For a long portion of Monday's MAAC tournament men's championship game it appeared as if Fairfield's time might have arrived early.
Instead, after facing a 15-point first-half deficit, and a 13-point disadvantage three minutes into the second half, Siena rallied back, captured its third consecutive conference tournament championship and showed why, now, it is clearly a team for the ages.
The Saints held off the Stags, 72-65, needing overtime to do so, but did it in characteristic fashion, going to its experienced players for key play after key play throughout the second half and into overtime.
Senior forward Edwin Ubiles scored a game-high 27 pints, senior forward Alex Frankilin added 22 points and 12 rebounds and junior center Ryan Rossiter had 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Those three scored all 12 of the Saints' overtime points.
The victory sends Siena to the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive year, joining only the arguably best MAAC team of all-time, former conference member La Salle (1987-88, 1988-89 and 1989-90) to do so.
The Saints also became just the third conference team to play in the post-season event's championship game in four straight seasons, joining Manhattan teams of the mid-1990's and Iona teams of the early 1980's to do that.
Siena currently has 97 victories over the past four seasons, the second-best four-year total (La Salle's teams from 1986-87 through 1989-90 had 100) in the conference's 29-year history.
Still the Saints faced a daunting situation, trailing, 45-32 with under 18 minutes left to play.
And,m then, two minutes later it cut its deficit to 45-40, had the game tied at 53-53 with 7:45 remaining and, then, had to watch a last-second shot by Stags' freshman Colin Nickerson fail to fall at the end of regulation that would have won the contest for Fairfield.
Siena scored the first two baskets of overtime and, then, Fairfield never had a possession after that in which it could have tied the game.
"The thing we had going for us, when we faced that second-half deficit, is that we have tremendous experience and still had a lot of time," said Saints' coach Fran McCaffery. "The thing we didn't do was panic.
"We wanted to disrupt them and we did. When we were making our run the crowd got involved."
Crowd involvement from a highly partisan and loud assemblege of 10,679 seemed to have an effect on the outcome.
"The energy in the building helped turn the momentum," admitted Fairfield coach Ed Cooley. "Their team feeds off that. Did we get rattled? A little."
During Siena's second-half run of 21-8 that tied the score at 53 with 7:45 remaining, Fairfield committed nine turnovers against aggressive Siena pressure defense.
"I credit their team for creating some plays and causing some turnovers," said Cooley. "During that stretch ... they've got long guys. They're not the fastest team on their feet, but their length more than makes up for (a lack of ) speed."
"I'm going to tell you, I have been doing this for a long time and I have never had a group that loves one another, is so unselfish and has the ability to compete and remain composed against anyone and to win games.
"We've won 97 games in the past four years and didn't `buy' one of them. There's some talent here, but tonight what we saw was chemistry."
"We've got three seniors here who know what it takes to win a game like this," agreed Ubiles. "We've all been through it, and we know what it takes to win a game like this."