Manhattan lost once again on Monday night. Rico Pickett was plagued with foul trouble and scored 18 points on the game before fouling out.
Manhattan (9-17, 4-12 MAAC) had some hope in the first few minutes after Rico Pickett hit back-to-back three-pointers to give the Jaspers a 6-4 lead. This would be the only lead the Jaspers would possess for the entire game. Fairfield (18-8, 11-5 MAAC) used a 23-2 run to open up a 27-8 lead.
Fairfield would take their largest lead of the game at 40-16 on a Mike Evanovich three-pointer. Manhattan would cut back into lead on a pair of Darryl Crawford free throws, taking a 43-25 deficit into halftime.
After hitting two three-pointers to start the game, Rico Pickett did not score.
Manhattan actually started playing better early in the second half, cutting the lead as low as 53-40 with 10:55 left. The Jaspers then struggled from the field for the next few minutes while playing bad defense, and Fairfield scored a quick six points to boost the lead back to 19 points.
Once again, Manhattan got some life pumped back into them and scored a quick four points to put themselves back within 15. Mike Evanovich then heated up, scoring eight straight points for the Stags, including two three-pointers.
With Fairfield up 71-52 in the final two minutes, Anthony Johnson got a wide-open dunk and slammed it home, rattling the backboard, sending an exclamation point through Draddy Gymnasium. Johnson, who had struggled relative to his first performance against Manhattan, let out a yell of relief as he scored his 14th point.
Manhattan went the final 2:13 without a field goal, but the Jaspers did make all four of their down the stretch. Nick Walsh turned the ball over with 20 seconds left and Fairfield ran out the clock. With the win, the Stags remain in a tie with Iona for second place in the MAAC, whom they have already lost to. Fairfield hosts the Gaels in their next MAAC game on February 26.
Fairfield had four players score in double digits. Mike Evanovich led all scorers with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Evanovich made four three-pointers. Anthony Johnson scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Colin Nickerson scored 13 points and freshman Derek Needham scored 12 points, grabbed five rebounds, and dished out five assists.
Sean Crawford scored eight points and hit two three-pointers in the first half.
Fairfield shot 27-of-53 (50.9 percent) from the field, and made 8-of-18 three-pointers.
On the other hand, Manhattan shot 18-of-54 (33.3 percent) from the field. Without Rico Pickett, the rest of the Jaspers shot 10-of-39 for an abysmal 25.6 percent.
Rico Pickett led the Jaspers with 18 points, 12 in the second half. Pickett grabbed five rebounds, four of them offensive. Pickett only played 24 minutes due to foul trouble.
Freshman George Beamon scored nine points on 3-of-7 shooting. Beamon also had seven rebounds.
Darryl Crawford and Brandon Adams each scored eight points. Crawford shot 1-of-8 from the field and Adams shot 2-of-9. Crawford made all six of his free throws and Adams made three of his four.
Manhattan had one of their better free throw shooting games, making 16-of-20 free throws.
With this loss, Manhattan has lost four straight games to Fairfield, and now its hopes of eighth place in the MAAC are almost gone.
Fairfield plays at Vermont (19-8, 10-3 Am. East) in the BracketBusters on Saturday.
Manhattan hosts Towson (7-18, 4-11 CAA) in their BracketBusters game.
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