Barrow, Stags topple Rider
Updated 1:02 am, Saturday, February 2, 2013
BRIDGEPORT -- Rider seems to bring out the best in Maurice Barrow.
The Fairfield junior forward posted his second double-double of the season with a career-high 25 points and 10 rebounds in a 69-59 victory Friday night in front of 2,820 fans at the Webster Bank Arena.
Derek Needham added 15 points and the Stags (13-10, 5-6 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) went 22-for-25 (88 percent) from the foul line, which was their second best outing of the season. Fairfield, which has won three straight, hit 88.5 percent (23-for-26) vs. Fordham in November.
"I think we did a good job of feeding the hot man tonight," Needham said. "Mo took advantage of what he needed to do on the court, hitting jump shots and posting up. I think he got good looks and knocked them down.
The Stags finished with three players perfect from the foul line. Barrow was 9-for-9, Needham 6-for-6 and Desmond Wade 4-for-4 against the Broncs (11-12, 6-5).
Barrow, who scored 13 points with 10 rebounds in the first meeting against Rider (66-52 win on Dec. 9), came off the bench 2:27 in and with Fairfield down 6-0. About 18 minutes later, Barrow already had 10 points and eight rebounds as Fairfield led 35-30 at the half.
"Barrow really played well, I thought exceptionally well," said first-year Rider coach Kevin Baggett. "It's the same team (we saw before). They defend and do the things they are accustomed to doing and we struggled a little bit rotating out of the ball screens.
"They did a good job of finding the open man and their guards are good."
Barrow's big night overshadowed a strong performance from another player off the bench. Senior guard Colin Nickerson had eight points, seven rebounds and four steals in 35 minutes.
Overall, Fairfield's bench finished with 41 points to Rider's 11.
"It doesn`t bother me," said Barrow, about coming off the bench after being a starter. "It gives me time to see how the game's going and learning from someone else's mistakes and not make the same mistakes."
The Stags played steady in the second half, where they shot 9 of 10 from the foul line and never allowed Rider to take the lead. The Broncs used an 8-0 run to even it at 44-44 with 10:49 remaining, but Fairfield responded with a 12-4 run to create some breathing room.
After losing five straight, the Stags seemed to have found their groove again and that should help along with playing four of their next five MAAC games at home.
"I think it's helped that a few games ago we had to get humbled because we were on this losing streak and we had to kind of get back to basics," Fairfield coach Sydney Johnson said.
"I think it helped clarifying guys' roles. What Derek does. What Dez does, and Mo,, his game is he can make some jump shots and score in the post, but he doesn't have to do all the scoring in the post or all the jump shops. ... I think he's really settled in."
Contact William S. Paxton at email@example.com Follow him on twitter at wspaxton
Game at a glance
GAME MVP: Maurice Barrow scored a career-high 25 points and pulled down 10 rebounds (six offensive) for his second double-double of the season in Fairfield's 69-59 victory.
KEYS TO VICTORY: The Stags went 22-for-25 (88 percent) from the foul line and scored 41 points off the bench, with Colin Nickerson adding eight points, seven rebounds and four steals.
UP NEXT: Monday, at Siena, 7 p.m.
-- WILLIAM S. PAXTON