Quinnipiac (15-8) at Fairfield (5-20)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 13, 8:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Webster Bank Arena (10,000) -- Bridgeport, Connecticut. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: QU 9-2, FU 4-7. Away Record: QU 5-6, FU 1-11. Neutral Record: QU 1-0, FU 0-2. Conference Record: QU 10-4, FU 2-12. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: Two teams on opposite ends of the standings meet in Bridgeport on Thursday night, as the Quinnipiac Bobcats take on the Fairfield Stags in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action at Webster Bank Arena.
Tied for second place in the MAAC, Quinnipiac has won three straight and four of its last five overall. The Bobcats last played on Monday night, downing Marist at home, 83-78.
Meanwhile, the last-place Stags were not as fortunate on Monday, as they fell to Siena, 60-56. That was Fairfield's sixth loss in its last seven tilts.
This will be only the third meeting all-time between these two programs. Quinnipiac won earlier this season, taking a 83-79 decision in Hamden on Dec. 6.
Umar Shannon scored a game-high 26 points, leading four starters in double figures, as the Bobcats beat Marist earlier in the week. Ousmane Drame registered a double-double consisting of 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Ike Azotam and Zaid Hearst pitched in with 15 points apiece, the latter adding nine rebounds as well. With the scored knotted at 40-40 at intermission, the Bobcats pulled away in the second half.
Quinnipiac is a stellar offensive team, averaging 79.2 ppg, good for second in the MAAC, with four players netting double figures. Perhaps more importantly, the team has been an absolute terror on the glass this season and continues to own one of the best rebounding margins (plus-12.0 rpg) in the country thanks to the MAAC�s top two glass cleaners, Azotam and Drame, who produce 11.0 and 9.9 rpg, respectively, putting them both in the top-20 in the nation. Throw in another 7.5 rpg for Hearst and there are very few teams in the nation that can compete with the Bobcats in that area as they are pulling down an NCAA-best 46.3 rpg. As far as scoring is concerned, Azotam is the top cat there as well with 16.7 ppg, with Hearst (15.3 ppg), Shannon (14.5 ppg) and Drame (12.5 ppg) pitching in too.
With three players sitting on the bench after fouling out, the Stags still nearly pulled out a road win against Siena. Fairfield was in front for nearly the entire game as the Saints held just two leads, the last of which came with nine seconds left and handed the Stags the loss. They were led in defeat by Maurice Barrow with a game-high 18 points off the bench, followed by fellow reserve Steve Johnston with 14 before fouling out. Amadou Sidibe pitched in with 12 points, while both Marcus Gilbert and KJ Rose added 11 in the setback. With two minutes left in the contest, Fairfield led by four, 75-71, but was held scoreless the rest of the way.
No team in the MAAC is performing worse on offense than Fairfield. The Stags are last in the league in both scoring (61.8 ppg) and field goal percentage (.394), as well as eighth in assists (11.2 apg). Gilbert (13.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and Maurice Barrow (13.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg) are the top scorers on a roster. Rose (7.7 ppg, 3.6 apg) is the team's leader in assists. They are holding foes to just 69.2 ppg, which is the second-best yield in the MAAC.
The Bobcats are one of the top offensive teams in the league and the most dominant rebounding team in the nation. Given the offensive struggles of the Stags, it's likely that Quinnipiac with continue its winning ways.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Quinnipiac 76, Fairfield 65
02/13 10:17:42 ET