The stands of Alumni Hall were packed with over 1,000 attendees on Friday, Nov. 6 for an exhibition game as the Stags hosted the Purple Knights of the University of Bridgeport. Senior Marcus Gilbert scored 28 points with seven boards to lead the Stags to a 91-80 victory over Bridgeport.

Before the start to the game, Fairfield honored former head coach George Bisacca for his dedication and service to all student-athletes. Bisacca served as head coach from the 1958-59 season up until the 1967-68 season. He led Fairfield to nine winning seasons including the Stags’ first 20-win season. Because of this, the basketball court at Alumni Hall will now be named in honor of Bisacca.

The start of the game saw Fairfield jumping out to an early lead behind great defense and a couple of three pointers off the hands of both Tyler Nelson ’18 and Gilbert. Two minutes into the game the Stags found themselves in a 5-5 tie, but after good ball movement to find Nelson open from beyond the three-point line Fairfield increased their lead to six. The shots did not stop there as they continued the run to increase their lead to twelve, leading 15-5.

The Purple Knights would regroup and battle back with a couple of three-pointers of their own to cut the lead to two. But Fairfield’s defense continued to defend the ball well, causing turnovers as they forced Bridgeport to commit a total of six by the end of halftime. Down by two, Nelson found himself open once again and connected for his third three-pointer of four on the half. “It’s what he does, when he lets it go everybody who knows our team thinks it’s going in that’s how good he is,” said head coach Sydney Johnson of Nelson. Fairfield continued to play solid defense and move the ball, finding open shooters as they finished the half with a 42-34 lead.

Bridgeport jumped to a quick start in the second, connecting on shots from beyond the arc, matching Fairfield’s offense to tie the game. But behind the play of both Jerome Segura ’18 and Gilbert, the Stags continued to play good team basketball to hold the edge over the Purple Knights.

With the game tied at 60 with less than 10 minutes left in the game, Segura found Nelson behind the three-point line who connected for his sixth on the night. After just scoring five in the first, Gilbert made his presence known, scoring 20 in the second half.

Behind a couple of three pointers off Gilbert and nice touches around the rim for Segura, Fairfield increased their lead 75-63 with less than seven minutes left in the game. “The whole team, we fought the whole game. We took a punch, they took a punch, [and] they kept coming at us. We just stuck to what we do; it’s driving, penetrating, kicking out, hitting open guys for open shots and that’s what we do,” said Gilbert of his team. The Stags would close out the game and take home the 91-80 win.

Segura and Nelson finished the game with 18 and 19 points respectively. “Jerome has arrived, just in terms of his confidence and direction. He is the point guard, he’s carrying all that load, he’s ready for that responsibility. Tyler Nelson is a proven player who is embracing getting better as a sophomore, which is key for him. Really nice start for them to start the season,” said Johnson of his starting backcourt. Freshman Curtis Cobb added eight points with Jerry Johnson Jr. ’19 and Matija Milin ’19 following with six points.

Fairfield opens the regular-season on Friday, Nov. 13 when they play Yale University in the first game of the Connecticut 6 Classic, hosted by Central Connecticut State University.

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