March 6 (UPI) — Fairfield University coach Sydney Johnson and Stags’ all-time leading scorer Tyler Nelson shared a very emotional hug during their final game together.
The tear-jerking moment occurred when Nelson was subbed out with 19.3 seconds to play Monday in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y. Iona won the game 83-71.
Nelson — a senior — hugged his teammates and jogged to the bench. Johnson was already starting to tear up while he clapped for the Stags’ scoring leader. When Nelson arrived, he became an utter mess of emotion. The coach gave Nelson a high-five before wrapping him up in a hug and crying on his shoulder.
Nelson scored a team-high 25 points in the loss. Iona junior Roland Griffin led all scorers with 29 points.
“I am incredibly proud of our guys and our program,” Johnson said after the game, according to the Stags’ website. “We expected to be a good team in this league this year. Our senior leadership is the reason we reached this game. And we have a lot of young guys who will build on what Tyler, Jerome [Segura], and Jared [Harper] started.”
Nelson led the conference with 22.1 points per game this season. He broke the school’s scoring record on Feb. 17.
“I’m just thankful to him,” Nelson told reporters after the game. “To have teammates like Jerome and it was emotional to come out of the game. We just came up just a little bit short. Like I said, I’m just really proud of this team.”
Fairfield has not made the NCAA tournament since 1997.