ALBANY, N.Y. - Fairfield coach Ed Cooley calls this the most grueling season he has ever been through as a coach.
For sure, it also has to be one of the most-rewarding.
The Stags, due to injury and attrition, finished the season without three players who started most of the team's games this year, and a fourth starter, junior forward Greg Nero, who has continued on despite back problems.
And, Cooley's team remains alive in the conference tournament, advancing to Sunday's semifinal round after a bruising 68-61 victory over Manhattan.
The winners got a team-high 18 points from senior Mike Evanovich, includling nine of those in the final 5:45.
Senior guard Herbie Allen added 17 points for the winners, while forward Yorel Hawkins added 12 and 11 rbounds and Nero chipped in with 11 points.
Darryl Crawford led Manhattan with 21 points, but the Jaspers only managed to shoot 36.5 percent (19-of-52) against a tenacious Fairfield defense.
The Stags shot 24-of-48 from the field (50 percent).