Friday, November 21, 2008

Game 4: Fairfield vs. Missouri

Second-Half Updates:
12:13 - Mizzou hits a basket following a Fairfield turnover and Cooley calls a T.O. He's a little displeased. Cooley has said it time and time again: "I don't even notice baskets; I notice defense and I value stops". Quite frankly, the Stags can't get a stop. Nothing has gone right since Han fed Edney in the post for an easy basket five seconds into this half.

12:16 - Edney draws contact on a nice drive to the basket and still hits the lay-up. When he gets the ball, things happen. [Herbie draws his fourth foul as we speak. A definite danger zone given our relative lack of depth at guard.]

12:17 - Taylor hits two from the charity stripe. 49-36 with 15:47 to play. Media timeout, ladies and gentleman.

12:20 - Evanovich checks in for Herbie Allen - Cooley goes big with the lineup, a rarity in the MAAC. Let's see what becomes of it.

12:24 - Tigers up 17 with under 14 to go. It's getting late early for Fairfield. Just as I say that, though, Nero hits a lay-up (they've gone inside often thus far in the half) and Cooley decides to go back to Herbie to build off the spark.

12:25 - Nero hits a pair to pull it to within 15.

12:28 - Carol and Mizzou answer once again - hence the Cooley loves stops argument. Nero answers on the other end - that's six straight points for him. 58-42 with 12:05 to play in regulation. Ugh, another basket and I can't even get this update it. Carol feeds down low and Missouri adds to the lead. Han hits a three - his first field goal of the game - and this update is getting ridiculous.

12:30 - Missouri 60-45 with a shade under 12 minutes to play. Media timeout, baby.

12:31 - DeMarre Carroll - steal, open court lay-in, and the foul (bad move by Nero). Ouch. That may be the nail in the coffin of the Stags' comeback. 65-45 with a little over 10 to play.

12:33 - Carroll adds another to push it to 22.

Halftime Update: FU/Mizzou

Just as the Stags had taken a comfortable lead in their second-round matchup against Missouri (Joe DeSantis, color analyst on WVOF, said it was their best "seven minutes of five-on-five I've seen all year"), the Tigers athleticism and talent brings them back into the game.

At one point, Fairfield held a five-point lead with only seven minutes left in the first. At the moment, Missouri has stormed ahead, and leads 40-29 at the half. For Fairfield, Herbie Allen leads the way with (#) points. The Stags went into a drought offensively, and scored a meager one basket in the last six minutes of the half.

In many ways, it was a tale of two halves within a half - the Stags did really look dominant early on.

The turning point seemed to be when Mizzou pushed a full-court press (Herbie played sparingly due to foul trouble, putting pressure on Fairfield's younger guards) and turned into a zone on defense - forcing Fairfield to take threes instead of penetrating inside (which they did early and often in their hot streak to start the game). How Fairfield will adjust at half will be interesting?

Stay tuned.

Stat of the Half: Fairfield was outrebounded 22-15 in the first half. Ouch. And I won't even go into Mizzou's offensive rebound numbers...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Missouri falls to Xavier, will face Stags in second round

It's a final in the second game in Puerto Rico. Fellow Jesuit University Xavier defeats Missouri of the Big XII 75-71.

The Tigers fell to 2-1 on the season and will face Fairfield in the second round of the tournament tomorrow at 11 a.m.

A few notes on the Tigers:

  • Forwards Leo Lyons (23 p.p.g, 8 r.p.g) and DeMare Carroll (20 p.p.g, 8.5 r.p.g) lead the Tigers, but both fouled out at the end of their contest with Xavier, which helped contribute to their downfall, as Missouri had the lead when they left.
  • Missouri's inexperienced backcourt fell apart down the stretch as missed free throws and turnovers crushed the Tigers. They may have more talent than the Stags, but Fairfield definitely has the experience-edge with Jon Han and Herbie Allen, along with Warren Edney.
  • Missouri crushed Tenn.-Chattanooga 103-75 at Missouri in a similar game to the Fairfield-Memphis game.
-Tom Cleary

Meanwhile in Baltimore ...

