Men's College Basketball
Fairfield University 69, Rider University 59
BRIDGEPORT, CT- Rider fans are hoping that, like Punxsutawney Phil, the Broncs saw their shadow under the bright lights of Webster Bank Arena Friday night. That could mean six more weeks of basketball which will take the Broncs through the MAAC Tournament and into the NCAA Tournament.
This past week, however, Rider seems to be reliving the same game over and over. Friday night the game played out exactly as the last two, with the Broncs losing on the boards and on the scoreboard. With the loss at Fairfield it seems like Rider is stuck in Groundhog Day.
"When you are in a bit of a losing streak you have to do winning things and we certainly didn't do that tonight," said Rider head coach Kevin Baggett.
Despite 22 points and five rebounds by junior Daniel Stewart (Philadelphia, PA/Neumann-Goretti) the Broncs lost a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference at Fairfield Friday night.
"I thought Danny played well," Baggett said.
Maurice Barrow compiled 25 points and 15 rebounds off the bench to lead Fairfield (13-10, 5-6 MAAC).
"Give Fairfield credit," Baggett said. "They didn't allow us to drive the ball in the lane."
With the score tied at 44, Fairfield out-scored Rider 14-4, 10 points by Barrow, to take a 58-48 lead with 7:05 remaining. "We didn't defend when we needed to," Baggett said.
Fairfield led 58-50 when All-MAAC guard Derek Needham made a three-pointer with seconds left on the shot clock to give the Stags a 61-50 lead with 4:35 remaining. "Needham hit a big three with the shot clock running down," Baggett said. Needham finished with 15 points.
Trailing 44-36, Rider (11-12, 6-5 MAAC) went on an 8-0 run, four points by Stewart, to tie the score at 44-44 with 10:44 left to play. That was the third and final tie of the game. There were five lead changes, all in the first 10 minutes of the game.
Rider out-scored Fairfield 8-4 over the final 3:34 of the first half to cut the Fairfield lead to 35-30.
Rider led 10-9 before Fairfield went on a 9-1 run, four points by Barrow, to take an 18-11 lead with 8:40 left in first half.
The Broncs jumped out to a 6-0 lead, four points by Stewart.
Fairfield out-rebounded Rider 28-25.
The Broncs committed 17 turnovers. "We turned the ball over at the wrong times," Baggett said.
Making his first start since January 13, junior Nurideen Lindsey (Philadelphia, PA/Overbrook) made the only shot he took and finished with two points, two rebounds and two steals in 14 minutes of action.
On December 9 the Stags defeated Rider 65-52 in Lawrenceville. In that game Rider held a 13-point lead in the first half but committed 30 turnovers in the game.
These two teams have now met 52 times since the series began in 1951-52, with Rider winning 23, including seven of the last 14. Rider is 17-17 against Fairfield since joining the MAAC, including 1-1 in postseason.
Rider travels to Poughkeepsie, NY Super Bowl Sunday to take on Marist at 2pm. "We have to re-group and get ready for Sunday," Baggett said. "We're going to show up and give it our best effort. This team has been resilient and I expect them to come back and be ready to compete. We have to take it one game at a time until we get out of this losing streak."