In the first round of the MAAC Tournament, the number 10 Fairfield men’s basketball team lost to the number seven St. Peter’s Peacocks on a game-winning three-point shot from Desi Washington ’15 in overtime. Washington hit the shot with just 1.4 seconds left on the clock to preserve the Peacocks a 65-62 victory and a spot in the next round of the tournament.

On the last possession, Marcus Gilbert ’16, Stevie Johnston ’15 and K.J. Rose ’17 all rose up to defend the shot in Washington’s hands. He managed to get the shot off above all of their hands and hit the very deep shot. Thus ended the Stags’ hopes of a tournament shot as well as the Fairfield career for sole senior Maurice Barrow.

“It’s especially hard for Mo,” said Coach Sydney Johnson. “He’s an outstanding young man who has been willing us many times throughout the season.”

“I give it up to my teammates because we’ve been in a lot of close games,” said Barrow. “I owe it to my parents because they helped make me who I am.”

Fairfield struggled with fouls all throughout the night, and it showed early on in the game. After the Stags got off to an early 7-3 lead, the Peacocks fought back on a 9-0 run, using Fairfield’s fouls to their advantage. Just seven minutes into the game, the Stags had already committed five fouls and were losing at a score of 12-10.

From this point on until the end of the first half, both teams exchanged baskets while also accumulating fouls. One blunder in Fairfield’s game was the amount of three pointers that they shot and missed. In the first half, the Stags were 28.6 percent from beyond the arc and shot just 29.4 percent from there for the whole game.

This led to the Stags exploring the paint much more throughout the game, according to coach Johnson.

“Attacking the basket some more would have produced more buckets. That being said, we had some clear looks at the rim to get it done,” said Johnson.

Another problem for the Stags throughout this contest was rebounding. They were out-rebounded by the Peacocks 42-26. St. Peter’s was able to haul in 15 offensive rebounds and score 19 second-chance points, while Fairfield had just four offensive rebounds and seven second-chance points.

At the end of the first half, the game was tied at a score of 30-30 thanks to a  three-pointer at the buzzer. To begin the second half, both teams exchanged baskets for a while again. The Stags quickly found themselves in foul trouble as they were in the bonus about halfway through the period.

With just two minutes remaining in regulation, Fairfield was leading at a score of 56-55. Both Washington and Marvin Dominique ’15 hit shots and free throws to keep the Peacocks in the game. Then, with just thirty seconds left, Dominique hit a free throw to tie the game at 58-58. After two timeouts, Gilbert had a layup attempt that bounced off the side of the rim and fell to the floor as the buzzer rang.

“I want to tip my hat to Fairfield because they are a very difficult team to play against,” said St. Peter’s head coach John Dunne. “They’re very good defensively and take you out of everything you want to do.”

So, the game went into overtime. The first basket in this period was scored by Barrow to give the Stags a 60-58 lead. Later baskets by Quadir Welton ’17 and Kris Rolle ’15 gave the Peacocks a 62-60 lead. With just six seconds left, Barrow then connected on a putback lay-up to tie the game.

At this point, the unthinkable happened. Washington took the ball upcourt quickly and elevated over three Fairfield defenders from well beyond the three-point line. To the amazement of many spectators, he hit the shot with just a second and change to spare. For the third time this season, Washington hit a game-winning shot in the last seconds of a game against Fairfield.

“There’s a little luck on our side,” said Washington about hitting three game-winning shots against Fairfield. “It all happened so fast. Whenever we give ourselves a chance to win like that, we always feel that we can win the game.”

This  shot ultimately put an end to the Fairfield men’s basketball season that had been not as successful as they wanted it to be.

The Stags have many young players for future seasons, though. Coach Johnson thinks that these athletes will propel the team to victory in seasons to come.

“The future is bright because I can tell these guys to be like him (Mo.) He’s a huge part of our future even though we won’t see him in a uniform again,” said Johnson. “He empowers me to push these guys hard because that’s what I did to him and he answered the call every time.”

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