Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Practice update

With three days before their big matchup with the Canisius Golden Griffs, the men's basketball team hit the practice court at 3:30 this afternoon. The Stags seemed to be working hard, but Head Coach Ed Cooley gave the practice a "D-". However, Cooley quickly said that the team has not had a A practice all season, so a D- is pretty good.

  • The team started the practice with a walk through of the plays they will be running against Canisius. The team's starters, Jonathan Han `09, Devin Johnson `10, Michael Van Schaick `07, Greg Nero `10, and Anthony Johnson `10 walked through the plays. The team was focusing on the defense of Canisius, which Cooley said that the Griffs will try to deny the ball to the post and will fight hard through screens.
  • Following the walk through the team ran a boxing out drill. Cooley emphasized to his players the importance of rebounding, saying that the team is the worst in the league in defensive rebounding and that it would depend on the coaches to fix that.
  • My first look at Michael Evanovich, a transfer from Iowa, in play, he looks like a good find for the Stags. He was able to take the big men guarding him off the dribble and also take mid-range to long-range shots. His size and shooting ability make him a threat that should be a major help for the Stags next season.
  • The team also spent a good amount of time working on their full court press plays.
  • Devin Johnson `10 was very impressive during practice. Seeing how hard he works, it is easy to see why he is a starter. At one point during the defensive rebounding drill, he grabbed 4 rebounds from the offensive side, skying in and fighting hard for the ball. Coach Simon pressured him to get one, then told him to get a second and he did, and then seemed impressed by his hustle to get two more. Also the team was running sprints and had 7.4 seconds to get down the court. Cooley chose who he thought were the fastest players to do it. He then asked any he did not choose if they wanted to step up and Johnson did. He ended up being the fastest down and back.
  • The team ran a scrimmage with a red team made up of Danny Oglesby, Rich Flemming, Herbie Allen, Marty O'Sullivan/Michael Evanovich, and Roi Buchbinder against a white team of Michael Van Schaick, Jonathan Han, Anthony Johnson, Devin Johnson and Greg Nero. The red team won easily 13-5. Mamadou Diakhate and Geoff Middleton had class and were not in practice.
-Tom Cleary

Sunday, January 28, 2007

More Second Half Photos

Including the new Stag mascot

-Chris Simmons

64-53 FU ; 3:16 in the 2nd

  • REST OF THE GAME: Check out updates and post-game notes on our main 'Mirror Sports' blog. Enjoy!
  • Shake is stripped, which leads to a breakaway lay-up from Tyrone Lewis. FU is up 64-53.
  • Fisher hits a long three on a skip pass. The FU lead is 64-51.
  • Marty finds Peanut down-low, who puts it in. That's a career high for Anthony Johnson. Stags lead 64-48.
  • O'Sullivan blocks an offensive rebound and gives the ball back to Fairfield.
  • Marty hits another three. That makes two on the night for the big man. Stags are up 62-48.

- Keith Connors

59-48 Stags; 5:24 in the 2nd

  • Niagra calls a T.O., baby (in the words of my favorite college color commentator, Mr. Dick Vitale)
  • Cliff Brown lays it in from the paint. FU is up 59-48.
  • Han hits a three from the top of the arc off of a pick-and-pop play. Stags lead 59-46.
  • Lorenzo Miles jumper over Devin Johnson falls in. The Stags lead is 57-46.
  • Fisher makes it 57-44 on a quick pull-up jumper.
  • Shake heads to the line after being fouled on the drive. He hits one-of-two to make it 57-42.
  • Simmons is still trying to get a good picture of the "new and improved" Stag. Working hard or hardly working?
  • I hope there's some tacos left in the media room. I'm starving.
  • Frank Romano and the band is jamming to the '70s hit "(I wanna know if) You'll be my girl". Gotta love it. And the goatee.
- Keith Connors

; in the 2nd

  • Niagra calls a T.O., baby (in the words of my favorite college color commentator, Mr. Dick Vitale)
  • Cliff Brown lays it in from the paint. FU is up 59-48.
  • Han hits a three from the top of the arc off of a pick-and-pop play. Stags lead 59-46.
  • Lorenzo Miles jumper over Devin Johnson falls in. The Stags lead is 57-46.
  • Fisher makes it 57-44 on a quick pull-up jumper.
  • Shake heads to the line after being fouled on the drive. He hits one-of-two to make it 57-42.
  • Simmons is still trying to get a good picture of the "new and improved" Stag. Working hard or hardly working?
  • I hope there's some tacos left in the media room. I'm starving.
  • Frank Romano and the band is jamming to the '70s hit "(I wanna know if) You'll be my girl". Gotta love it. And the goatee.
- Keith Connors

56-42 Stags; 7:23 in the 2nd

  • Stags lead 56-42 with 7:25 to go.

- Keith Connors

; in the 2nd

  • A nice shot nailed by Van Schaick. FU is up 56-42.
  • Patterson draws an offensive foul on Marty O'Sullivan. The Eagles are trying to will themselves back into this game. They're on a mini-roll right now.
  • Stanley Hodge hits a three-point shot after a nice, patient offensive possession from the Purple Eagles. FU leads 54-42.
  • Nero hits a shot on the other end. Stags 54-39.
  • Peanut is back on the court. Eric Lessard grabs his towel. Thata boy, roomie.
  • Marty's pass for Mamadou is picked off. After a quick play call, Andrew Patterson is hacked by Mamadou and head to the line (on a questionable call). Patterson hits both to make it 52-39.
  • Allen is fouled hard trying to bring the ball over.
  • Fast break lay in for Niagra. 52-37 Stags.
  • Mamadou checks back into the game. Ditto for Marty O'Sullivan.
  • Dapper Cooley watch: a pink dress shirt with a grey/pink striped tie. Classy.
- Keith Connors

More Photos

-Chris Simmons

52-35 Stags; 11:59 in the 2nd

  • This may be the biggest lead Fairfield has held all year. We'll check that out for you.
  • Heading into the media timeout, the Stag coaches and bench are all pumped up and standing. They're really on a roll right now. This is the best I've seen them play all season (not to mention the most into a game).
  • Niagra's quick miss leads to another shot attempt. Nero gobbles up a tough rebound and puts it up strong (a great sign). Stags lead 52-35.
  • Herbie Allen hits an unbelievable lay-up after a winding, twisting and turning drive.
  • Niagra misses a wide-open three, but they grab the oreb. After a foul on the floor, its deja vu all over again. The same thing happens, but this time Cliff Brown nabs a two-pointer. Stags 48-35 Stags.
- KC

48-33 Stags; 13:45 in the 2nd

  • Fairfield leads 48-33
  • Moments later, following a botched Niagra play, Herbie Allen hits a three from the corner on a kickout from Anthony Johnson. The Stags looked energized today.
  • Anthony Johnson misses an easy 'putt distance' shot. A few seconds later, Shake hits a shot to put the Stags up 45-33.
  • Allen is called on the foul, sending Fisher to the line. Fisher hits both to pull Niagra within ten. 43-33 Stags.
  • Nero struggles at first and eventually works his way inside, but misses the shot. Eagles ball at the 15 minute mark.
- KC

43-31 Stags; 15:25 in the 2nd

  • Mamadou isn't even in the game and we can still hear him. He's standing and yelling the entire time. Now that's a leader.
  • Nero misses a ten-foot jumper off a post shot. He's getting the ball early and often in the 2nd Half.
  • Stanley Hodge drives and makes the basket (and the foul). He misses the free throw. 43-31 FU.
  • Nero gets a great look inside from Shake and lays it in. They are really working hard to get the ball inside to Johnson and Nero in this game . Stags 43-29.
  • Devin hits one-of-two to make it 41-29 FU.
  • Devin Johnson is fouled on a fast break. Both teams are coming out with all of their weapons in the 2nd. They appear fired up. This should be a wild, run-and-gun second half.
  • Nero gets on the board for the first time all night. Stags 40-29.
  • After a pair on Niagra misses, Devin Johnson hits a bank shot (nearly fouled). Fisher adds a jumper on the other end to make it 38-29.
  • After a few misses on both sides, Jon Han finds Anthony Johnson down low, who hits a pretty reverse lay-in.
  • Don't worry, Stagophile. We'll have your new Stag picture soon!
  • After a halftime break, I mysteriously found a game story from the Niagra Gazette on my computer. The article was from their victory over FU on January 9th. Coach Joe Mihalich's quote: "Sometimes the toughest games to win are the ones you're supposed to." Motivation, anyone?
- Keith Connors

More First Half Photos

-Chris Simmons

1st Half Notes

  • Rest of the first half/halftime thoughts will be on the Main Blog site. Stay tuned!
- Keith Connors

29-21 Stags; 2:50 in the 1st

  • Nero gives A.J. a great look from the top of the key, but Peanut misses the easy lay-in.
  • Anthony Johnson is fouled on a shot attempt. Foul is called on Fisher (his first, the team's seventh). Peanut makes both freebies. 29-21 Stags.
  • Ogelsby fouls Brown, who nails the shot and adds the free throw. 27-21 Stags.
  • Johnson called for an over-the-back. Eagles ball.
  • Tyrone Lewis hits an open shot in the paint. Looked to be miscommunication on D. Stags lead 27-18
  • Ogelsby gets called on a drive to stop the fast break.
  • Johnson swats Fisher's shot, and Nero grabs the board on the next attempt. The Stags are feeling 'mo right now.
  • Anthony Johnson hits a shot off a great feed from Han. 27-16 Stags.
  • Ogelsby is in the game. This is his first action in quite some time.
  • Mamadou misses a lay-in down low, but the Stags work hard to get the ball back. Nero finds Anthony Johnson, who misses the the shot but is fouled on the play. Johnson hits both shots from the charity stripe. 25-16 Stags
  • After back-to-back misses by both teams, Brooks attempts a pump fake and drunk move on Marty, but misses the shot. Stags ball after the Eagles stepped out of bounds.
  • I'm once again joined by my buddy and fellow writer, Chris Simmons. Tom and I are honored. Although we're upset we didn't get an invite on his trip to the Boogeydown Bronx last night.
  • Frank Romano's goatee is looking saweeeet. Very classy, Francis.
- Keith Connors

23-16 Stags; 7:05 in the 1st

  • Shake is called for a foul. Cooley and the crowd are not happy with the officiating thus far.
  • Marty hits another shot. He looks as if he's shooting well early on. 23-16 Stags.
  • Mamadou rips the ball out of Brown's hand on what would've been an easy lay-in. Great play on D. Looks as if he's fouled on the way back, but no call made.
  • Allen misses a three, then gets called on a hold foul on the other end.
  • Shake nearly hits a reverse lay-up off a pretty pass. Niagra fumbles the rebound to keep the ball on the Stags side of the court.
  • Travel call on Clif Brown gives the ball back to Fairfield.
  • The Eagles come right back, as Fisher nails a three. Stags 21-16
  • Wow! Marty O'Sullivan nails a three-pointer on a shot normally reserved for fellow senior Shake.
  • Mamadou! He's in the game. Stag fans rejoice.
  • Nero fouls Fisher down-low. Fisher hits both to make it 18-13 FU.
  • Herbie Allen hits a three to put the Stags up seven. Allen has really come on of late. His offensive game is growing daily . Stags 18-11
  • Shot clock wasn't working on the play; Cooley is not amused. The refs huddle and appear to have the problem solved.
  • Niagra gives FU a taste of their own medicine with a full-court press.
  • The new Stag is creepin over by Niagra's sidelines. The Purple Eagles better watch out. This deer is more menacing.
  • Happy Birthday Jack Leonard! Wherever you are...
- Keith Connors

Exclusive In-Game Photos

Click on the image for a larger size. Quality will increase in the second half when the Stags shoot on the basket closer to me.

-Chris Simmons

15-11; 10:55 in the 1st

  • Media T.O. God knows I need it.
  • Foul on Stanley Hodge on a defensive rebound by FU.
  • Anthony Johnson hits a nice shot in the paint after a great look from Marty O'Sullivan. The Stags are making a concerted effort to get the ball in early and often. Stags 15-11
  • Niagra's Clif Brown snatches an offensive board and puts it right back in. Stags 13-11
  • After some full court pressure (thank you!), Anthony Johnson grabs a steal and gives it to Shake up court. He misses the shot but is fouled on the play. Shake hits both to put Fairfield up four. 13-9 Stags.
  • Devin Johnson misses a shot, but the Stags pick him up after a Michael Van Schaick o-reb and lay-in. Stags 11-9
  • Greg Noel scores a quick basket after a botched shot from the post. We're tied at 9.
  • Anthony Johnson is fouled hard on a lay-in attempt off of a great feed from the outside. Johnson misses the first and the second. It looks like the Stags want to get the ball down low early and attack Niagra's forwards. Stags 9-7
  • Our beloved editor Dan Akeson was unable to make it after a Friendly's run abruptly ended his Saturday night. Our thoughts and prayers are with him...
  • Pre-game meal: tacos and Mexicali rice. Muy caliente.
- Keith Connors

9-7 Stags;13:48 in the 1st

  • Anthony Johnson nails a put back lay-in after a Van Schaick miss. Great hustle by Fairfield early on; they look very into the game. Stags 9-7
  • Devin Johnson misses after a nice look. On the other end Brooks drains a wide-open three. We're tied at 7,
  • Shake pump fakes form the top of the key and drives all the way. Great move anticipating the D. Stags 7-4
  • Missed shot by Brooks gives FU the ball again.
  • Niagra up 4-3 early, till Jon Han finds Anthony Johnson under the hoop on a fast break for a slam dunk. Stags lead 5-4.
  • Pre-game stat: Niagra G/F Cliff Brown (6'7'', 225 pound senior) is averaging 16.1 points a game and 9.4 rebounds. As if that wasn't impressive enough, junior Charron Fisher is averaging 23 points a game and 8 rebs. Clearly, the Purple Eagles have some talent.

- Keith Connors

Friday, January 26, 2007

58-51 Stags; 4:25 in the 2nd

  • Tim Spitler nabs another bank shot. Fairfield 58-51.
  • Nero block/Allen steal gives the Stags the ball back again. Great defense inside - something we're not used to seeing this year consistently.
  • Herbie Allen gets fouled (Peter's ninth foul) and heads to the line. On the one-and-one attempt, Allen gets the first, but misses the second. Stags 58-49.
  • Marty O'Sullivan makes an athletic play to attempt a steal and keep it in bounds. The shot clock runs out and the Stags grab the ball.
  • Han draws the foul on a drive from up-top. Han misses the first, but nails the second to extend the lead to eight. Stags 57-Peacocks 49.
  • Awesome pass from Van Schaick to Nero leads to as open a shot/dunk as you can get. The Stags appears to be going on all cylinders at this point and are beginning to pull away. However, just as I type that, the Peacocks score quick. Stags 55-49
  • Orta drives the lane and draws the foul from Marty O'Sullivan on the ensuing possession. Orta hits one-of-two to make it 53-47 Stags.
  • Tom's thoughts on the new mascot: "He looks better with the shirt on. White stomach? A little freaky. But I guess deer have white stomachs.."
  • Casper on the new mascot: "I gave him a thumbs up, didn't I?" (True story: the mascot paraded around for a few seconds and then came right over to the three Mirror boys at the media table to get a review. Chris gave him a thumbs up on behalf off all of us. It was a Kodak moment)
- Keith Connors

53-46 Stags; 7:34 in the 2nd

  • After a Reeves miss, Shake drives in and kicks it out to Herbie, he knocks down the three. It rolled and played around a little, but finally went in. Great job by Van Schaick to draw the D. Stags 53-46.
  • Pudgy point guard (clever, ain't it?) Brandon Brockhits a lay-in jumper. Han comes back and hits a quick three. 50-46 Stags.
  • Nero gets the ball down-low and draws the foul. The Stags have given him more looks in this half than they have in the past four or five games. So far it's working. An excellent foul shooter, Nero hits both to make it a 47-44 Stag advantage.
  • Travelling called on St. Pete's after a rebound off of a Herbie Allen miss. It's staying this way.
  • Orta hits a pretty bank shot off of a pick-and-roll. Stags 45-44.
  • Van Schaick misses an NBA-length three off of a good screen.
  • Finally got to eat at the half. The pasta wasn't too shabby. Well worth the wait.
  • 30 minutes and 12 seconds into the game and Cooley's jacket is still secure. Good sign? Or ticking time bomb? Time will tell.
- Keith

45-42 Stags;10:48 in the 2nd

  • Han's defense leads to a sloppy pass and a turnover. Stag ball with a 45-42 lead.
  • Mamadou grabs an offensive board off of Shake's miss and puts it in. Fine job by Mamadou. He is beginning to gain notoriety now, but he's always been a great role player. He does the little things. Coach always told me in Rec League that the little things will win you games.
  • Spann nails a three to pull Peter's within one. 43-42 Stags.
  • More full court pressure from the Stags. It's about time...
- Keith

43-39 Stags;12:08 in the 2nd

  • Shake alert! Van Schaick hits a three in the corner off a skip pass and puts the Stags back in control. He has come out on first in the 2nd Half. Stags 43-39.
  • Raul Orta nails a three to pull the Peacocks within one.
  • Nero gets the bucket and the foul. Nice job by Greg. It looks like they want to get the ball inside more in the second hafl. Nero adds the free throw to gives the Stags a 40-36 lead.
  • Han fouls Sowell, who hits the bucket and the shot from the charity stripe. 37-36 Stags.
  • Nero gets his first point of the night on a great look from Van Schaick. Shake pump faked it then looked inside. 37-33 Stags.
  • Gotta love that FU promo. "Discover the treasure". I couldn't agree more. As for where the treasure is, Dan will blog on that sometime tomorrow.
- Keith

35-33 FU;14:00 in the 2nd

  • Tim Spitler gets a steal and takes it all the way to make it 35-33 FU.
  • Mamadou gets an inside look from fellow senior Van Schaick. The Stags are slowly figuring out that zone D. Mamadou has nine on the night and has shot better so far in the second half. Stags 35-31.
  • Another Shake three (now 2-of-3 in the 2nd). Here we go again. Early in the year Van Schaick waited till the half for his coming out party. It's deja vu all over again. 33-31 Stags.
  • Mamadou drraws the offensive foul. Nice D. The guy is a flat out intangibles player.
  • Van Schaick nails his first three of the game from a cross-court skip pass from Mamadou. The Stags could really could use some contributions from him.
  • Spann knocks down a three and the Peacocks are looking good. 31-27 Pete's
  • Reeves hits a shot again! Peter's takes a 28-27 lead. Moments later, Herbie Allen gets called for an offenive. You've gotta tip your cap to Peter's; they've come out strong thus far.
  • Reeves answers with a two. 27-25 Stags
  • Two offensive rebbound in a row leads to a Shake pump-and-drive. Shake really nees to get going after a lackluster first half (1-7, 0-5 from three-point range). Stags 27-23.
  • Finally some full court pressure! FU is making a shaky Peter's team dribble the ball. I think we'll see some turnovers in this half from them. They are not a talented ball-handling team.
  • Gooding puts the Peacocks on the board in the second half with a juper. 25-23 Stags.
  • Mamadou (2-for-8 in the 1st) gets a nice look inside and puts it in. He adds the freebie to put FU up 25-21.
  • Ben said it best: 33% in the first from the field and winning? Unreal... but at 4-5 in the MAAC we'll take it.
- Keith

19-18 Peter's; 3:26 in the 1st

  • Another three from Kinzey Reeves. This kid is impressive. 19-18 Cocks.
  • Marty gets a feed from the outside and puts it up strong. Stags lead 18-16.
  • Devin Johnson does some work down-low but is called for a questionable walk by the ref.
  • Offensive foul on Sowell. Marty is doing the little things early. 5 fouls for Peter's at the 5:!9 mark.
  • Herbie hits a leaning jumper to make it 16-16. Apparently these teams huddled out the timeout and decided to play offense again.
  • The 7-foot SF Reeves (Alaska's pride) nails a three. Impressive, Dirk-like play from him. 16-14
  • Brock takes it from the top of the key all the way in for a lay-in. Herbie wanted a foul but it was a clean play. 14-13 Stags.
  • Shake misses a three off the 'skip', but Marty (who fed the pass) goes in, does the dirty work, and tips it in for the basket. Great hustle play. 14-11 FU
  • Kevin Spann hits one-of-two from the line off the media timeout to bring the Peacocks within one. 12-11 Stags.
  • Tom points out the arena is all pretty for ESPNU's arrival tonight. We have a scrolling ads thingy on the side. Makeshift Pepsi covers for the seats. At least we're not selling out. I know I'm not. Did I mention this Sprite is fantastic?
  • The Dapper Cooley watch: blue tie. Classy.
  • The Stag Dance Team dances to "Sexy Back". Luckily for them, it never left.
- Keith

12-9 Stags; 7:36 n the 1st

  • A few misses back-and-forth finally lead to a MVP pull-up jumper off of a pump fake. As a Duke fan I love the J.J. Reddick moves. 12=9 Stags.
  • Great D by Marty a few moments later to keep the 'mo coming for FU. They seem like they've settled down.
  • Mamadou nearly comes up with a steal. Great defense.
  • Momadou is on the board! Stags 10-9
  • Brock hits an awkward shot off a pump fake that finds its way in.
  • Herbie gets inside the zone and lays it in. Great feed. Stags lead! 8-7 Stags
  • Herbie hits a three. The Stags seeem to know what they're doing on offense now. 1) Push the ball up court and 2) quick passes and look for the 'skip'. 7-6 Peter's
  • I'm so hungry right now. The fan bus got here last as hell and I didn't have time to eat. Tom and Chris said the chicken/pasta was great too.
- Keith

7-3 Peter's; 11:28 in the 1st

  • FINALLY! Jon Han nails a three off of great zone work by the Stags offense.
  • Hakim Gooding with a quick back door cut and lay-in makes it 7-0.
  • Peter's is using a 2-1-2 zone. FU has no answer right now, as Shake misses another three.
  • VS misses a three on a 'skip pass' from Mamadou. Moments later Nero misses a post up and Marty the put-back. Not bad shots.. but the drought hurts. When it rains it pours.
  • Mamdou checks in. My only question: What took so long?
  • A.J. "fouls" PG Brock and puts him to the line. Horrendous call - there was no contact at all and it was three feet from my seat. Brock hits both shots. 5-0 Peacocks
  • Marty misses both free throws. Ouch. 5 minutes+ in and still no points.
  • I have the rare pleasure of sitting next to women's beat writer Chris Simmons this evening. The women had a game prior to the men's tip-off. Lucky me..
  • Bigger crowd than last game- looks like its filling a little better. Still way too many empty seats.
- Keith

3-0 Peter's; 14:41 in the 1st

  • Marty pump fakes and drives, misses the shot but is fouled. He's heading to the line
  • No more boot for Cooley!
  • Good block/D recovery by Devin Johnson (extremely underrated defender) gets FU the ball, but Shake misses the pull-up.
  • Mikey misses a three. Still no Stags on the board.
  • Sowell hits one-of-two from the line to make it a 3-0 game at 16:20
  • Stags looked for Nero down low, but to no avail. He seems a little hesitant facing Peter's zone looks.
  • Not a great deal of scoring early - we're three minutes in and it's still 2-0.
  • We're seeing a little bit of the Peacocks zone defensive schemes. Coach Cooley called Tom they play a great variety of pressure zones.
  • Peter's takes the tip and gets out to a quick 2-nil lead.
- Keith

Hello from the Arena

Another big game for Fairfield as the Stags are looking for their fourth straight win. The flu bug is traveling through the team, but hopefully that does not hurt their chances tonight.

A few quick pre game notes:

  • Not a large student crowd, hopefully more will show up soon. The student section was empty for the women's game.
  • Jonathan Han `09 needs seven assists to get to 100 on the season.
  • Fairfield has forced 20 or more turnovers in four games this season, including two of the last three.
  • Michael Van Schaick `07 has moved into fourth place on the Stags single season three baskets made list. Van Schaick has 58 threes in 21 games and needs 23 more to break the season record, currently held by Greg Francis `97. Van Schaick is currently on the pace of 2.76 threes per game, which would net him 84 on the season and break the record of 80.
  • The Stags will try to win four straight for the first time since 2003-04.
  • Starting tonight for the Stags are: Jonathan Han, Devin Johnson, Michael Van Schaick, Greg Nero, and Anthony Johnson.
More as the game goes on from Keith.

-Tom Cleary

-Tom Cleary

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A preview of the Fairfield vs. Saint Peter's game

When the Stags take the court against Saint Peter's this Friday, look for another supercharged performance.

Last game against Iona was another nail-biter, but solid play and contributions from up and down the lineup sealed the win.

Fairfield knows it has a three-game winning streak on the line, so the squad will definitely be pumped and ready to go.

However, the Stags must channel their energy, make crisp passes, execute on offense, and minimize mental mistakes.

If Fairfield comes out of the gate strong and continues this way, it will be in great shape.

-Frank Romano

Men's practice update

I have a class during men's basketball practice today, so I am not able to go, but I met with Coach Cooley before practice for a preview of the St. Peter's game tomorrow night.

  • Cooley and the other coaches have been breaking down film of St. Peter's for the past 20 hours, "dissecting who they are and what they do." He thinks that the Stags will need to do a good job against their zone pressure and rebound the ball. They also must identify one of their better shooters, Raul Orta, and make sure that they defend him. Orta is a 36.4 percent shooter from three point range, 51-for-140, and averages about 7 threes a game. He is the team's leading scorer, averaging 14.6 points per game. Orta scored only two points in the Peacocks loss to Marist on Tuesday. Fairfield will look to keep his scoring down again.
  • Cooley again put emphasis on taking one game at a time, while staying focused on the little things, such as blocking out, gaining extra possessions through the hustle points and having a clear perspective of how to guard people. "The key to us every game is how well we defend. If we come out with a defensive mind set, we will have an opportunity to win," said Cooley.
  • While not focusing on the MAAC Tournament yet, Cooley did say that "anytime you feel you can get a bye, it puts you in a better chance for success, whether it be an extra day of rest, more time to prepare, it also helps move your program forward."
  • The team remains sick. Cooley said that four or five players are under the weather, as the flu is going around campus. He hopes that they will be feeling better tomorrow, but the team will be playing with "a bunch of sick guys tomorrow"
  • Danny Oglesby `07 is off suspension, but missed Tuesday's game with the flu. Oglesby practiced yesterday and will again today. Cooley said that "he is a guy we need to get back into action."
-Tom Cleary

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Three's Company

What a game at Harbor Yard.

There were three instances in the game in which the Stags looked like deer in the headlights and in trouble, especially the final in-bound in the waning seconds. Mamadou's shot was one of the highlights of the year - right up there with Han's three in the opener and Van Schaick's Sienna heroics.

Here's a few quick game thoughts from court side:
  • First off, I'll come out and say it: I'm shocked they won. The Stags were playing a winless team hungry for a W and facing a club they felt they should have beat the first time around. They were pushed to the limit against the Gaels twice and managed to dodge a silver bullet.
  • Iona is an underrated team that has lost it's fair share of games by a small margin, but it wasn't too long ago that Fairfield was that team. Only recently have the Stags developed an MO for pulling out the tight win. It's a great sign of progress.
  • Van Schaick's recent success is great; but I think it is his leadership and off-court presence that is more impressive. His confidence is beginning to spread throughout the entire team. It's no fluke that their winning streak is in the middle of his outstanding efforts.
  • With an upcoming game against a weak St. Peter's team and two games in a row at Harbor Yard, Cooley's crew has an outstanding opportunity to develop a win streak. Their confidence is at an all-time high after three dramatic wins, and they can stake a claim at a great position in the MAAC tourney if they can keep it going. Avoiding a play-in game would be ideal.
  • Greg Nero did not play a whole lot down the stretch - but did check back on several times on occasion. I don't think it was so much that Nero has struggled of late as much as it was Cooley's way of asking the seniors (three on the court in OT - Shake, Mamadou, O'Sullivan) to step up.
  • Despite no longer being suspended, Danny Ogelsby did not suit up today. It should be interesting to see how that plays out over the course of the week.
  • Iona coach Jeff Ruland was disheartened after the game. You can't help but feel bad for an 0-19 team that has lost three overtime games in a matter of a week. Still, Iona's always been a MAAC powerhouse; I'm sure they'll be back.

Tom will be back later to give a few thought and the quotes o' the night.

See you Friday.

- Keith

62-62 heading into Overtime

  • Momadou drains a 3! With a few ticks left and we're heading to overtime.
  • Here's how it went down:Van Schaick got the ball off of a screen from Marty at the top of the key. He was covered by Prodranovic but quickly got doubled and kicked it out to a wide open Diakhate. Great resiliency by the Stags.
  • The Gaels bench is standing in anticipation of their first possible victory- they can taste it.

- Keith

62-59 Gaels with :21.7 to go

  • A near Iona turnover again, the Gaels get an inside look for Alejo Rodriguez. No Fairfield player was even in the region.
  • Van Schaick gets hold on adrive after a botched play. They were trying to get a three-point look. Shake hits one of two (three misses in one game?)
  • Interesting to note during the timeout: Stags are going with three seniors (Shake, O'Sullivan, Momadou). Greg Nero is sitting. Looks like Coach Cooley wants the vets to step up.
- Keith

60-58 Gaels; 1:20 remaining

  • Timeout Stags.
  • Momadou and Bruin get tangled on the line, but no fouls handed out.
  • O'Sullivan fouls Devon Clarke and sends him to the line. Clarke hits both to make it 60-58
  • Han nails both after getting fouled on a drive. Looks like we've got ourselves a game, folks.
  • Shake whiffs on a three, which is a rare sight these days. Luckily Iona turned the ball over on an errant pass... again.
- Keith

58-56 Gaels; 2:51 remaining

30 second Timeout from Cooley after Rodriguez hits one-of-two. 58-56 Gaels.
A. Johnson just picked up his fourth foul on a questionable shot by Rodriguez.
A nice defensive stand started by a MVS steal leads to a fastbreak. Shake took it to the whole and was fouled. Shockingly, Shake missed both.
Peanut hits one of two from the line to even the game at 56-56.

56-55 Gaels @ 3:57
Van Schaick bobbles the pass and gives the ball back to Iona with 4 minutes on the clock.
On the other end, big man Anthony Bruin follows the Stags’ score with a quick drive and puts the Gaels back on top by one.
A.J. follows a Mamdou miss to give the Stags a 55-54 lead. Great effort under the glass.
Just like that – it’s down to one. The Gaels travel on offense and the Stags have some swagger and new life. 54-53 Gaels.
A “J.J. Redick-like” pump fake and three in a clutch spot by (you guessed it) Van Schaick keeps the Stags going. Turnover on the other end and here they come.
Han hits both freebies after a blocking foul (9 on the Gaels). If it wasn’t for the foul trouble the Stags might be in trouble, but at this point it’s aiding their comeback. Hey, they’ll take it.

54-48 Gaels at the timeout @ 7:33
Prodanovic hits an open three. The Gaels are not backing down. Let's see how the Stags can bounce back.
After a missed three-pointer from the Gaels, Fairfield gets another basket. Van Schaick got swat on his way in, but a fellow senior helps him out as Mamadou puts it in to make it 51-48 Gaels.
Make that 8 fouls - O'Sullivan goes to the line after falling/getting tripped off of a rebound on the defensive side of the ball. Marty hits both to help the Stags edge a little closer. 51-46 Stags.
Iona's already got 7 team fouls - Shake gets sent to the line and nails both to make it a seven point deficit.
After great D from Momadou, Van Schaick gets called on a soft foul on Clarke's put back. Clarke finishes the three-point play to make it 51-42 Iona @ 9:32.
Prodanovic puts in a fast break lay-in after a botched oop to Nero. Iona by 6.
46-42 Gaels; 11:57 in the 2nd (Unnecessary Media Timeout)
Breakway leads to a Clark dunk for Iona - followed by a carry on Van Schaick - followed by a travel on the Gaels. What a topsy turvy game.
Jon Han lands a breakway dunk on a Nero pass. Iona's turnovers continue to plague them. It's back to a one-point game @ 44-42 Gaels.

Mamadou gets a great look on a well-executed play down-low to make it a one-point game. The Gaels turn the ball over on the other end. Let's see if FU can capitalize.
Peanut's free throws put FU back on top 38-37, but the breakdown on D continues.

Fairfield has come out with a completee full court press - one that lead to a Rich Flemming steal and another to a Flemming block/fast break. We've seen bits and pieces of it in this game - looks like they're going with it for good. (Why don't they open the game with the full court press? They're certainly athletic enough and it's working thus far).
- Keith

A preview of the Fairfield vs. Iona game

This Tuesday, Fairfield must capitalize on its huge win against Siena and carry momentum into the game against Iona.

As the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait.” Well, the Stags have certainly been patient and now they are earning dividends from all their hard work.

Both veteran and new players aided the stellar play last Friday versus the Saints.

While the team still has a lot of inexperience, it has made tremendous strides in the last three games – all of which were wins.

Fairfield’s performance against a solid Siena squad was only the tip of the iceberg. Expect more good things to come.

-Frank Romano

Monday, January 22, 2007

Connors Corner: January 22

The Week Ahead for Fairfield Men's Basketball (Jan. 22 Edition)

After a compelling victory in Albany, the Stags head into the final week of January with a bit of confidence and (dare I say it) momentum. Fairfield has won two games in a row, including a stunning victory against Sienna spurred on by senior Mike Van Schaick. A Glen Falls native, Van Schaick played in front of family and friends and didn't disappoint, totaling 27 points.

The week ahead appears to be a potential success story, as Coach Cooley and the boys face two sub-par MAAC squads whom the Stags have already played once already.

At the onset of the week, Fairfield takes on Iona at Harbor Yard. Iona, winless in its first 17 games, should be considered an easy win. However, it was only a few days ago that Fairfield was inches a way of being the dubious first to let the Gaels win. Yikes.

Let's hope the Stags learned their lesson and come out as strong as they did in the waning minutes of their victory against the Saints last Friday night.

As if the season's first sustained win streak wasn't enough motivation, a local paper in New Rochelle predicted the Stags to be Iona's victory. Hopefully for the Stags, they'll use it as a little bulletin board material and prove them wrong.

In the latter part of a week brings a Friday night match-up with St. Peter's (Peacocks? Who knows.) What I do know is St. Peter's comes into the game sporting a lowly 3-15 record, with their only MAAC win coming from (you guessed it!) Iona.

The Mirror Sports Blog will have an in-depth preview and game capsule, not to mention live Glog (Game Log) coverage by yours truly.

Now over to Tom for some practices notes..

- Keith

Men's basketball finished up their final practice before tomorrow's Iona game. The team seemed relaxed and ready for the next game. Most of the team was still on the court following practice when I arrived.

  • Greg Nero `10 and Jonathan Han `09 were working on three point shooting, while Mamadou Diakhate `08, Anthony Johnson `10, and Roi Buchbinder `10 were all taking extra free throw practice. The other players were heading back to the court for more shooting as I left practice.
  • I talked with Mike Van Schaick about his final game at Siena and he seemed to be very happy with the victory and his performance. Coach Cooley was also very pleased with the emergance of Van Schaick as a leader, both on and off the court.
  • Coach Cooley feels that the Stags will need to do what they do, play strong defense and rebound, in order to stop Iona. The key player he will be looking to shut down is senior forward Anthony Bruin. Bruin, who is 6'7 and weighs 250 pounds, is a good inside scorer who will prove to be a difficult matchup for Nero, Johnson, and Marty O'Sullivan `07. Bruin scored 16 points for the Gaels, but that total could have been much higher. Bruin was put on the line 13 times, but only connected on 4 of those free throw attempts. He is only a 40 percent free throw shooter on the season. Bruin also had 8 rebounds for Iona, as he helped the Gaels to an even rebound margin.
  • Van Schaick said that the players feel pressure before every game and that this one will not be any different. He says that the players look at the Gaels not as a 0-18 team, but as a division one basketball team, that took them to overtime in their last matchup.
Check the Mirror website tomorrow morning for an in depth look into the Stags matchup with the Gaels and the blog for Frank Romano's game day capsule.

-Tom Cleary

Friday, January 19, 2007

Oglesby Active

Coach Cooley has announced that senior guard Danny Oglesby has finished serving his five game suspension and will be back in action with the Stags tonight.

More after the game.

-Tom Cleary

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A preview of the Fairfield vs. Siena game

This Friday, Fairfield must build off Sunday’s overtime victory and attack Siena early.

Despite the win, there were times when the Stags let the Gaels hang around too much, giving them unnecessary scoring opportunities.

A talented Siena team will make Fairfield pay if it opens these windows of opportunity.

Fairfield must go right at Siena, execute on offense, and minimize the opponent’s breathing room.

The offense has really come together in the last couple of games, with contributions coming from up and down the lineup. The defense has been strong for most of the season.

If the Stags can play two solid, mental mistake-free halves, they will be in contention.

-Frank Romano

Stags need to build off of Iona win

The Stags New Year did not start in a good way, with five straight losses, but after Sunday's win over Iona, the whole season depends on where they go now. Fairfield had many chances over that losing streak to win going down the stretch, but failed to pull away and in the end let the game slip away from them. But against Iona, the Stags were able to hold a lead in overtime and picked up a much needed victory.

Now the Stags head into what is a very important matchup for them. Siena is 5-2 in the MAAC and appears to be a tough matchup for Fairfield, but if the Stags can continue to play solid defense, while getting the contributions from their guards that they did on Sunday, they will have a chance to pick up another key win and start of a stretch of wins.

The Stags two games after Siena are against Iona, who is yet to win a game all season, and St. Peter's who is 1-6 in the MAAC. Both of those games should be wins for Fairfield, as long as they do not make careless mistakes. But the Stags have to be careful that they do not fall on their faces against Iona or St. Peter's, because a loss could be deadly to their team.

After their fifth straight loss, to Rider, the Stags players looked down and upset following the loss, which is not what you want to see from a basketball team. It is easy to lose confidence in yourself when the shots aren't falling and the games are being lost in the final seconds. While the players were still saying that they would bounce back and that they just needed to find the luck, it was easy to see that they were on the verge of losing all confidence in their ability to win.

What they needed was a victory and they received that against Iona, no matter what the Gaels records may say, this was still a win that Fairfield needed and could prove to be one of the most important all season, just because it ended the Stags losing streak.

Now Fairfield needs a second straight win, to build momentum going into the Iona and St. Peter's games. With a win over Siena the Stags will suddenly be on a winning streak, a small one but a streak nonetheless and will be able to move to the next game with confidence. Fairfield could then very easily see its record rise to 6-5 in the MAAC, with four straight victories.

The Stags have shown that they have the talent to win, but now they have to put it all together. They are playing on the "big" stage against Siena, as the game will be broadcasted on ESPNU. The Stags needsto combine the strong guard play they received on Sunday, the defensive and rebounding efforts they have had all year, and the inside presence that Greg Nero `10 and Anthony Johnson `10 have provided off and on.

With Herbie Allen and Jon Han `09 on the floor at the same time, Nero and Johnson's role will increase even more, as they will be needed for rebounding and to force double teams down low, that will allow Han, Allen, and Michael Van Schaick `07 to get open shots. Allen and Han have had up and down seasons, with more ups than downs, but now is their chance to prove they can provide consistent scoring.

Anyways, I think that the Stags will find it within themselves to win this game against Siena. I predict a Stags victory, 60-56.

-Tom Cleary

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A preview of the Fairfield vs. Iona game

This Sunday, Fairfield looks to end a five-game losing streak as it takes on 0-15 Iona.

If Fairfield can continue to provide the same kind of offensive distribution it did in its last game, it will be in good shape.

Against Rider, Van Schaick notched double figures as usual, but Nero and O’Sullivan each added 14.

Van Schaick and his sharp shooting can go only so far, and that’s why having Nero and O’Sullivan step up down low is important.

The big men help take some pressure off the guards, aiding the team overall.

As far as those mental mistakes in the last game, they’re history.

And as one of my favorite sayings goes: “The past is a springboard, not a hammock.”

Trust me, they'll get over it. Look for the Stags to bounce back, and do so with some authority.

-Frank Romano

Friday, January 12, 2007

Doody Calls: In the end, it was the same old story

By Ben Doody


This one hurts. It really, really hurts, because this time, unlike the other two MAAC games in which Fairfield blew a late second half lead, this time the lead was convincing.

And unlike those other games, in this one, the Stags had bounced back every time their opponent made a run.

In this one, the Stags had seven leads of seven or more points. In this one, they scored first, had a six-point lead at half time and had an 11 – yeah that’s right, 11! – point lead with 7:14 left.

In this one, after they let the Broncs climb back into the game with a 7-0 run to close the gap to 55-51 with 6:06 left, the Stags quickly scored the game’s next five points, taking a 60-51 lead with 4:53 left.

At that point, it was impossible not to think that this time, there would be a different outcome.

This time, everyone in the building was sure, there would be a happy outcome.

But in the end this one was just like all the others: the Stags out-played their opponent for 35 minutes and then crumbled down the stretch.

Bob Heussler, my partner tonight on the Stags’ radio broadcast, said it perfectly: down the stretch, this team doesn’t play to win – it plays not to lose.

And when you play not to lose, guess what happens.

You lose.

The Stags, as young teams often do, lost because they made a couple of bone-headed plays down the stretch.

None of them were more costly or more bone-headed than when Jonathan Han tried to run the baseline on an inbounds play after the ball had been knocked out of bounds – thus, when a basket had not just been scored and when players are not allowed to run the baseline – and turned it over.

“Play of the game,” Ed Cooley said after the game.

At that point, the Stags led 62-61 with 1:27 left in the game.

A basket would have given the Stags some breathing room, but instead, Han fouled Rider’s Terrance Mouton, who hit one out of two free throws to tie the game at 62.

On the ensuing play, Han got himself to the line, which was where the irony started.

On a night when the Stags made their first 11 free throws and finished a season-best 17-for-19, Han missed the first of two, giving the Stags a one point lead instead of a two point lead.

Next up on the irony menu: the Stags, who absolutely dominated the boards all day (they out-rebounded the Broncs 34-23), lost because they couldn’t get a rebound in the game’s final possession.

The Broncs missed on two clean looks at the basket, but both times, Jason Thompson – who, ironically, was held in check by the Stags most of the game but came up big at the end – grabbed a rebound.

Finally, Joel Green got to the free throw line and, with the announced crowd of 2,462 howling in his ears, he drained two free throws to put the Broncs up 64-63.

The Stags needed a miracle with 1.9 seconds left, but when Michael Van Schaick’s last-ditch heave from the half court line fell far short, the final buzzer sounded and the Stags had lost their fifth game in a row.

In the end, despite all the things they did right for 35 minutes, it was the same old disappointing story.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Fairfield vs. Rider Preview

This Friday, Faifield looks to end a four-game losing streak as it takes on Rider.

Mike Van Schaick '07 has carried the team offensively for the last five games, but luckily, some fellow Stags are showing signs of jumping on the scoring bandwagon.

Freshman Greg Nero has scored in double figures the last two games, and Herbie Allen '09 notched 13 against Niagara this Tuesday.

To win, Fairfield must continue to generate offense up and down the lineup. If its big men can contribute and stay out of foul trouble, Fairfield will be a contender.

Coming up short in several games earlier this month has got to be frustrating for both coaches and players alike, but the Stags can't stress out and try too hard. They've just got to relax and play their game for 40 solid minutes.

-Frank Romano