The Fairfield University men’s basketball team faced off against Providence College this past Tuesday, Nov. 9 in their season opener. The Stags put up a strong effort against a tough Providence College team on the road in an 80-73 loss. The team hung with the Friars the entire game in a tight spirited match-up. Forward Zach Crisler ‘23 led the team with 14 points, and graduate student guard Taj Benning poured in 13 points for the Stags. 

Head coach Jay Young is positive about the team’s performance and aims for improvement with each game. 

“I think we competed for 40 minutes [against Providence] and that is a great place to start. It’s the price of admission,” said Young. “If you’re not going to compete you have no chance. I was happy with the way we competed, but our message is we lost the game. We have to be a better basketball team, and we will.” 

Coach Young is the 13th head coach of the men’s basketball team at Fairfield. Before Fairfield, he spent three seasons as the assistant coach at Rutgers University. In the 2020-2021 season, Young led the Stags to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship in Atlantic City, N.J, stirring back-to-back victories against second-seeded Monmouth University and third-seeded Saint Peter’s University. 

Young looks back on last season’s successes and is hopeful for the future. “I think it showed all of us that we could be a good basketball team. Certainly, the way we ended the season, we were a much different team than when we started last year […] It gave us confidence that we could be a good basketball team but we know how much work we still have yet to do.” 

Coach Young is exceptionally excited for the return of the Stags fans after a difficult last season due to COVID-19. “We are all fired up to see our fans. The guys couldn’t see their families at games last year,” he noted. “For the guys to play for the students and have their families back in the stands, it’s everything for them. We can’t wait to get everybody back, this is what it’s all about […]”

Next up for the Stags is a road game to Massachusetts at Boston College. Coach Young stressed the team’s consistency and repetition of routine for preparation for Boston College and all future opponents. “It is kind of the same process […] there is always stuff to fix and after the Providence game, we watch a lot of film with the guys and try to continually improve on errors we think we can improve on. That’s really our process after every single game, and we’ll do the same after Boston College, and that’s whether we win or lose.” 

Coach Young and the team take it game by game, aiming for a better performance each time. “Our goal is improvement and that is what we are continually trying to strive for.” The Fairfield Stags take on the Boston College Eagles on the road at 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 14. The game will be featured on ESPN+. The Stags’ home opener will be Tuesday, Nov. 16 when they host Medgar Evers College.

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