Fordham (1-3) vs. Fairfield (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 20, 6 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stabler Arena (5,600) -- Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Television: None. Home Record: Fordham 0-0, Fairfield 0-0. Away Record: Fordham 0-2, Fairfield 0-2. Neutral Record: Fordham 1-1, Fairfield 2-0. Conference Record: Fordham 0-0, Fairfield 0-0. Series Record: Fordham leads, 30-12.
GAME NOTES: Two teams that have yet to play in front of their respective home crowds get together on Tuesday at Stabler Arena, as the Fordham Rams butt heads with the Fairfield Stags as part of consolation-round action in the 2012 NIT Season Tip-Off.
The Rams began the 2012-13 campaign with three straight losses against Texas State, Pittsburgh and Robert Morris, but the team turned the corner on Monday with a 70-68 triumph over the Penn Quakers here in Bethlehem.
As for the Stags, they've earned a split of their first four games of the season, topping the likes of CCSU and Penn, but bowing to Virginia and most recently, the Lehigh Mountain Hawks in this building, 82-67, on Monday.
The Rams lead the all-time series with Fairfield by a count of 30-12.
It was a close call for Fordham yesterday, the team trailing by as many as six points early in the meeting before rebounding and slipping through with the two-point decision. Although he shot just 4-of-11 from the field, Branden Frazier finished with a team-best 19 points, adding seven assists and six rebounds for the victors. Bryan Smith and Jeffrey Short chipped in with 14 and 12 points, respectively, the former hitting 4-of-5 shots behind the three- point line but the latter missing all but one of his six attempts on the outside. The leading scorer in each of the last two games, Frazier leads the team overall with his 15.5 ppg, although his 36.7 percent effort from the field and 4-of-20 beyond the arc might be tough to swallow. In an effort to overcome those deficiencies, Frazier has made good on 22-of-26 at the free- throw line and leads the group with 18 assists.
Fairfield led early against Lehigh on Monday, but a 10-2 run by the hosts forced the Stags to play catch-up the rest of the way. Keith Matthews did all he could to keep the visitors in the mix as he registered a double-double consisting of 17 points and 10 rebounds, but he simply didn't get enough support from his fellow starters who combined to shoot only 10-of-33 from the floor. Desmond Wade, a mere 1-of-7 from the floor, did account for 11 assists but that still wasn't enough to compensate for the unit's 5-of-21 performance from three-point range. Derek Needham, who finished with nine points on 2-of-9 shooting beyond the arc against Lehigh, leads the team in scoring overall with his 12.8 ppg, followed by Matthews (11.0 ppg). Wade (4.5 ppg) is one player who clearly understands his role as he paces the group with 27 assists and seven steals.
As long as Needham can put aside his performance from Monday and get back on track for the Stags, this is a game that Fairfield should be able to pull out.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Fairfield 72, Fordham 68
11/20 10:50:58 ET