BRIDGEPORT, CT -- Siena Basketball is winless on the road no more. The Saints posted their best defensive performance on the road this season to complete the regular season series sweep of Fairfield 63-54 at Webster Bank Arena. Red-shirt senior forward Brett Bisping scored a game-high 16 points and added seven rebounds for the surging Saints which have won three straight to pull within a game of first place in the MAAC.
Seniors Lavon Long and Marquis Wright contributed 11 points apiece for Siena (7-11, 4-3) which snapped an 11-game road losing streak dating back to last season, which began with a defeat here at Webster Bank Arena. The road victory is the Saints' first since an 84-64 triumph at Rider last Feb. 19.
Stellar defense was the story for Siena which has won six of eight meetings against Fairfield (8-7, 3-3) under head coach Jimmy Patsos. The Saints held the Stags' high octane offense to 24 points under their season average, and 10 points below their previous season-low.
Siena did yeoman like work in shutting down arguably the MAAC's best scoring backcourt. The conference's leading scorer at 20.0 points per game Tyler Nelson, was held to a quiet 13 points on 4-11 shooting. Reigning MAAC Player of the Week Curtis Cobb, who came in averaging 16.9 points highlighted by a conference-record tying 46-point effort last week, mustered just five points on 2-8 from the field.
The Saints, which had allowed an average of 79.8 points on 48.6% shooting including 39.4% from three over their first 10 road games this season, limited Fairfield to just 39% from the field including only 32% in the second half. Additionally, the Saints held the Stags to just 3-22 shooting from distance for a team which entered play averaging 8.6 three-point makes per contest.
The first half featured five ties and three lead changes, but Siena ended the stanza on a 10-2 run to reclaim the lead for good and take a 35-27 advantage at the break.
The Saints continued their momentum into the second half, and reeled off six straight points to claim their biggest lead at 10 at 45-35 with 14:13 to play. Fairfield cut the deficit to as little as three at 49-46 with 10:26 to go, but the Saints answered with a 9-2 spurt to push the lead back to 10 with 2:49 remaining.
Siena connected on nine of its 10 second half free throws, and shot 81.8% (18-22) from the charity stripe for the game, to salt away the victory.
Senior forward Javion Ogunyemi scored all eight of his points in the second half and added seven rebounds and three blocks, while freshman guard Khalil Richard added seven points in 14 spirited minutes off the Siena bench.
Jerry Johnson led Fairfield with 14 points off the bench, while the MAAC's leading rebounder Amadou Sidibe added a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds for the Stags which are in the midst of a span where they play seven of nine at home.
The Saints return to the Times Union Center Tuesday to conclude their stretch where they play three of four at home. Siena hosts Rider to close out the regular season series against the Broncs at 7 p.m.