Looking around at what else is happening in the world of college basketball as the Xavier/Missouri game gets underway on ESPNU, I came across an interesting article in today's Baltimore Sun.

Apparently Loyola Md. head coach Jimmy Patsos is already up to his old antics, despite the fact he says he is trying to change. Against Cornell in the Preseason NIT Tournament, Patsos told referee John Gaffney to give his team a "fair shake," going on to say that he had heard that "you [Gaffney] and the Cornell coach are both from Philadelphia."

That resulted in a technical and Patsos moved to the end of the bench, quieting down. But after another quip at Gaffney, he was warned again and Patsos threw up his hands, went into the crowd and sat with Loyola Athletic Director Joe Boylan.

It is always interesting to keep up with what Patsos is doing and it will also be intriguing to see how he handles himself when he comes to Fairfield later this season.

Meanwhile the Stags are down in Puerto Rico trying to recoup after their difficult loss, but I see it as a moment that the Stags can build off of. They are learning how to play together and in tough games, so it can only help in the MAAC. As Cooley said after the Sacred Heart game, they may not be in Puerto Rico to win, although they want to, but instead to learn.

-Tom Cleary

Puerto Rico Game One:

With 12:36 remaining in the game it looked like Fairfield had a chance to pull off a major upset over Virginia Tech, a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference. But after the Hokies knocked down a three-pointer to go up 54-47, the Stags failed to score for the next five minutes.

By then there was 7:11 left in the game and Virginia Tech had expanded its lead to 60-49 and taken control of the game. Fairfield shot poorly from the field and the short turn-around from the Stags Tuesday night game against Sacred Heart clearly had a negative effect on the Stags.

That spelled the end for the Stags as they went on to lose to the Hokies 74-57.

Sophomore forward Warren Edney, who had been one of Fairfield's best players for its first two games, averaging 19 points, was just 3-for-11 from the floor and scored only eight points. Senior guard Jon Han also struggled scoring just five points and turning the ball over multiple times.

The lone bright spot for the Stags was senior guard Herbie Allen who handled the pressure well and finished with 11 points, with four assists, but all 11 points came in the first half. Junior forwards Greg Nero (team-high 13 points, six rebounds) and Anthony Johnson (10 points, five rebounds) were also solid.

The Stags could not shut down the Hokies duo of A.D. Vassalo (24 points) and Jeff Allen (18 points). Meanwhile Fairfield's top two scorers combined for just 14 points.

As a team Fairfield shot 35.7 percent from the floor and were 7-for-26 from three.

With the loss Fairfield drops to 1-2 on the season heading into its second game in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament, which will be played against either Missouri or Xavier, depending on the outcome of the next game in San Juan.

For a preview of that game and more on the Stags, continue to visit the Mirror Sports Blog.

Game 3: Fairfield vs. Va. Tech

Fairfield (1-1)
G #3 Jonathan Han (Sr., 14.5 ppg, 2.5 apg)
G #15 Herbie Allen (Sr., 4.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg))
C #32 Anthony Johnson (Jr., 9.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg)
F #4 Yorel Hawkins (So., 2.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg)
F #41 Mike Evanovich (Jr., 1.5 ppg, 0.5 rpg)
Coach - Ed Cooley, 3rd season

