The Fairfield University men’s basketball team traveled to New Jersey to face the Rider University Broncs, where the Stags grabbed a big road win by a score of 76-65 on Friday Jan. 28, 2022. 

The Stags were led by top scorers graduate student Taj Benning and Jake Wojcik ‘22, who both were extremely hot, scoring 20 or more points each. 

“You saw when Taj and Jake were connecting for 40 plus points out of our backcourt, I think we’re gonna be tough to beat on those types of nights,” said head coach Jay Young. “Our defense was good for most of the game, in the end it was a good team performance.” 

Benning, who tallied 24 points, tied his career high while Wojick cashed in his third 20-point game of the season. If the Stags want to end up in a MAAC Championship game again in March, they will need these two upperclassmen playing at the level we saw in this road win. 

The matchup began with an early 2-0 lead for the Broncs, but thanks to a 8-0 Wojcik scoring run, the Stags took control of the game and kept the momentum going throughout the contest.

Fairfield continued applying pressure to keep the Broncs uncomfortable, closing the half with a lead of ten points. Graduate student Jesus Cruz was also on point in the first half, scoring all of his eight points to help the Stags command the early part of the game. 

Rider came out punching in the second, closing the gap to within three and swinging the momentum back in their favor.

The Stags did not get rattled, however, firing back with punches of their own and going on a 22-8 run, creating the largest lead of the game at 17 points. 

The lead would remain in double digits the rest of the way as Fairfield closed out the 76-65 triumph.

 Along with leading scorers Benning and Wojcik, Supreme Cook ‘24 finished in double figures with 11 points, Chris Maidoh ‘23 scored six points, and first-year TJ Long ‘25 netted four to contribute to this impressive road win. 

This victory would mark the second away win for the Stags and an overall record of 10-10 with a 4-5 record in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. 

The Stags will travel next to West Long Branch, N.J. where they will face the Monmouth Hawks on Friday, Feb. 4. The last contest between these two teams ended in a 61-58 defeat for the Stags, which left a bitter taste in the mouth of coach Young and his players. 

“We’re going to be facing a very good team. We just played them a couple weeks ago. They’re familiar with us, we’re familiar with them,” said Young. “It’ll be a war down there and I have a lot of respect for their program and coach King Rice, so we are going to have to play very well to win.” 

Show your support by viewing the game on ESPN3 or the Stag Sports Network, where the match can be streamed mobily.

 Fairfield will return to Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. on Sunday, Feb. 6. where they will host the Siena College Saints. Make sure you don’t miss out on the action and show your school spirit. Go Stags!

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Fairfield U ‘22 | Sports writer | Sports media major | Essex, CT

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