After experiencing four consecutive losses this season, the Fairfield University Men’s Basketball team stuck it to Manhattan College at Alumni Hall on Sunday, Feb. 24 – putting an end to their losing streak. Fairfield now stands at 5 – 11 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play and 8 – 20 overall.
With a score of 72 to 59 the Stags gained redemption after previously falling to Manhattan on Jan. 31. The team was able to study their past faults and come back stronger. One of their main goals was to build up their defense, and this game marked that as a success. Coach Sydney Johnson said that this game effectively displayed how the team learned from their previous mistakes.
Johnson said that strategically the team focused on limiting their turnovers, finishing with 11 today as opposed to 17 their last game. When it came down to it, simply having possession of the ball was a key factor to their success.
“Not turning the ball over too much gave us the opportunity to score. I thought defensively we were so much better today, which was a big reason why we won the game,” said Johnson.
The Stags started off strong and were able to pull ahead quickly in the first half, keeping a consistent lead throughout the entire game. By the second half, they lead by 14 with the score being 36-22. Landon Taliaferro ‘20, dominated in terms of 3 pointers, shooting 8 for 18 at a 44 percent clip.
Matija Milin was strong inside with 5 on 8 field goal attempts. Taj Benning ‘22, Neftali Alvarez ’22 and Jonathan Kasibabu ‘19 helped support the team with five, four and four assists respectively.
Overall, the whole team played strong, regardless of obvious injuries that appeared to be bothering both Kasibabu and Milin.
“The guys were just a lot more focused as a group you know, in we were prepared, we did what was in the handbook, we did what we prepared for,” said Kasibabu.
Towards the end of the game, Kasibabu retired to the sidelines briefly because of what appeared to be an ankle injury.
“I hurt my ankle landing when I fell,” said Kasibabu. He plans to take care of it so he can be sure he’s ready for the next game.
On Friday, March 1, Fairfield will welcome Marist College to Alumni Hall for their second matchup of the season. The Stags topped the Red Foxes 57-52 in their early February tilt in Poughkeepsie. Marist is 7-9 in MAAC play and 12-16 overall on the year.