Virginia Tech (2-0)
G #5 Dorenzo Hudson (So., 2.0 ppg, 1.5 rpg)
G #23 Malcolm Delaney (So., 16.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg )
C #34 Cheick Diakite (Sr., 3.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg)
F #40 A.D. Vassallo (Sr., 17.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg)
F #0 Jeff Allen (So., 16.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg)
  • Live from the Coliseo de Puerto Rico! O.K., maybe Tom Cleary and I are only here in 27-degree Fairfield, Conn. watching the game on ESPNU in the Mirror Office, but the Stags are looking to make their mark over in a U.S. territory
  • Warren Edney and Greg Nero to the bench? Must be something beyond the surface. Which leads me to...
  • Mike Evanovich gets the start alongside Nero and Anthony Johnson at forward, marking his first start of the season. I'd think that its a match-up decision. As does Yorel Hawkins. Interesting decisions on both accounts
  • The Hokies bring a 2-0 record to San Juan. Va. Tech won both of its games thus far this season (Gardner-Webb, 65-62, and Mount St. Mary’s, 62-57). Both mid-majors, both close games. Is there hope? Stay tuned.
11:07 - 12-7 Hokies. Back-and-forth play so far. Evanovich hit an early three, looks like that move plays dividends. Allen drew an offensive foul and seems in rhythm early on. 

11:08 - Peanut Johnson nails an awkward dunk. No style points,  but we'll take it. Dapper Cooley watch: no shirt and tie. Just a plain old Fairifeld polo. When in San Juan...

11:09 - First media timeout of the game, as the Hokies hold a 14-7 lead. As far as I'm concerned, the longer the Stags are in this, the better. (Side note: That's two commercials for O'Reilly's Auto Parts in nine minutes. Nine. I wonder what the over/under is on that for the game. Hopefully it's not on TBS/Frank TV level).

11:11 - This game is brought to you by "Puerto Rico". Talk about marketing strategies.

11:12 - Nine possessions, four turnovers. Edney and Nero check in. 

11:14 - Two free throws from Nero, who draws the lovely "Tyler Hansborough" label from the  ESNPU color commentator. I'm a Duke fan, so, while not a fan of the comparison, can see that  that's a compliment.

11:16 - Another possession, another Fairifeld turnover, as Anthony Johnson walks in the post. Cooley said if they can keep the turnovers under 15, they have a chance to win regardless of the opponent. They've already got five.

11:18 - Nero buries a three - which is a big, big shot for Fairfield to stop the bleeding. 19-11 Hokies. They also get a much needed stop on the other end. (Is that a Rob Sisca sighting early on?)

11:22 - Obila takes advantage of a rookie mistake on a defensive slide by Ryan Olander. He tallies an extra from the free throw line to push the lead to 21-11. A put back in transition makes it 23-11 Tech. Oh, boy.

11:24 - First Nero/Hansborough, and now the Warren Edney and Chris Paul connection is mentioned. Gotta love the Fairfield-ACC connections.

11:25 - Way too many threes early on. "I don't know if that's Cooley or a gameplan or if they're just a little nervous. But we can't win like that," says Tom Cleary. And I couldn't agree more. (Herbie looks great - another basket for him. Seems like the Memphis hangover is officially dead at this point).

11:27 - Jeff Allen slams a dunk; Ed Cooley is livid. If Fairfield is to win this game (or any game in the Tip-Off for that matter), they can't allow easy baskets in transition or off slides in the paint like that. That, coupled with far too many three-point shots on offense, is why Va. Tech is up 28-15 right now (8:08 to go in the first half).

11:33 - Well over 15 minutes into the gaem, nd Edney and Han still have yet to score. Not a good sign. Over on the other end of the court, the Stags have shifted to a hybrid 2-3 zone to try to stop Virginia Tech's slashing style. Let's see if it pays dividends.

11:36 - TGFH (Thank God for Herbie), as Allen hits another three. But, once again, the Hokies answer on a three by Terrell Bell on the other end on a kick-out pass. 35-21 with 4:51 remaining in the first.

11:38 - Greenberg takes a T.O. Cooley is none happy in that huddle.

11:44 - Allen three. Han three. Allen creative lay-up. Just like that, the Stags are back in the  thick of it here. The key though is to see if they can build off of it and get a stop or two in a row in that 2-3 zone. Stay tuned.

