Senior Day for Fairfield University Men’s Basketball lived up to the hype to say the least. It was a day to honor those who have worn a Stag uniform for the past four years as it was time for them to suit up for one final time at Webster Bank Arena facing Monmouth University. Those seniors included: Jared Harper, Jerome Segura and Tyler Nelson. On Senior Day, head coach Sydney Johnson gave Segura and Harper one final start to accompany Nelson in the backcourt.
During his time as a Stag, Jonathan Kasibabu ‘19 has demonstrated solid team leadership. He displayed this leadership, electrifying presence and defensive stoutness throughout the game — especially in the second half. Kasibabu, the six-foot-eight center, muscled for 20 points, which included the game winning layup with just under 38 seconds. The junior had 10 rebounds while shooting 9 -12 from the free-throw stripe.
Kasibabu wants Nelson, currently Fairfield’s all-time leading scorer, to become a part of Fairfield history and be remembered forever.
“Everybody’s confident right now, heading into the tournament. Over the past few years we came up short. I have been here for two years and, especially for Tyler Nelson, I don’t want him to be Fairfield’s all-time leading scorer and have no championship,” said the forward.
Tyler Nelson knew exactly what his team was enduring in the first half, so he motivated them not to give up. He has his eyes set on something more after this game.
“We were getting good shots but we just weren’t making them. But we did not worry about that. We just walked in defensively and knew if we battled out there and got stops, we would eventually make shots and come back to the game. I am really focused on where we fall in the seeding and I’m onto the next game,” said Nelson.
This come-from-behind victory stood as a statement for this Stag team and the senior shooter echoed that point and continued to play even better.
“It was a huge win. Being down double digits late in the game, to fight back and get some huge defensive stops and also have some guys step up to knock down free throws, it was just a great win and you couldn’t ask for anything else. Also, the chemistry is good right now. We are moving the ball real well, as well as moving the ball around and sharing it. We just got to keep building on it,” said Nelson.
Head coach Sydney Johnson never counts his team out and he is always quick to admire his team’s fight.
“We struggled early on with a really tough schedule. With that really tough schedule and a lot of young guys, we had to work our way through some growing pains. Everyone saw the growing pains, but what people didn’t see beyond the growing pains was the growth that was happening in practice. It eventually showed up and, during this last third of the season, we are playing really good basketball,” said Johnson.
The Stags are firing on all cylinders during their current four game winning streak after beating Monmouth on Saturday, Feb. 24. Coach Johnson and Nelson, along with the rest of the team, are feeling confident heading into the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship starting on Thursday, March 2 when Fairfield takes on Marist in Albany, N.Y.