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Iona (4-2) at Fairfield (1-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 8, 1:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Webster Bank Arena (10.000) -- Bridgeport, Connecticut. Television: None. Home Record: Iona 3-0, Fairfield 1-2. Away Record: Iona 1-2, Fairfield 0-3. Neutral Record: Iona 0-0, Fairfield 0-2. Conference Record: Iona 1-0, Fairfield 0-1. Series Record: Iona leads, 58-41.
GAME NOTES: The Iona Gaels and the Fairfield Stags will meet up on Sunday afternoon at Webster Bank Arena in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference showdown.
Iona got its league schedule off on the right foot with an 83-74 road victory over Marist on Wednesday. The win was the third straight for the Gaels, who have risen to 4-2 on the young season. Up next for the Gaels is a date out of league action as they face St. Bonaventure at home.
The Stags started the year with a 67-54 win over Sacred Heart. It has been all downhill from there. On Friday, in their conference opener, the Stags came short against conference newcomer Quinnipiac (83-79) for their seventh- straight loss. Fairfield is just 1-7 overall and will be on the road to take on Belmont next.
Last season these teams split the season series with each team winning at home. The Gaels still lead the all-time series by a count of 58-41.
The Gaels were lights out from beyond the arc in their win over Marist. Iona knocked down 17-of-30 attempts from 3-point range in the contest led by a 6- of-10 showing from Sean Armand, who finished with a game-high 26 points. Including Armand, all five starters scored in double figures in the matchup.
Among MAAC squads there isn't a team that has made more 3-point field goals than the Gaels, who have nailed 67 already, while shooting at a 40.1 percent clip from that distance. Iona also leads the conference in overall field goal percentage (.470) and assists (16.7 pg). Armand (21.1 ppg) has been lighting it up from beyond the arc all season as the team's leading scorer. Armand has scored at least 20 points in three straight games and also had at least three assists in the last five contests. A.J. English (12.3 ppg, 4.8 apg) runs the show from the point and is coming off an 11-point, 13-assist showing. David Laury (14.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg) and Tre Bowman (13.2 ppg) also get in the mix.
Fairfield trailed by as many as 12 points against Quinnipiac and even though it cut that deficit to just two in the final seconds, it wasn't enough. The Stags shot at just a 39.4 percent clip in the contest, though they did hit 8-of-19 shots from 3-point distance.
The Stags are really struggling to find much success on the offensive end of the floor. Among Division I programs the Stags rank right near the bottom in both scoring (59.1 ppg) and field goal percentage (.382). Marcus Gilbert (15.2 ppg) represents the only double-figure scorer on the roster and one of only two putting in more than 6.5 points per game. Gilbert carried the bulk of the offensive load versus Quinnipiac, as he poured in a season-high 31 points on 11-of-19 shooting. Maurice Barrow (9.4 ppg) fills the role of second option, but by shooting just 36.1 percent from the field, isn't as productive as the Stags need him to be.
With such a shortage of scorers the Stags will have a difficult time keeping pace with an Iona team that can bury opponents from beyond the arc.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iona 79, Fairfield 64
12/08 10:35:09 ET
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