The Jaspers responded to their two heartbreaking wins with a win over St. Peter's, and almost made Manhattan fans jump with joy as they fell three points short of an upset over the Fairfield Stags in Bridgeport, Conn.
Manhattan (7-9, 2-4 MAAC) lead by 14 points in the first half, before Fairfield (12-3, 5-1 MAAC) got hot from the field and cut the Jasper lead to two points. Intermission came with the Jaspers leading 39-37.
Rico Pickett, who scored a career-high 29 points, hit a 50-foot three-pointer less than a second after the buzzer sounded, and it was waived off.
Fairfield came out strong in the second half and took a 48-43 lead with 16 minutes remaining. The Jaspers kept fighting, but short Fairfield bursts pushed their lead all the way up to 10. The Jaspers would not go away.
With 6:08 left, Fairfield went back up 74-65, and it looked like the Stags might run away. Rico Pickett got hot once more, as the Jaspers began forcing turnovers again.
Manhattan went on a 9-3 run to cut the Fairfield lead to three. Rico Pickett's layup with 1:23 left tied the score at 80-80.
With Manhattan trailing 81-80, Andrew Gabriel got two open looks right under the basket—he converted neither. Gabriel remained only a threat to get an occasional steal.
Two free throws for Fairfield gave the Stags an 88-85 lead with 2.7 seconds left. Rico Pickett grabbed an inbounds pass and tried to create a déjá vu on a half-court shot, but this one hit the front of the rim and bounced out, giving Fairfield an 88-85 victory to make the home crowd happy.
Anthony Johnson led Fairfield with 27 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks.
Yorel Hawkins added 19 points and eight rebounds, while Derek Needham scored 11 points and five assists, after not hitting a shot for the first 16 minutes.
Sean Crawford scored 10 off the bench for the Stags.
Rico Pickett scored 29 for the Jaspers while grabbing three steals.
Darryl Crawofrd scored 21 points before fouling out in the final minute. Crawford converted 11-of-13 free throws.
Laurence Jolicouer had 14 points and nine rebounds.
Patrick Bouli had an all-around great game with five points, four assists, four rebounds, and four steals.
Kevin Laue scored his first career field goal on a tip-in in the first half. He scored two points and grabbed one rebound.
The Jaspers picked up 17 steals and forced a total of 26 turnovers. Once again, Manhattan had trouble defending the perimeter as Fairfield shot 7-of-11 from beyond the arc. The Jaspers reversed some of their misfortune from the charity stripe on Sunday, converting 23-of-26 free throws.
Fairfield stays at home to face the Siena Saints (12-4, 5-0 MAAC) on Friday.
Manhattan returns to Draddy Gymnasium to battle Canisius (8-8, 3-2 MAAC) on Friday, Jan. 16.
Picture credit to gojaspers.com
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