It wasn't the outcome they were hoping for, but the Red Flash Men's Basketball team gave it their all in a jam-packed DeGol Arena Tuesday, as they fell 85-76 to Fairleigh Dickinson in the NEC Championship game.
The game was broadcast on ESPN 2, and a max-capacity crowd of 2,610 fans packed the Stokes Athletic Center in an electrifying "white out" showing to support their home team. It was SFU's first home championship game since 1990-91.
Saint Francis opened the game on an 11-2 run before the Knights responded with a 16-2 run to take an 18-13 lead. The Red Flash trailed 40-31 at the half but cut the deficit to 55-52 on a layup by senior Keith Braxton with 11:09 remaining. Fairleigh Dickinson held its poise once again, responding with a 10-0 run to take a 13-point lead and held off the Red Flash down the stretch.
"This group has done a lot of things, collectively, individually, that no team has ever done at Saint Francis," Head Coach Rob Krimmel reflected after the game. He went on to thank the Athletics staff and addressed the Red Flash fans. "I couldn’t be more proud of this coaching staff, this group to represent Saint Francis in a first class manner. Lastly for the community, for the students, for the fans, for the administration...unbelievable atmosphere. This is the moment that I committed for. To borrow from Jamaal, to look up in the stands and see the fans. Thank you. Thanks to Susan, Jim, Erika and the rest of the support staff. Again, thank you to the Northeast Conference. The sun will come up tomorrow."
The Red Flash men will learn their first round NIT tournament opponent at the end of the week and continue their season later in the month.