Springfield, MA (Sports Network) - Derek Needham tallied a game-high 24 points as the Fairfield Stags defeated the Saint Peter's Peacocks, 54-47, during the first round of the 32nd annual Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament at MassMutual Center.
Needham, the only player to score in double figures for seventh-seeded Fairfield (18-14), shot 8-of-21 from the floor as the rest of the team combined to make 11-of-28 on the night. Amadou Sidibe checked in with a game- high 13 rebounds for the Stags.
The 10th-seeded Peacocks (9-21) were led by Desi Washington who dropped in 13 points as he connected on all three of his 3-point attempts, but it wasn't enough to keep Saint Peter's from suffering the loss.
The Peacocks did manage to make good on an impressive 52.4 percent from the floor in the first half, yet the team was still behind at the break by a point, 27-26. Fairfield made a total of just 10 field goals through the first 20 minutes of action.
In the second half both programs knocked down nine field goals, which meant the most significant difference took place at the free-throw line where the Stags outscored Saint Peter's, 7-2.
In addition to holding a 12-4 scoring edge at the charity stripe, the Stags also posted a 39-23 rebounding advantage in order to offset their 4-of-16 shooting performance beyond the arc.
With the victory the Stags will be back in action on Saturday versus second- seeded Rider in the quarterfinals.