Top seed: Men's basketball clinches with 61-54 win over Marist


 

It was a senior moment.

Image: Yorel HawkinsSeniors Yorel Hawkins, Warren Edney, and Lyndon Jordan embraced at the free throw line and enjoyed their own private moment to relish something that they have talked about since arriving at Fairfield University. They celebrated being number one. They celebrated being regular-season champions.

"When Coach [Cooley] recruited us, he told us to give him a chance to give us a chance to win a championship," Hawkins said in the post-game press conference. "Tonight, we took a step with the MAAC regular season championship. Now, we need to focus on the tournament championship."

Hawkins scored a team-high 14 points to lead the Fairfield University men's basketball team to a 61-54 win over Marist College. With the win, Fairfield clinched the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) regular season championship, its first outright regular season conference title since the 1985-86 campaign.

The Stags also tied for the conference regular season title in 1995-96. The Stags will be the number one seed in the MAAC tournament which will be played in Bridgeport beginning on March 4. Fairfield, as the tournament's top seed, will play Saturday, March 5 at 4:30 pm. The tournament will be played on the Stags home court - Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard.

The Stags never trailed in the game, taking the lead on their first possession when Hawkins made a jumper at the 19:09 mark. Marist was able to tie the score four times in the first eight minutes, the last of which came at 12-12 with 12:13 remaining in the half. Derek Needham broke the tie with a three pointer on the team's next possession for a 15-12 edge.

Needham's basket started a 13-0 run that would give the Stags a 25-12 advantage with 8:18 left. Colin Nickerson scored four points during the run as five different Fairfield players scored during that run. Fairfield took its biggest lead of the half at 27-13 with 7:44 remaining, a margin it would match three other times. The team eventually settled for a 10-point lead at halftime, 34-24.

Marist came as close as six points in the second half, but a three-pointer from Needham pushed the lead back to nine points. Fairfield took its biggest lead of the game at the 3:39 mark after a dunk from Nickerson made the score 58-43. The Red Foxes finished the game with an 11-3 run to pull within seven points at the end of the game.

Dorvell Carter scored 19 points for Marist.

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Media Contact: Jack Jones, (203) 254-4116

Posted on February 16, 2011