Feb. 5, 2007
Bridgeport, Conn. - Jonathan Han hit a three-pointer with 15 seconds remaining to give Fairfield the lead and converted two free throws with three seconds remaining to close out a 13-0 run as the Stags scored the final 13 points of the game to collect a 65-62 home MAAC win over the Greyhounds Monday night at the Arena at Harbor Yard.
The win pulls Fairfield within one game of Loyola in the conference standings as the Greyhounds sit in a first-place tie with Marist, 79-78 winners at Rider, at 9-4. The Greyhounds are 13-10 overall. The Stags are tied with three teams at 8-5 in third place and are 10-15 on the season.
"We had two good chances for wins this weekend and just came up short," Greyhounds third-year coach Jimmy Patsos said. "We have to learn how to finish games. Closing out tight games is how you win championships and that remains our goal -- to win the MAAC Championship."
Loyola took a 62-52 lead with 3:33 remaining on a layup from senior forward Josko Alujevic. Han made a three-pointer with 2:57 left to close the deficit to seven. The Greyhounds turned the ball over and as the teams headed up court, junior forward Omari Isreal committed his fifth foul. Han converted both free throws and the score stood 62-57 with 2:46 remaining.
Loyola's possession ended in a shot-clock violation and after the teams exchanged defensive rebounds, Michael Van Schaick was fouled. After making the first, he missed the second and grabbed his own rebound with 1:29 left. Following a Stags time out, Herbie Allen drove the lane and made a short jumper from the lane to make the score 62-60 with 57 ticks remaining. Freshman guard Brett Harvey was called for an offensive foul with 38 seconds left, giving the ball back to Fairfield to set up Han's game-winning basket.
Loyola's junior guard Gerald Brown was forced to throw up a shot from the lane with four seconds remaining amid congestion and Han rebounded the miss and converted the subsequent free throws. Following a Greyhounds time out with less than four seconds remaining, Loyola got the ball over half-court, but Harvey was unsuccessful on an off-balance three-point attempt with 1.7 seconds left and the final horn sounded.
Han led all scorers with 19. Anthony Johnson collected a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Van Schaick chipped in with 12 points and Allen finished with 10. For Loyola, sophomore guard Marquis Sullivan and Brown each scored 13. Alujevic scored 12 and Harvey added 11.
The Greyhounds were successful on all of their free-throw attempts, but went to the line just nine times compared to Fairfield's 22.
"Despite the two losses, it was a learning experience for us," Patsos said. "We handled a tough week and have to learn to close things up when we have the chance. We got the chance to stay in New York City and have our picture taken in from of the Met (Metropolitan Museum) and we learned about life." In addition to the "touristy" stops in the City, the Greyhounds stopped and paid tribute to Sean Lugano, a Loyola graduate who lost his life in the 9-11 terrorist attacks. A fund-raiser will take place in New York City Friday to honor Lugano and proceeds will benefit the new athletic field construction taking place at the College.
A three-game home stand begins Friday when the Greyhounds host Canisius in a game being televised nationally on ESPNU.