“We have to come out like kamikazes,” said men’s head coach Tim O’Toole prior to Thursday’s game against Iona. Kamikazes they were, torching the Gaels for a 13-point lead before most people had settled into their seats.

The Stags ran up and down the floor with incredible intensity and confidence, scoring at will. However, that intensity and confidence slowly began to wain as the game progressed, allowing Iona to get back into the game.

“I think we just began to get tired out there,” O’Toole said.

Fairfield, was able to regroup however, and held a 73-62 lead with just over three minutes left in the game. The Stags should have their first win of the season, right? Wrong.

Fairfield choked. Fairfield scored just one point the rest of regulation, a free-throw by Tyquawn Goode. Costly turnovers, 26 in all for the game, and the Stags poor shot selection also aided Iona’s comeback to force overtime.

The Stags couldn’t put anything together in the overtime period, falling 82-78.

“We just broke down,” O’Toole said. “I don’t know, but we started gambling. That’s part of being young though too. We were unable to step up and make plays.”

The Stags were led by freshman Kudjo Sogadzi with 20 points. Sam Spann added 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Fairfield suffered its fourth loss of the season and will next face Depaul on Saturday at Madison Square Garden, while Iona picked up its first win of the season, who is now 1-6 this year.

“My heart goes out to Timmy [O’Toole],” Iona head coach Jeff Ruland said. “Fairfield’s kids played a whale of a game. We probably didn’t deserve to win.”

“I’m frustrated we haven’t won a game yet,” Spann said. “I would hope that anyone on a team that hasn’t won a game yet would be frustrated and upset.”

Before the men took the court, the lady Stags suffered a heartbreaking 59-57 loss to Siena, in a rematch of last year’s MAAC Championship game.

After trailing 30-25 at halftime, the Stags came out on a 12-2 run to take a five-point lead of their own. But poor shooting and decision-making by Fairfield down the stretch cost them the chance of withstanding the lead.

Fairfield’s last chance was as time expired, Megan Light’s three-point heave at the basket to tie the game. The attempt wasn’t even close. But, wait, she was fouled.

Down three points. No time remaining. Three foul shots to send the game into overtime. It’s the position players dream about when they are growing up.

The only problem is that you don’t face the same pressure down at the park with your friends. Light nailed the first. Missed the second. Didn’t get a chance to shoot the third-game over.

“I was just surprised [that the foul was called],” said Siena head coach Gina Castelli. “I was glad she missed the shot, obviously. But that’s tough on a kid.”

The lady Stags fall to 2-5 on the season and return to action on Sunday at Manhattan.

“It was a very tough way to lose,” Fairfield head coach Dianne Nolan said. “I thought we had our chances. We didn’t convert when we needed to.”

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