11:47 - You're score from San Juan at half: Va. Tech 40, Fairfield 31. Tom Cleary will chime in with some thoughts in a few.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Game Two: Sacred Heart @ Fairfield

Game 2: Sacred Heart @ Fairfield

Sacred Heart (0-1)
G #10 Steve Zazuri (Fr., 0.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg)
G #25 Shane Gibson (Fr., 9.0 ppg, 3.0apg)
C #21 Ryan Howard (Sr., 9.0 ppg, 5.0rpg)
F #4 Corey Hassan (Jr., 10.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg)
F #24 Joey Henley (Gr., 18.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg)
Head Coach - Dave Bike, 31st season

Fairfield (0-1)
G #3 Jon Han (Sr., 18.0 ppg, 7.0 apg)
G #15 Herbie Allen (Sr., 0.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg)
C #32 Anthony Johnson (Jr., 7.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg)
F #44 Greg Nero (Jr., 10.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg)
F #22 Warren Edney (Soph., 24.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg)
Head Coach - Ed Cooley, 3rd season
  • Tonight marks the second ever meeting between the two Fairfield, Conn. teams. Last season, the Stags defeated the Pioneers, 84-75. Guard Jon Han finished with a team-high 22 points and eight assists.
  • Fairfield had three scorers in double-digits on Saturday night against Memphis (Warren Edney - 27, John Han - 18, and Greg Nero - 10). The Stags were the first team since Kansas in last year's NCAA Championship game to shoot over .500 from the field against the Tigers. Only three teams did it last season (UAB, Austin Peay, and Southern Mississippi).
  • Ed Cooley to our own Tom Cleary this afternoon in the Barone Campus Center: "Saturday (against Memphis) was the best I've seen a Fairfield team play since I've been here." 

Tonight the first of many test for Fairfield

As the Stags prepare to face the Pioneers tonight at the Arena at Harbor Yard, there is a buzz in the air, writes Chris Elsberry. The excitement on campus is palpable.

But, for a second, look deeper than this game. Consider that Cooley and company, despite what in many respects was an admirable loss against Memphis last Saturday evening, are clear-cut favorites in this game, a position Fairfield does not normally find itself in too frequently. A win is just a job well done; a loss could be catastrophic.

[ click here to continue...]

"This is our town"

We're still a few hours away from tip-off, but the folks over across town sent a loud and clear message again this year via YouTube: "Let the trash talking begin".

Check back later tonight for live game blog coverage of the game. This is one you won't want to miss.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Next Stop: Storrs

Just announced on the ESPNews Selection show: the Fairfield men's soccer team will play Connecticut in the upcoming first-round of the NCAA tournament. The game and date, while yet to be determined, will likely be at some point this coming Friday, Nov. 21.

Stay tuned for more updates and reactions from senior Tom Clements and head coach Carl Rees.

Women's Basketball vs. Villanova

Monday, November 10, 2008

Shall we dance?

Ahna Johnson and her fellow seniors have now come full circle, as the women's soccer team clinched its first MAAC championship and berth in the NCAA tournament since 2005, Johnson's freshman year. Chris Simmons has the story.

Johnson, the MAAC Offensive Player of the Year, tallied three goals in a 3-0 shut-out of top-seeded Loyola. She was named to the All-MAAC tourney team, and deservedly so. Another great outing for Kelly Boudreau, who looks poised beyond her years.

Up next: TBD. We'll find out Monday night at 7:30pm when the NCAA hosts the Selection Show. It's airing live on ESPNews if anyone gets that. If not, keep tabs on the blog - we'll have instant news and updates.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Volleyball clinches MAAC Title

Congrats to first-year coach Alija Pittenger and Co. A 3-0 beat down of Marist today at Alumni Hall clinched another regular-season championship for the women's vollleyball team. Junior Katie Mann led the way with a match-high 16 kills, as she inches closer to 1000 for her collegiate career.

Ironically, Siena comes to town tomorrow, providing a subtle reminder that a regular-season championship only goes so far.

But if this season is any indication, Fairfield's MAAC title losing streak is likely to end.

All good things

It was a valiant effort, but it seems as if the 'Red Ruggers' journey to the national tournament may have come to an end.

