Sydney Johnson, Jamel Fields

Fairfield, Webster Bank Arena sign five-year deal through 2016-17

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On Thursday it was announced that Fairfield University and Webster Bank Arena came to terms on a deal that means the Stags will continue playing their home games there until the end of the 2016-17 season.

Fairfield, who prior to moving into the Bridgeport arena in 2001 played all of their home games on campus at Alumni Hall, holds an overall record of 83-53 while going 29-8 at home over the last three seasons.

Remaining in Webster Bank Arena will help Sydney Johnson and his staff as they look to get the Stags back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1997.

“If you look at what’s been accomplished, specifically over the last couple of years, it shows how the foundation was built very solidly by moving the program ahead,” athletic director Gene Doris said.

“But we wouldn’t have been able to move the program ahead if Tim O’Toole didn’t take the risk to come here. And while Tim might not have benefited from the move, (the program’s) continued to move along, and we’re in a position now where we can be (a) Siena in our league.

“And I don’t know if we’d be able to do that without the partnership of this building.”

Fairfield loses Ryan Olander and Rakim Sanders from a team that reached the MAAC tournament final but they should once again contend in the MAAC due to their perimeter firepower.

Derek Needham, Colin Nickerson and Desmond Wade will all be seniors, and forward Maurice Barrow could be ready to emerge as one of the MAAC’s best players inside.

Having an attractive home to sell to recruits will only help Johnson and his staff as they look to bring Fairfield a championship.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Thanksgiving Day Edition!

Kevin Ollie
(AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Syracuse vs. No. 18 UConn, 3:30 p.m.

For the first time since the Orange departed the Big East, the two former rivals will square off. Today’s battle will take place at the Battle 4 Atlantis, as the Orange knocked off Charlotte yesterday and the Huskies dispatched Michigan. To get ready for this battle, I’d suggest ready through the conversation @NoEscalators had with himself last night.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 25 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Gonzaga, 1:00 p.m.

The other semifinal in the Battle 4 Atlantis could end up being just as good, as the Aggies — who might be the second best team in the SEC — square off with a Gonzaga team that has one of the best front lines in the country. This will be a good test to figure out just how good both of these teams are.


1. No. 20 Wichita State vs. USC, 2:00 p.m.: The Shockers will be without Fred VanVleet for this event. It will also be a chance for us to gauge just how good this 4-0 USC team is.

2. No. 23 Xavier vs. Alabama, 12:00 p.m: The Musketeers should have no problems dispatching Alabama.

3. No. 8 Villanova vs. Stanford, 4:30 p.m.: The Wildcats are, once again, as good as any team in the country. Josh Hart might be the nation’s most underrated star.

4. No. 14 Cal vs. San Diego State, 12:00 a.m.: Tyrone Wallace and company have been awesome this season. They get their first real test of the season tonight.

5. Providence vs. Evansville, 7:00 p.m.: Evansville is one of the nation’s best mid-majors, good enough to give the likes of Wichita State and Northern Iowa a fight in the Missouri Valley. And Providence? They got a kid named Kris Dunn. Heard of him?


  • No. 3 Michigan State vs. Boston College, 6:30 p.m.
  • No. 11 Arizona vs. Santa Clara, 11:30 p.m.
  • No. 17 Notre Dame vs. Monmouth, 6:30 p.m.

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley

No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”: