By Kevin Sweeney
For most teams, conceding a 19-0 run at any point in a game would be insurmountable.
That wasn’t the case today for the Fairfield Stags.
Despite conceding 19 straight points late in the first half, Fairfield earned an impressive road win, 70-64 in overtime over Wagner. Tyler Nelson led the way for the Stags with 23 points.
Fairfield seemed to have control of the game in the early going, using 7 quick points by Nelson to take a 16-9 lead just over 6 minutes into the game. They maintained that lead for much of the half, but after the under-8 media timeout, the game completely changed. JoJo Cooper missed two free throws out of the timeout, but got his own rebound, eventually dishing to Blake Francis for a 3-pointer. That triple started the 19-0 run, which spanned more than 5:30 and included 5 made 3-pointers by the Seahawks. The run helped Wagner to an 8-point halftime lead, and left the Stags wondering what hit them.
The second half was a tightly contested affair. Wagner was able to keep the Stags at bay in the early stages of the second half, maintaining at least a 5 point lead all the way until 6:07 to go in the final period. From there, however, Nelson and Curtis Cobb took over for the Stags. They were the only two Stags to score in the final 7:28 of the second half. A pair of free throws by Cobb tied the game at 56 with 2:39 to go in the game, and it appeared that the Stags had all the momentum. However, a 3-point play by Michael Carey, who had 21 points in the game, with just over a minute to play gave the Seahawks a three point advantage. Then, Cobb hit a HUGE 3 with just 16 seconds to play. A jumper by Francis rimmed out, and the game headed to overtime tied at 59.
The overtime period was controlled from the outset by the Stags. A pair of free throws by reserve forward Amadou Sidibe gave Fairfield a five point lead with 1:13 to go. The Seahawks weren’t finished though, with Cooper connecting from downtown to trim the deficit to two. However, Fairfield’s Jonathan Kasibabu was fouled as the shot clock ticked under five, and he knocked both down, sealing the game for the Stags.
Both teams were missing key players, as Romone Saunders and Corey Henson sat out for Wagner, while Jerry Johnson Jr missed the game for Fairfield.
For the Stags, the win gives them their first 3-0 start in 21 years, while Wagner drops their second straight game since their upset win over UConn to open the season.