GAME NOTES: Already locked into the eighth seed for the upcoming Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament, the Marist Red Foxes turn their attention to the Fairfield Stags on Sunday as the two teams close out the regular season at McCann Arena.
On Friday night, the Red Foxes clashed with Siena and barely survived in a 76-74 final. The win was the second in a row for the squad and moved them to 5-12 in league play.
As for the Stags, who can finish in either sixth or seventh place in the standings depending on what happens with Manhattan versus Loyola-Maryland on Sunday, they were involved in the lowest-scoring game in MAAC history two nights ago when they fell to Manhattan, 34-31. The 65 combined points were the second-fewest in NCAA Division I play since the 3-point line was instituted in 1986.
Fairfield won the first meeting of the season by a score of 71-37 at home back on Jan. 24 which means the all-time series now favors the Stags by a count of 28-20.
With just 31 total points through 40 minutes, it should come as no surprise that the Stags didn't have a single player in double figures, although Marcus Gilbert did finish with nine points as he converted 3-of-7 behind the 3-point line. The team shot a dismal 26.7 percent from the floor and made it to the free-throw line for a mere two attempts. Defensively, Fairfield held the hosts to 25.5 percent shooting from the field.
Derek Needham, who like everyone else was held in check on Friday night, leads the Stags in scoring through 30 games with his 14.5 ppg, having knocked down 69-of-201 (.343) beyond the arc. Needham is also tied for the lead in assists with 97 and that has helped the group to produce 61.7 ppg which, while not overwhelming, is still better than the 59.2 ppg being posted by the competition.
Marist trailed by as many as seven points in the first half against the Saints a couple nights ago, but the team responded by shooting 53.8 percent from the floor in the second half in order to pull ahead and hold on for the two-point win. Adam Kemp put together a huge double-double with 24 points and 14 rebounds, adding five blocked shots for good measure, while Devin Price pitched in with 18 points on 4-of-6 shooting behind the 3-point line off the bench. Chavaughn Lewis and Jay Bowie added 17 and 10 points, respectively.
Playing close to 35 minutes per game, it only makes sense that Lewis is the leading scorer for Marist with his 16.2 ppg. Although he has missed a handful of games and was used as a reserve the last time out, Price is second on the unit with 14.4 ppg, followed by Kemp who teams his 10.2 ppg with 8.6 rpg and 61 of the squad's 119 blocked shots thus far.
Fairfield still has something to play for in this game, unlike the Red Foxes, but after the team's display on Friday there might not be enough points left in the tank to get them over the hump.