As Loyola’s Gerald Brown cut to the hoop and laid the ball in to put his team up by five points with 16.9 seconds left, the Stags felt the same pain they felt last season.

For the second season in a row, Fairfield lost 64-59 to Loyola in a heated MAAC quarterfinals matchup. After heading into the half trailing 34-21, Fairfield outscored Loyola 38-30 in the second half, but it was not enough to overcome the deficit.

“The MAAC should be really excited, there is a natural rivalry between us and Loyola,” said Head Coach Ed Cooley. “I don’t like Loyola. I never will in my time as head coach. I can not wait to play them next year. I see green and I got sick.”

Junior point guard Jon Han led the way for Fairfield with 14 points and also dished out eight assists.

“It hurts right now. It’s tough, losing to them two years in a row,” said Han.

Cooley and Loyola Head Coach Jimmy Patsos traded words from either end of the court after an altercation between Fairfield’s Han and the Greyhounds Brian Rudolph. No technical fouls were called, but an already intense game grew even more emotional after.

Patsos said that he has respect for Cooley and the two traded words over whether or not the other left the coach’s box. Cooley said that he told Patsos that he “loved him.”

Fairfield did everything in its power to complete a second half comeback, but could not erase the 18-point deficit that Loyola held with 16:57 remaining in the game.

In the first half the Stags held only one lead, three points at 5-2 with 17:43 until halftime. Loyola led by three, 24-21 with 5:23 to go until the break, but then went on a 10-0 run to stretch the lead to 34-21 as the half came to a close.

The Stags did not look any better out of the gate, as the Greyhounds stretched their lead to 18 with 16:57 to go in the game. Junior Herbie Allen knocked down a three to cut the deficit to 15 just 33 seconds later.

After the media timeout, sophomore Anthony Johnson stole the in bounds pass and dished the ball off to Allen who laid the ball in.

Brett Harvey missed a three-pointer on the other end leading to senior Mamadou Diakhate sunk a three-pointer to finish an 11-0 run and bring the Loyola lead down to seven with 14:12 left in the game. Diakhate finished his Fairfield career with eight points and three steals.

“The whole year we considered ourselves a second half team,” said Han. “When going into the second half we knew it was still a game. We were just playing off of our adrenaline, I don’t think we got tired.”

The Stags may not have got tired, but they were not able to tie or take the lead again. Fairfield closed the gap to two points with 10:31 left and were within three with 2:17 to go in the game, but the rebound went out of bounds off of Fairfield.

“We played the way we have been playing, but we only did it for 20 minutes,” said Cooley. “I was hoping we would get over the hump, I don’t know if it was psychological or a sports thing but we just weren’t able to do it.”

Diakhate and Marty O’Sullivan (eight points, six rebounds) finished out their careers at Fairfield with the loss.

“It’s sad to see them go. Marty grew up for us, Mamadou makes an impact for us,” said Cooley. “I wish we had the chance to have them for a couple more years. I wish them the best and I hope they represent Fairfield in the best way.”

Fairfield finished the season with a 14-16 record.

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