FACTS & STATS: Site: John Paul Jones Arena (14,593) -- Charlottesville, Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: Fairfield 0-0, Virginia 0-0. Away Record: Fairfield 0-0, Virginia 0-1. Neutral Record: Fairfield 1-0, Virginia 0-0. Conference Record: Fairfield 0-0, Virginia 0-0. Series Record: Virginia leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: Regional action of the 2012 edition of the NIT Season Tip-Off takes place at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville on Monday night, with host Virginia taking on the Fairfield Stags in non-conference action.
Virginia, which was 13-3 at home in the building last season and is now 71-31 all-time at JPJ Arena, was on the road for its season opener against George Mason on Friday night and the squad ended up dropping a 63-59 final versus the Patriots.
As for the Stags, their campaign began on a positive note on Saturday as they took down in-state rival Central Connecticut State in overtime, 64-63, as part of the Connecticut 6 Classic at the University of Hartford.
The Cavaliers won both previous meetings between these two programs, the most recent of those coming more than two decades ago with Virginia posting an 84-52 victory at home.
The winner of this game will match up against the winner of the Penn/Delaware meeting in the next round of the tourney on Tuesday evening.
Keith Matthews was the man of the hour for the Stags over the weekend as he not only scored 15 points, but also knocked down what turned into the game- winning free throws with just two seconds to play in overtime of the one-point victory over CCSU. Matthews played 38 minutes as he shot 6-of-14 from the floor and pulled down seven rebounds as Fairfield defeated the opposition on the glass, 42-29. Derek Needham accounted for 18 points and eight boards, but he was also charged with seven of the unit's 19 turnovers. Josip Mikulic chipped in 12 points and eight boards, although his 2-of-7 shooting behind the three-point line was disappointing, while Colin Nickerson tacked on 10 points and four assists off the bench.
Virginia shot just 33.3 percent from the field in the first half, including 1- of-9 behind the three-point line, so the squad was lucky to be behind by only three points at the break. However, that slow start proved to be what held the Cavaliers back from working their way into the win column against George Mason on the road. Joe Harris was responsible for a game-high 19 points and pulled down eight rebounds which was also a game high for the Virginia guard. Akil Mitchell accounted for 11 points and seven rebounds which helped the Cavs to post a 32-26 edge on the glass. Virginia also held the Patriots to only three offensive rebounds and watched the hosts make a mere 8-of-19 at the free-throw line, yet somehow the Cavs played themselves out of contention.
The fact that the Stags had to go to overtime to take down CCSU should be an indication that Fairfield is not a top-notch program at the moment. Hopefully the Cavaliers don't start believing that though, because Virginia isn't exactly the toast of the ACC either.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia 64, Fairfield 55
11/12 10:36:03 ET
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