BRIDGEPORT, CT – MAAC Preseason Player of the Year and the conference’s leading scorer Tyler Nelson tallied 27 points to lead Fairfield past Siena Basketball 78-65 at Webster Bank Arena. Sophomore guard Khalil Richard tied career-highs with 16 points and four assists for the Saints.
Nelson scored 15 of his points on 5-7 shooting in the second half while moving into second place on the Fairfield (10-13, 5-7) all-time scoring list with 1,941 career points. Ferron Flavors, Jr. added 13 of his 16 points in the final stanza for the Stags, which shot 52% from the field and 13-16 from the free throw line in the second half.
Sophomore guard Ahsante Shivers notched 14 points on 5-8 shooting for Siena (7-18, 3-9), which shot 48% from the field. Freshman forward Prince Oduro chipped in with 11 points and four rebounds for the shorthanded Saints who were without their leader in scoring, rebounding, assists, and steals in freshman guard Roman Penn, and their leading scorer during conference play in freshman guard Jordan Horn.
Fairfield led throughout and by as many as 15 points in winning their third straight after having dropped seven of their previous eight. The Stags opened as much as an eight-point first half cushion, and held Siena scoreless for the first 6:08 of the contest.
But the Saints battled back, putting together a late 13-5 run to draw even for the first time at 24-all with 3:34 remaining in the first half. Siena caught fire down the stretch in making 10 of their final 14 shots, and trailed just 33-30 at the break.
However, the Stags opened the second half on a 13-6 spurt to build a 10-point cushion and never led by fewer than seven points thereafter. Fairfield harbored a double-digit advantage for the final 9:22 as head coach Sydney Johnson recorded his milestone 100th career victory leading the Stags.
Fairfield transfer Kevin Degnan posted Siena career-highs of nine points, four rebounds, and two assists against his former team, while sophomore forward Thomas Huerter, Jr. added eight points to round out the Saints’ scoring leaders.
Siena returns to action Thursday when they travel to Buffalo to battle Canisius at 7 p.m.