BRIDGEPORT -- The most popular comment when it comes to Colin Nickerson's game is why doesn't the Fairfield senior guard shoot the ball more often.

"I get those questions all the time, but that's just not my role on the team," he said.

It was Thursday night.

Nickerson came off the bench to score a season-high 14 points and the Stags rolled to their fifth straight victory with a 61-44 topping of Saint Peter's in front of 1,263 fans at the Webster Bank Arena.

"(Colin) took some great rhythm shots today, I thought," Fairfield coach Sydney Johnson said. "When we all know it and when he knows it, I think it's a high percentage that's going in. That will definitely help our offense and make us tougher to deal with as we move forward."

Maurice Barrow led the Stags (15-10, 7-6 MAAC) with 15 points and Derek Needham added 13 points with six assists, but the Stags struggled to find their rhythm early against Saint Peter's (7-16, 2-11).

Ten minutes into the game, the teams were tied at 4 with the Stags shooting just 2 of 14 from the field. Freshman Marcus Gilbert (nine points) woke them up with back-to-back 3-pointers, giving Fairfield a 15-10 lead with 6:35 left, and the Stags finished the half on a 15-9 run.

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Game at at glance
MVP: Senior guard Colin Nickerson came off the bench for a season-high 14 points -- on 6-of-9 shooting -- with six rebounds and two assists to lead Fairfield over Saint Peter's 61-44.
KEYS TO VICTORY: Marcus Gilbert knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to wake up the Stags' offense, which opened 1-of-9 shooting, and the team finished 6-for-17 on the perimeter. ... Fairfield's bench came up huge with 35 points
CHANGE-UP: Fairfield's 1973 and '74 NIT teams were scheduled to be honored at Saturday's game against Manhattan, but due to a scheduling change from bad weather, the teams will instead be honored on Feb. 23 when the Stags play Albany at the Webster Bank Arena. Tip-off is 1 p.m.
UP NEXT: Monday vs. Manhattan at Webster Bank Arena, 7 p.m.

"We were just sticking to our defense and sooner or later we figured our shots were going to start to fall," Gilbert said.

The Stags led 30-19 at the half, and that advantage never dipped to single digits in the second half. Saint Peter's shot just 32.1 percent (17-for-53) with 13 turnovers and were led by Darius Conley with nine points.

"We just kept playing defense and we knew our offense would come -- that was our motive the whole game," Nickerson said. "That's what we stuck by."

The offense certainly came from Nickerson, who last scored in double figures nine games ago when he had 11 in a loss to Niagara. Nickerson went 6 of 9 from the field and added six rebounds in 29 minutes, with most of his contributions coming after Desmond Wade went down in the first half with an apparent knee injury with 10:35 to play.

"It's the same refrain. We have three seniors, Dez was injured and right now he's day-to-day, but Colin and Derek were fantastic in terms of running the show," Johnson said. "And that allows role players like Mo and Marcus to get involved."

Johnson called Wade's injury day to day.

Despite the hot shooting, Nickerson doesn't have any plans to alter his game no matter who's in the lineup with him.

"I just take the ones that I'm open on," Nickerson said. "I don't look to shoot first all the time, but I just shoot the ones when I'm open."

Regardless of whether people want him to shoot more, Nickerson plans to continue to focus on his strengths on the floor.

"What I'm glad is Colin understands the best parts of his game, his defensive presence and his leadership, but he can score," Johnson said. "He's checking those boxes (where he helps us most) and I think he's at peace about how he's best for us.

"I'm thrilled with that."; @wspaxton