SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Derek Needham scored 24 points and Fairfield allowed Saint Peter's only three points in the final 11 1/2 minutes of its 54-47 victory Friday night in the first round of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament.
Seventh-seeded Fairfield (18-14), which snapped a three-game skid, meets No. 2 seed Rider Saturday.Each team had long scoring droughts. Leading 21-11, the Stags didn't make another basket for 7 minutes. After the 10th-seeded Peacocks pulled ahead 26-24, Needham's 3-pointer gave Fairfield a 27-26 halftime advantage.Saint Peter's built a seven-point cushion, at 44-37 with 11:39 left, then couldn't score again until Chris Burke's jumper with 5:46 to go. Needham tied it with 4:55 showing before both teams went cold.Amadou Sibide broke the stalemate with 1:49 left, hitting two free throws. He added a layup with 52 seconds remaining to help the Stags pull away.Desi Washington's 13 points led the Peacocks (9-21).