Curtis Cobb equaled MAAC single-game scoring record with 46 points as Fairfield ran past Manhattan in 97-79 victory that also included ejection of Steve Masiello in second half. (Photo by Vincent Simone/NYC Buckets)
RIVERDALE, NY -- Winners of two of their first three Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference contests, Fairfield came into Thursday's game against Manhattan led by the MAAC's leading scorer in junior Tyler Nelson, as well as a host of other options to bolster their uptempo attack.
As it turned out, it was one of those ancillary sources of production who took center stage in the opening minutes, never looking back from there.
Sophomore Curtis Cobb, an All-Rookie selection last season and the second-leading scorer behind Nelson, gave Fairfield the lead just 87 seconds into the game with his first of nine three-pointers, blazing a trail to a single-game MAAC record-tying 46-point tour de force as the Stags imposed their will at Draddy Gymnasium, manhandling Manhattan by the final of 97-79.
"It was pretty much my teammates," an unselfish Cobb said, praising the efforts to find him on offense. "I was just getting to the open spots. They were driving, kicking it out to me and kept finding me. When I caught it in the high post, they were backing off, so I just kept on shooting."
Cobb had nearly outscored Manhattan on his own in the first half, going to the intermission with 31 points as the Stags (8-5, 3-1 MAAC) built a 54-33 lead by shooting 62 percent (18-for-29) from the floor against a Jasper team whose deficit was attributed not to playing inefficiently, but rather by Cobb getting on a roll and torching the net for the visitors.
Manhattan (5-10, 0-4 MAAC) chipped away in the second half, drawing as close as nine points in an inspired rally following head coach Steve Masiello's ejection with 14:57 remaining in regulation, but would get no closer as a 12-2 Fairfield run in the final minutes put the game out of reach.
Cobb's 46 points equaled the MAAC record for most points in a single game, a mark most recently matched by A.J. English last season. Coincidentally, English's milestone moment came against Fairfield at the Hynes Athletics Center on December 1, 2015, and Cobb was fortunate to be on the positive side of events this time around.
"Watching it last year on his side, it felt terrible," he said of being on the short end of the stick against the eventual conference champion Gaels. "Being on the other side of it, it feels great."
Nelson, who ended up scoring 16 points, led the Stags with seven assists, playing the role of facilitator in the first half as Fairfield rode Cobb's hot hand. In addition, Jonathan Kasibabu came within a rebound of a double-double, posting 13 points and nine boards. Zane Waterman's 26 points led four Manhattan players in double figures in a losing effort.
Now tied for a share of the MAAC lead at 3-1 in conference play, Fairfield returns home to take on Canisius Tuesday night in Bridgeport. Manhattan's next game is also in Connecticut, as the Jaspers meet Quinnipiac Saturday afternoon before opening a three-game homestand Tuesday against Niagara.