On Monday night, one college basketball star and his coach gave the nation an illustration of why college basketball is so emotionally appealing to Americans, as they realized that they had shared their last game together.
Tyler Nelson, the star guard from Fairfield University, left the court late in Fairfield’s loss to Iona College in the MAAC championship game. The winner of the game would get an invitation to the NCAA tournament; with Fairfield’s regular season 17-16 record, the NCAA tournament was likely the last chance they had of extending their season.
Nelson, a senior who scored 25 points in the 83-71 loss, walked off the court and straight into the arms of his coach, Sydney Johnson, where they embraced as Johnson was overcome with tears.
Nelson led the MAAC with 22.1 points per game; he became Fairfield’s all-time leading scorer on February 17, superseding Tony George’s career total of 2,006 points set in 1986. He wound up his career one of the top ten players in scoring in the history of the MAAC.
The last time Fairfield went to the NCAA tournament was in 1997.
Highlights of Nelson's career below: