‘Historic’ Fairfield offense propels Stags to 92-82 victory over Bobcats


Cameron Levasseur

The Fairfield Stags scored a season-high 92 points against the Bobcats Thursday.

Ethan Hurwitz, Sports Editor

FAIRFIELD, Conn – Quinnipiac men’s basketball head coach Baker Dunleavy and the Bobcats were unable to continue their torment against the Fairfield Stags, imploding in the second half to lose 92-82 Thursday night.

The first half was as evenly matched as could be. At the under-12 media timeout, both sides had 20 points and were trading baskets at will. The Bobcats got out to an early lead, thanks to big baskets from junior guard Dezi Jones and redshirt senior guard Matt Balanc, but a trio of threes from Stags’ graduate student guard Caleb Fields kept the hosts in it. 

“Really proud of the guys, we had a historic offensive night for us,” Fairfield head coach Jay Young said. “Great way to send our seniors off and a great way to end this season in this beautiful building.”

With under nine to play in the first, Quinnipiac began to falter. The team started to miss baskets and passes, allowing the Stags to capitalize on the other end. Two long-range buckets fell for Fairfield, highlighted by yet another three from Fields to give the Stags a four-point lead.

To combat Fairfield’s three-point shooting, Dunleavy consistently switched his schemes – sometimes running a 3-2 zone, sometimes man-to-man – allowing for a much more suffocating style of defense.

After a crafty hesitation move by Fields, which left Jones frozen in place, the Stags began to apply the offensive pressure. They closed the first half by holding Quinnipiac scoreless in the final 80 seconds and went into the locker room nursing a 38-32 lead.

“You want to be in a good frame of mind getting on that bus headed to Atlantic City,” Young said. “These guys deserve it.”

Kicking off the second half, the Bobcats were led by Luis Kortright. The junior guard took control of the offense, scoring 13 second-half points en route to 17 on the night. Tack on four rebounds and five assists, and it was another great performance by Kortright.

It was an even better outing for graduate student guard Tyrese Williams, who led both teams with 18 points, tying his season-high. Coming off the bench, the Beacon, New York, native kept the Bobcats within striking distance often.

“Tyrese did a good job,” Dunleavy said. “We got weapons, we got talented players.”

Fairfield got the majority of its production from the duo of Fields and junior forward Supreme Cook. While the former had 21 points, the latter was a force to be reckoned with in the paint (a career-high 26 points, 12-for-15 from the field).

“I think my teammates set me to be in a great position to let me score and I owe them that,” Cook said. “When my guards are hitting shots, it opens up the floor for me … as long they are hitting shots, I think I’ll be able to do my thing.”

Coming down to the wire, the Stags got big baskets by Cook and junior guard Jalen Leach to consistently keep the score even. With under six to play, a long three from Fields gave Fairfield its first lead in almost five minutes.

Out of the final media timeout, the Bobcats’ late game struggles struck again. They went through multiple scoreless droughts, including three missed free throws, to give the Stags a convincing nine-point lead.

“I thought we were really good in the first half,” Dunleavy said. “I think we have these little periods in games where the floor falls out from under us.”

After two minutes of keep away, punctuated by a 14-3 Stags run, the final horn sounded and the Bobcats dropped their 11th game of the season, ninth in the MAAC.

Yet another late meltdown by Quinnipiac has it still fighting for a first-round bye ahead of Monday’s conference tournament. With both Manhattan and Rider picking up a win Thursday, the Bobcats are trending in the wrong direction at the most critical time. 

“We’re a team that’s won six games in a row this year,” Dunleavy said. “We have been streaky and we have to be streaky at the right time.”

Quinnipiac will close out its regular season against the Marist Red Foxes Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m., as the Bobcats seek their 20th victory of the year, which would be the most since the 2013-14 season.