Today, the University of Maine defeated Fairfield, 35-8, at the men's rugby regional finals at the Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.

Tomorrow, the Red Ruggers play a consolation game against the Coast Guard Academy. There is an outside chance the team could play in the national tournament, but it would seem as if a stunning season in about to conclude.

Our tribute to the rugby? This link to their pre-game ritual.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Women's Soccer: On to the Finals

A season on the line. Overtime. One penalty kick.

It's doesn't get much more dramatic than that, and that's exactly what the women's soccer team overcame against host school Siena on Friday night, defeated the Saints 5-4 in penalty kicks after the two teams were scoreless through regulation and two overtime periods.

Cool stat of the night: women's soccer is 5-0 all-time in game's decided by penalty kicks.

Up next, a MAAC championship showdown against our "new rival schol": the Loyola Greyhounds (who defeated Canisius, 4-2, later that evening). The game will be played in Loudonville, N.Y., with a 1pm gametime.

Ahna Johnson named MAAC Women's Soccer Offensive Player of the Year

Last night the MAAC announced that Fairfield senior Ahna Johnson is the Offensive Player of the Year. Johnson scored 12 goals and recored four assists for a total of 28 points this season, helping the women's soccer squad to a 7-2 conference record and the second seed in this weekend's tournament.

Johnson, Nicole Cavallaro and Robyn Decker were all named to the All-First Team, while Kelly Boudreau, Spenser Allaway, and Jasmin Corniel (all freshmen) were named to both the Second-Team and the Freshmen-Team.

The Stags begin their tournament run in Loudonville at 2 p.m. this afternoon against host No. 3 Siena (6-2-1).

Check the Mirror Sports Blog for updates on the game.

-Tom Cleary

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Video Coverage of Men's Basketball Exhibition vs. Bridgeport

Featuring Keith Connors and Tom Cleary

Pre-Game Video

Halftime Video

Post-Game Video

Post-game Game Stories:

Live from the Harbor: FU vs. BU

Extreme Makeover: Harbor Yard Edition

Fall got you down? Anxiously counting the days until Fairfield tips off against Memphis in two weeks? Fear not - you'll get a little preview of the season tomorrow night... in more ways than one.

According to several people in Fairfield Athletics, a revamped courtside layout will debut for tomorrow scrimmage against Bridgeport. Athletic director Gene Doris and associate A.D./marketing strategist Roy Brown have toyed with the idea of refurbishing the courtside area in an attempt to make it more interactive and fan friendly for the students. More of a collegiate atmosphere, if you will.

We're not sure whether or not these changes (which are believed to include moving the court closer to the seats or moving student seating back to the floor) will be tested tomorrow night in the scrimmage against Bridgeport, but it sure makes sense to give it a test run.

Here's hoping the Red Sea is there this season to take advantage.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama and Brigeport Scrimmage

Connection? None. But both have a lot to do with some of the new things that 'The Mirror' is unveiling this season. During last night's election, 'The Mirror' had wall-to-wall coverage of the election results, including a live streaming video live from our office. We even had a few guests and special callers (thanks again, Ben Doody).

To transition, we'll be moving a similar approach to basketball this season - beginning with tomorrow night's double-header scrimmage against Bridgeport.

As of now, the plan is to do a '' video shot in between the two games, and - as always - use 'Cover it Live' to provide up-to-the-minute blog coverage of the two games. This could be especially sweet to break out at away games.

Any other ideas for the upcoming year? Also, be on the lookout for our Section B preview in next week's edition of 'The Mirror'

More to come.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Giving the Eagles a scare

In the first of two scrimmages, Boston College edged the Stags, 81-73. It's not a win, but I'm pretty sure Ed Cooley must be pleased with the team's effort against a strong opponent in a superior league - especially in the team's first official play against another team this year. Fairfield even led by three at one point in the game (49-46).

After a little respite (BC/Clemson anyone?), the two teams go back at it tonight at the Conte Forum. More details as they come in.