also add four points of his own later in the stretch.

Quinnipiac continued to make its move by erasing the rest of that Stags lead, eventually tying the game at 57-57 with five minutes remaining. Most significantly, Needham and Sanders each picked up their fourth foul, causing the two tri-captains to sit on the bench for eight and five minutes, respectively. When the two returned to the lineup with five minutes left, things began to turn toward the Stags.

With the score tied, Sanders immediately contributed a basket to nudge Fairfield back into the lead. Needham went to the line and made one of two free throws to push the lead to three points at 60-57 with 4:16 remaining. Fairfield's defense took over at that point, allowing the team to go on a 15-1 run that put Fairfield in control at 7-58. Alex Jackson closed out the scoring with a basket for the Bobcats, resulting in a 72-60 final.

Sanders ended the game with 16 points, while Needham added 14 points and Olander chipped in with 12 points. Azotam posted a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds for Quinnipiac.