Springfield, MA – Erik Etherly scored 10 points and pulled Maryland to its first MAAC title since 44 at MassMutual Center in Monday's MAAC title game.
Justin Drummond added eight points off the bench, while Robert Olson and Anthony Winbush netted seven and six, respectively, to send the second-seeded Greyhounds (24-8) to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 18 years.
Rakim Sanders scored a game-high 12 points to go with seven rebounds for Fairfield (19-14). Ryan Olander netted 11 points and Maurice Barrow added 10 points and 13 boards for the fourth-seeded Stags, who settled for runner-up for the second time in three years.
Desmond Wade picked a great time to score his first bucket, as his three- pointer from the top of the key with the shot clock winding down brought Fairfield within three, 47-44, with 2:42 left in the game.
Neither team would score over the next two minutes as Fairfield held possession with 30 seconds remaining.
Olander was off the mark with his triple, but Dylon Cormier missed the front- end of a one-and-one on the other end to keep the Stags alive.
Fairfield inbounded the ball with 7.9 seconds left, but Rakim Sanders' three- point try from the top of the key missed. Shane Walker went 1-of-2 from the line with 2.8 ticks remaining to make it a two-possession game and clinch the MAAC title for the Greyhounds.
A rough start to the second half found the Stags trailing, 37-31, with just under 12 minutes to play as Fairfield didn't get its first point until a free throw at the 12:12 mark of the half.
In the early going, Loyola-Maryland buried three three-pointers and added a free throw in a 10-2 run that gave the Greyhounds a 16-9 edge just before the midway point of the first half.
However, Fairfield would go 11-of-14 from the charity stripe in the first half to take a slight 30-26 edge into the locker room.
This was the 31st installment of the annual MAAC Tournament...Fairfield dropped to 23-29 all-time in the tourney, while the Greyhounds improved to 8-21...The all-time series now stands at 36-17 in favor of Fairfield.