ALBANY, N.Y. -- Freshman Derek Needham scored 17 points, including the go-ahead basket, as second-seeded Fairfield held off sixth-seeded Niagara 69-63 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament semifinals Sunday night.
Conference defensive player of the year Anthony Johnson had 21 points, eight rebounds and three blocks for the Stags (22-9), who face host and top seed Siena in Monday's final. Siena has won two straight MAAC championships.
Tyrone Lewis had 20 points before fouling out for the Purple Eagles (18-15), who were held without a field goal for a crucial 8-minute stretch late in the second half. Anthony Nelson added 12 points and 10 rebounds for Niagara, which also lost 80-74 to Fairfield a week ago to close the regular season.
Fairfield trailed 58-51 with 7:16 left, but used a 13-1 run, including Needham's one-handed layup at 3:29, to lead for good.