The Fairfield University Men’s Basketball team’s losing streak extended to four games after a 79-73 loss to the Niagara University Purple Eagles. This loss brings the Stags season record to 7-20, a 4-11 in conference play and their road record to an abysmal 3-12.
Fairfield fell down early, allowing Niagara to open the game up on a 6-0 run, and letting the Purple Eagles extend their lead to eight, getting up 21-13 over Fairfield with 11:55 left in the first half. Fairfield then went on a run of their own, scoring nine unanswered points, allowing them to pull into their first lead of the game.
The rest of the first half continued to be back and forth, leading to the first half ending in the same way it started, tied, but this time at 37. Fairfield jumped out to leads of six and eight, their largest of the afternoon, early on in the second half. However, halfway through the second half, Niagara was able to tie the game up at 51.
After Fairfield rallied once more to get up 59-55, Niagara scored 10 straight and never looked back. Fairfield kept fighting to gain the lead back to no avail. Fairfield coach Sydney Johnson was still happy with the team’s effort and ability to limit turnovers despite the loss.
“I was really proud of the guys in terms of limiting the turnovers,” Johnson said. “That kind of play gave us an awesome opportunity to win the game in the second half. Our passing gave us a lot of paint touches and that allowed us to score in the lane.”
Dominic Robb lead the scoring for the Purple Eagles, putting up 23 points on 9-13 shooting, five rebounds and two blocks. Dominik Fragala contributed 15 points in 11 minutes of play off the Niagara bench. Fairfield guard Landon Taliaferro ‘20 came back after missing his first career game against the Canisius College Griffins, and led the Stags with 18 points on 7-11 shooting.
Johnson praised Taliaferro and elaborated on what he means to the team. “We knew we were going to need Landon today just because of his shot making,” Johnson said. “He is a big time shooter so it was great to see his confidence back and to see the guys find a way to get him the ball. He was also solid defensively today.”
Neftali Alvarez ‘22 played a game high 35 minutes for Fairfield, pouring in 16 points on 7-17 shooting. Fairfield guard Aidas Kavaliauskas ‘20 came off the bench and scored a season high 11 points, including eight points in the second half.
The Fairfield bench played really well accounting for 35 of Fairfield’s 73 points and having three players log over 17 minutes. Niagara was hot from three, making nine of their 19 three point attempts for a 47.4 percent from downtown. Fairfield only got to the free throw line four times throughout the entirety of the game, while Niagara got to the free throw line 17 times, making 10 of their foul shots.
Fairfield will look to snap their four game losing streak when they come back home to Alumni Hall on Sunday, Feb. 24, to take on the Manhattan College Jaspers, who have a 9-17 record on the season.