Fairfield 57, Niagara 49
How Fairfield Won: Fifteen offensive rebounds will make a huge difference in a close game. Yorel Hawkins and 7-footer Ryan Olander had five apiece for Stags. Outside of the rebounding disparity the team's were almost identical statistically: FGA: 53-52 Fairfield. FGM: 18 each. Turnovers: 16-15 Fairfield. Steals: 9 apiece.
Turning Point: Derek Needham's three from the left wing salvaged an otherwise lackluster game from the standout guard and gave Fairfield a 48-42 lead with 3:18 left.
Player of the Game: Fairfield freshman Maurice Barrow had some awkward moments early and was blocked twice by Erik Williams. But he finished with 14 points -- 8.4 over his average -- along with nine boards. The six turnovers serve as a reminder that he's a rookie, but that's a pretty big effort on the road on a day when the Stags were thrown off kilter by Niagara's zone.
Stat of the Game: The teams combined to go 4 for 28 from behind the arc. Niagara was 3 of 16, validating its status as one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the land. Not that Fairfield's far behind.
Stat of the Game II: Fairfield has won four straight over Niagara for the first time in a series that dates to 1965-66 and covers 69 games.
They Said It: The sounds of silence. Niagara's Anthony Nelson and Marvin Jordan were requested in the interview room. Neither joined coach Joe Mihalich.
In the House: A scant 1,327 showed up at the Taps. Presumably the rest of Niagara Falls was watching James Starks help the Packers to the Super Bowl.
What it Means: Fairfield takes over sole possession of the MAAC lead at 8-1, while Niagara falls to 1-8.
Next Up: The Purple Eagles hope to have their top inside player, Kashief Edwards, back for Friday's nationally televised game against Canisius at the Koessler Athletic Center.
-- Bob DiCesare