BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - Fairfield held Canisius to two field goals during the final 15 minutes of the game as the Golden Griffins lost 56-50 to the Stags at the Webster Bank Arena on Thursday night. Canisius falls to 9-15 overall and 6-7 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Senior Ashley Durham led all players with a game-high 17 points. Junior Jamie Ruttle had eight points and eight rebounds while sophomore Kayla Hoohuli had seven points. Canisius shot 41.4 percent in the first half, but shot 25.9 percent in the second half.
"We had some really good offensive flow for the first 25-30 minutes but then the ball got sticky because I think we just want to win one of these games so badly," Canisius coach Terry Zeh said. "I really liked our effort and felt we did what we wanted to defensively to win, but just didn't get enough baskets down the stretch to hold on for the road win.
Canisius scored the opening six points of the game and jumped out a 10-3 lead after a jumper from senior Allison Braun. The Griffs forced Fairfield to take its opening five shots from behind the arc, disrupting the Stags' offense. Fairfield would climb back into the game, eventually using a 9-2 run to tie the score at 25-25 after a layup from Brittany Obi-Tabot. The Stags took their first lead of the game at 31-29, but a layup from junior Jen Lennox on the Griffs' last possession of the half sent the teams into the locker room tied at 31-31.
The Griffs scored 10 of the first 12 points to start the second half, including a reverse layup from Hoohuli as well as a breakaway layup after the sophomore jumped the passing lane to put the Griffs up 41-33. After a basket from Durham extended the Griffs lead to double digits, the Stags held Canisius to seven points in the final 15-plus minutes of the game. Fairfield chipped away at the Canisius lead and the Griffs went up 47-44 with just over five minutes left after two free throws from Durham.
Fairfield then scored nine of the next 10 points, including five points from Obi-Tabot and two baskets from Christelle Akon-Akech. Fairfield went up 53-48 after a layup from Obi-Tabot, and the Griffs came back with a layup from freshman Tiahana Mills to make it a one-possession game. After Akon-Akech missed the front end of a one-and-one for the second consecutive trip, Canisius got a 3-pointer from the wing for Ruttle, but her shot hit off the side of the rim and the rebound went out of bounds. The Stags put the game away with three free throws in the final 15 seconds.
Akon-Akech and Obi-Tabot had 14 points apiece while Katie Cizynski had 13 points in 40 minutes. The Griffs held Fairfield to 3-of-18 from behind the arc, but the Stags countered with 38 points in the paint. Fairfield also shot 47.1 percent from the floor, the highest percentage of a Canisius conference opponent this season.
Canisius concludes its trip to the East Coast on Saturday, when the Golden Griffins play at Iona. Game time in New Rochelle is set for 2 p.m.
Notes: Fairfield has now won the last seven meetings between the teams overall... Canisius lost to the Stags in Webster Bank Arena for the first time in six meetings... Durham had 11 points in the first half, reaching double digits in the opening 20 minutes for the fourth time this season... All nine Golden Griffins who saw time played double-digit minutes... Ruttle is averaging 7.4 rebounds per game in the month of February... Canisius lost for the fourth time this season when leading with five minutes to go in the second half.