Stags Fall to Manhattan in MAAC Semifinal
Maurice Barrow scored a team-high 15 points while Coleman Johnson came off the bench to add 10 points as the Fairfield University men's basketball (19-15 overall) fell to Manhattan College in the MAAC Basketball Championship semifinals.
Barrow built Fairfield's initial lead by himself by scoring the first six points of the game, including a pair of free throws that gave Fairfield a 6-0 lead with 15:55 remaining in the opening half. The Stags kept Manhattan off the scoreboard for more than five minutes as the Jaspers missed their first eight shots from the floor.
Manhattan scored four points in just under a minute to pull within a basket at 6-4. The Stags came back with four points of their own to make it a 10-4 lead with 12:35 remaining. Fairfield nearly doubled that advantage by scoring six of the next seven points to secure the double-digit lead at 16-5 at the 8:29 mark.
The Jaspers would use a 9-0 run over the next four minutes to pull within two points at 16-14 with Michael Alvarado netting five of those points. The Stags went back in front by six late in the half at 22-16, but Manhattan closed the half with seven unanswered points over the final two minutes. Donovan Kates' three pointer with 43 seconds left gave the Jaspers their first lead of the game, sending Manhattan into the locker room with the lead, 23-22.
Barrow regained the lead for Fairfield with a jumper at the 17:06 mark to give his team a 24-23 edge. Manhattan responded with back-to-back field goals by Colonette and Andujar which gave the Jaspers their biggest lead to that point at 27-24. After Barrow made another jumper, Colonette made two of four free throws to bring the lead back to three points.
Barrow made it six straight points with a third jumper but Manhattan quickly erased that basket with a driving layup by Andujar and a three-point shot by Donovan Kates, giving the Japsers a six-point edge at 34-28 with 11 minutes remaining.
Fairfield cut that deficit to five points following a free throw from Colin Nickerson, but Rhamel Brown added a layup to push the lead to seven points. Fairfield did not come any closer than five points the rest of the way, the last of which came at 38-33 with eight minutes remaining. The Jaspers built on their lead late in the game as Fairfield began to foul to stop the clock. The Jaspers scored 14 of their final 16 points from the charity stripe.
Desmond Wade tallied six points with an assists while Colin Nickerson added five points, five assists and seven rebounds in 37 minutes. Derek Needham recorded four points, five rebounds, and three assists in 38 minutes of work.