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Final: Fairfield 74, Canisius 71

Canisius College couldn’t quite match the offensive efficiency of Fairfield University and dropped a 74-71 decision to the Stags Thursday night at the Koessler Athletic Center.

The win was the fourth straight and seventh in the last nine games for the Stags. Canisius lost its third straight and its seventh in the last eight games.

The game was close all the way. Canisius sophomore Kassius Robertson missed a 10-foot jumper with 7.6 seconds to go that would have tied it at 71.

Fairfield’s outside shooting was the slight difference. The Stags made 10 of 24 three-point shots.

Canisius got 15 points from senior guard Malcolm McMillan and 14 from senior center Kevin Bleeker. Fairfield got 22 from sophomore guard Tyler Nelson and 17 from senior forward Marcus Gilbert.

Records: The Griffs fell to 11-17 overall and 6-11 in conference. Canisius stands eighth in the 11-team MAAC. Fairfield improved to 16-11 and 10-7. The Stags stand fifth.

Benched: Baron pulled starters McMillan and Kiefer Douse from the starting lineup due to violation of team rules. Chris Atkinson and Jamal Reynolds started in their place. McMillan entered 6:30 into the game, Douse 10 minutes in. . . . Fairfield’s fourth-leading scorer, freshman Jerry Johnson, was not with the Stags due to the death of his father.

Youth: Fairfield won just seven games each of the past two seasons and tied with Niagara for last in the MAAC last season. Things are looking up for the Stags. Six of the top seven players on the team are freshmen or sophomores. The Stags’ top recruit, Curtis Cobb of Massachusetts, is having a strong freshman season, averaging 10.6 ppg.

Return visit: Former Canisius coach Tom Parrotta is in his second season as a Fairfield assistant. Parrotta went 64-121 in six seasons at Canisius from 2006 to 2012. He was an aide for three years at Fordham after losing the Canisius job. Mitch Buonaguro, formerly a head coach at Siena and Fairfield, also is an aide for the Stags.

Up next: Last-place Marist visits Canisius at 3 p.m. Saturday. The Griffs host Niagara at 8 p.m. Thursday.

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