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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 16, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Webster Bank Arena (9,000) -- Bridgeport, Connecticut. Television: SNY. Home Record: Drexel 0-2, Fairfield 1-1. Away Record: Drexel 2-2, Fairfield 2-4. Neutral Record: Drexel 1-2, Fairfield 3-0. Conference Record: Drexel 0-0, Fairfield 1-1. Series Record: Fairfield leads, 5-2.
GAME NOTES: Playing at home for just the third time this season, the Fairfield Stags are set to entertain the Drexel Dragons in non-conference action at Webster Bank Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Until earlier this week, the Stags had failed to be successful in back-to-back games, but that changed on Wednesday when they recorded a 62-46 win over Milwaukee, three days after taking out Rider in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference action. The victory was also the third in the last four contests for the Stags, who are now one game over .500.
As for the Dragons, they have yet to win consecutive tests to this point and have a total of just three wins in nine opportunities. The squad has been out of action since Dec. 8 when it slipped by Princeton on the road in a 64-57 final. The win snapped a two-game slide for a Drexel group that has split four true road games thus far.
The Stags lead the all-time series with Drexel by a 5-2 margin, although the Dragons were victorious in their meeting last season at home, 77-69.
Trailing by double figures late in the first half, the Dragons went on a run to close out the period and then responded well at both ends of the floor following the break to claim the seven-point win on the road. Damion Lee led all scorers with 21 points, followed by Dartaye Ruffin with 12 points and five rebounds as he tried to offset his five turnovers. Drexel won the battle on the boards, 32-20, and held the hosts to a mere four rebounds at the offensive end of the floor. With Chris Fouch (16.7 ppg) out of action due to ankle surgery, there's been more pressure levied on Lee who continues to pace the team in scoring with his 18.0 ppg. Frantz Massenat, who was held to just eight points by the Tigers in the last game, is the second-leading scorer among active players with 13.4 ppg, but it might be his passing (44 assists) that he is more valued for at this time as the rest of the roster tries to get involved in the action.
The defense for the Stags was all over Milwaukee earlier this week, limiting the Panthers to just 13-of-47 (.277) from the floor, including 3-of-18 behind the 3-point line. Fairfield also forced the visitors into 18 turnovers, which the Stags traded in for 18 points, more than enough to give the hosts the comfortable margin of victory. Despite shooting just 4-of-12 from the field, Derek Needham led the offense for the Stags with 13 points, followed by fellow starters Amadou Sidibe and Maurice Barrow with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Sidibe, who knocked down 6-of-8 from the field, added a team-high nine rebounds as well. A part-time starter through the first 11 games, Sidibe is shooting an impressive 66.7 percent from the floor in limited action, which is why he is averaging just 6.1 ppg. But it is important to have him on the floor because he is first on the team with 5.6 rpg. Needham remains the lone double- digit scorer to this point with 13.9 ppg for a team producing 63.0 ppg.
Don't expect many offensive fireworks in this meeting because points can be hard to come by on both sides. The loss of Fouch has been difficult to overcome for the Dragons and being on the road this weekend won't help matters.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Fairfield 64, Drexel 58
12/16 10:33:32 ET
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