FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) — Jesus Cruz scored 24 points and Landon Taliaferro added 19 and Fairfield beat Iona 80-68 on Sunday to end its four-game losing streak.
Fairfield (6-15, 3-6 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) won for the third time in its last nine contests whereas Iona (7-12, 5-3) started the day in a second-place tie with Canisius having won five of seven.
Cruz and Taliaferro each scored five points in the first three minutes as the Stages built a 10-0 lead. They extended the lead to 26-7 over the next 6½ minutes and the Gaels never recovered from their slow start. Fairfield led 42-25 at halftime shooting 16 of 34 (47 percent) from the field including four 3-pointers.
E.J. Crawford made a pair of free throws with 3:06 to play to get Iona within 73-64 before Cruz and Taliaferro each made a pair of foul shots and Fairfield led by double digits the rest of the way.
Crawford scored a career-high 28 points for Iona. He set his previous career high of 26 on Jan. 29, 2018 in a 103-100 overtime road loss to the Stags.