Powell nails game-winner; streak extended to eight
By Matthew LoPuzzo
On a night where the Broncs were displayed on a national level, they put on a show for the sold out Broncs Zoo, escaping victorious in a 58-57 nail-biter against the Fairfield Stags. Senior guard Allen Powell asserted himself as a certified deer hunter, hitting yet another go-ahead basket to extend the Broncs winning streak to eight games, the third longest active streak in the nation.
“Just having confidence in myself … I definitely felt like I wanted to ball in that moment and I made the shot,” Powell said of his second go-ahead shot against Fairfield this season.
Fairfield came in with a plan, that being to attack the Broncs defense, and it gave the Stags a quick 6-0 lead.
At 15:25, senior forward Mervin James got the Broncs on the board using his size to score at the rim. The senior forward finished the game with his second straight double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, adding another piece of evidence to his All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) campaign.
Later, Powell came out of a timeout with a rising jumpshot, and from there, drained his next three shots setting the Zoo on fire. His hot streak earned him 10 points by halftime.
Fairfield came into the game with a plan to be aggressive and the referees were letting both teams play hardball. Friction was created between both teams exchanging taunts back and forth.
“It was ESPNU, I thought we were too amped up at times,” Head Coach Kevin Baggett said.
Senior forward Ajiri Ogemuno-Johnson has been a spark for the Broncs and this game was no exception with eight points and 10 rebounds, cleaning up the boards in big spots for the Broncs.
“I’m just letting the game come to me,” said Ogemuno-Johnson.
With the score sitting at 47-47 with 5:30 remaining, senior guard Dwight Murray Jr. came in clutch, hitting a crossover on the defender before jacking another three.
Fairfield answered, but junior forward Nehemiah Benson cleaned the dirty dishes by grabbing the offensive rebound and finishing the layup with 4:39 to go.
Down one, Murray missed a jumper, but a flying Ogemuno-Johnson got the putback bucket to put the Broncs up by one with 1:50 remaining.
Down 57-56 with 21 seconds left, Murray missed the game-tying free throw, but Rider got the rebound and Powell would find himself with the ball with only 12 seconds remaining. James set a screen and Powell took it to his right where he pulled up and drained a fadeaway basket over a defender that proved to be the game-winner.
Powell finished the game with 18 points, keeping the Broncs at the top of the MAAC. The national audience got to see what the Broncs are all about, a team with a bunch of heart and a way to win.
Baggett and the Broncs look to extend their winning streak to nine at home on Feb. 17 against Canisius on ESPN+.