HAMDEN, Conn. -- Amadou Sidibe posted a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds as the Fairfield University men's basketball team posted a 71-63 decision over Central Connecticut State University at TD Bank Sports Center. Sidibe posted 10 points and nine rebounds in the second half. The game was the first contest in the Connecticut 6 Classic, hosted by Quinnipiac University.
The opening minutes of the game did not go the way Coach Johnson had planned as the Blue Devils scored the first eight points of the contest to take command early. K.J. Rose stopped the run with a three-point shot at the top of the arc which started a 14-4 spurt that would give Fairfield its’ first lead at 14-12 with 13:57 on the clock after Marcus Gilbert’s three-point field goal.
Central answered with a long-range jumper by Matt Mobley to regain the lead by a point, which set off a spell of four lead changes and three ties over the next six minutes. With the game knotted at 24-24, Coleman Johnson swished a pair of field goals to push Fairfield in front at 28-24 with 3:32 left in the half. His scoring touched off an 11-2 run that ended the half and gave the Stags a 35-26 lead at intermission.
Fairfield scored the first basket of the second half, a jumper from Rose, to secure its first double-digit lead at 37-26. The Stags would build that lead a little larger at 46-33 at the 12:58 mark, but the Blue Devils still had plenty to give over the next five minutes. Central Connecticut tallied the next eight points to come within five points, 46-41, with 10:59 remaining as Faronte Drakeford netted four of those points.
The Stags reestablished control by registering the next four points for a 50-41 lead but once again Central Connecticut fought back and made it a two-point game at 55-53 following a three-point field goal from Malcolm McMillan. Following the script of this game, the Stags put together nine straight points to pull in front by 11 points at 64-53 with 1:44 remaining. Johnson and Sidibe each posted three points during that run.
The Blue Devils would not come closer than seven points for the remainder of the game.
“It’s great to start the season with a win,” Coach Johnson said. “Playing a top-five program like Duke tomorrow night on their court is not an easy task. It was important for us to get some confidence heading into that game and we accomplished that tonight.”
Marcus Gilbert led all Fairfield scorers with 21 points and added eight rebounds, while Johnson added 17 points off the bench. Rose also reached double figures with10 points and dished off four assists without a turnover.
Matt Mobley came off the bench to score a game-high 30 points for Central Connecticut.