This past weekend, the Fairfield University men’s basketball team hosted two games at Leo D. Mahoney Arena playing Niagara on Friday and Mount St. Mary’s on Sunday. Following a three-game winning streak, the Stags lost to Niagara but were able to pull through with a win against Mount St. Mary’s. 

Even though they lost, Friday’s game against Niagara was still rather entertaining. Mahoney Arena was packed full of eager and enthusiastic fans. The Stags were down 30-36 at the end of the first half but were able to tie up the game in the middle of the second. The game went back and forth for a while making it very tight towards the end. Ultimately, Fairfield was not able to pull through and Niagara took the win with a 65-63 victory. 

Jalen Leach ‘24 and Graduate Student Alexis Yetna both netted 14 points apiece while Graduate Student Caleb Fields had an impressive second half scoring all 13 of his points in the closing 20 minutes. He made a stunning three-pointer within the last seconds of the game that got the whole arena on their feet. After missing the last couple of games due to an injury, Peyton Smith ‘27 was finally back on the court, knocking down one foul shot.  

“Last Saturday at Saint Peter’s, we were fortunate enough to make a few more plays than them, and tonight Niagara made a few more plays than us. That’s what happens when two good teams get together, especially for the second time,” said Interim Head Coach Chris Casey. “The teams that can keep grinding and keep finding ways to win consistently will be the teams that are in a position to be successful in March. There’s no secret to how it’s done, we’ll just keep grinding and keep fighting and turn our attention to a good Mount St. Mary’s team on Sunday.”

Sunday’s game against Mount St. Mary’s was more rewarding, as the Stags pulled through with an impressive win of 94-80. Brycen Goodine ‘24 scored 20 points and Jasper Floyd ‘25 scored 16 points with a game-high of 9 rebounds. However, it was Fields who had the most impressive game. He was on fire, reaching 26 points total. Yetna continued his amazing comeback, with 8 points and 7 rebounds. The game was tight early on, but the Stags were able to get a nice lead against the Mount. Fairfield scored the final five points of the half, including an exciting Leach basket at the buzzer to make it 43-31 at the end of the break. 

On top of all this success, there was a program record broken on Sunday, with the Stags making 18 three-pointers, Caleb Fields accounting for 7 of them. The previous record was 17 three-pointers held in 2015 at Maryland Eastern Shore and again six games later at Bucknell. 

When asked about Sunday’s game, Head Coach Chris Casey commented, “Intensity and tenacity can go up and down over the course of a long season…. But today, we came out with intensity right from the opening tip, and that helped get us into a flow where we got open looks and took advantage of them.”

Fairfield is now 16-10 overall and 10-5 in the MAAC. They will face a tough battle against Quinnipiac on Friday, February 23 at 9 p.m. and then head back to Mahoney Arena next Sunday, February 25 hosting Siena, tip-off at 2 p.m. 

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