FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield Prep’s boys basketball team found out Tuesday night it still has a way to go to catch up with Hillhouse of New Haven.
The Academics, the No. 1-ranked team in latest state poll by the New Haven Register, held the Jesuits to 15 first-half points Tuesday en route to a 59-44 victory at Alumni Hall on the campus of Fairfield University. Hillhouse improved to 10-0 overall and 4-0 in the Southern Connecticut Conference. Prep, ranked third in the latest state poll, falls to 9-1 and 3-1.
Shane Christie scored 24 points for Hillhouse, while Raiquan Clark added 10. Ryan Murphy scored 14 to pace Prep.
Murphy’s 3-pointer with 5:05 left in the second quarter tied the game at 15-15. Hillhouse closed the half on a 9-0 run and continued to expand the lead in the third quarter. Hillhouse led 34-18 with 5:11 left in the third.
Prep trimmed the deficit to seven points twice in the fourth quarter, the last time at 44-37 after another basket by Murphy. Hillhouse scored the next seven points to take control for good.
Turnovers and poor shooting plagued Prep, which shot just 13-for-35 (37 percent) and was just 13-for-23 from the foul line. Prep also committed 14 turnovers.
Senior Tim Butala and 7-foot, 1-inch center Paschal Chukwu, two of Prep’s leading scorers, were nearly invisible offensively. Chukwu finished with four points, while Butala scored eight of his 10 points in the anti-climactic fourth quarter. Chukwu did have 16 rebounds and nine blocks. Junior guard Keith Pettway was also saddled with foul trouble, and scored just six points.
Prep gets back to the court Friday at home against Xavier.