Fairfield wins MAAC, back in NCAA Tournament after 21 years

Lou Lopez-Senechal scored 24 points and Fairfield won the Metro Atlantic Championship, beating Manhattan 73-68 on Saturday despite 35 points from Dee Dee Davis of the Jaspers.

Fairfield trailed for most of the first three quarters, built an 11-point lead in the fourth, then held off a sizzling performance from Davis, who made eight 3-pointers.

Trailing by 11 points with three minutes remaining, Davis made a tear, scoring four 3-pointers and scoring Manhattan’s final 17 points. His four-point play with nine seconds remaining drew the Jaspers to 71-68. Sam Lewis sealed the victory for Fairfield, making two free throws with five seconds remaining.

Sydney Lowery added 18 points and seven rebounds for the Stags. Callie Cavanaugh had nine points and seven rebounds.

Courtney Warley had 12 points and 13 rebounds for Manhattan.

Fairfield’s biggest lead heading into the fourth quarter was 2-0, but the Stags opened the fourth quarter with a 15-4 run. The Stags hit three 3-pointers in that streak — two by Lowery and one by Lopez-Senechal — and Fairfield led 62-51 going into Manhattan’s final rally.

Lopez-Senechal scored five points early in the third quarter, his 3-pointer tying the score at 33 with 7:45 remaining in the period. There would be four lead changes in the third and four draws, the last when Fairfield’s Cavanaugh hit a jumper to send him to fourth at 47-all. Lopez-Sénéchal scored 12 points in the quarter.

Top-seeded Fairfield shot just 25 percent in the first quarter and trailed 17-8. The Stags rebounded and hit four 3-pointers in the second quarter, but still trailed 31-26 at halftime. Davis led third-seeded Manhattan (21-11) with 15 first-half points, including 3 of 4 from 3-pointers.

Fairfield went through the conference season with a 19-1 record and is 25-6 heading into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since receiving a general offer in 2001.

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