Fairfield (9-5) at Canisius (9-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 3, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Koessler Athletic Center (2,176) -- Buffalo, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Fairfield 2-1, Canisius 5-0. Away Record: Fairfield 4-4, Canisius 4-4. Neutral Record: Fairfield 3-0, Canisius 0-0. Conference Record: Fairfield 1-1, Canisius 2-0. Series Record: Fairfield leads, 43-31.
GAMES NOTES: In a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference showdown the Canisius Golden Griffins will bring in the streaking Fairfield Stags to Koessler Athletic Center on Thursday night.
After edging out Old Dominion, 55-54, last time out Fairfield has now won five straight games and improved to 9-5 overall this season. The last two games of the streak have come on the road where the Stags have managed to have an even 4-4 mark this season. This game is the third of a five-game road trip for Fairfield that continues against Niagara.
Canisius has been inconsistent recently trading wins and losses over its last four games. The most recent decision was an 83-78 loss to Detroit on Sunday. Canisius is 9-4 overall and has won each of its first two conference games. The Golden Griffins are unbeaten at home (5-0) where they will stay in their next contest against Marist.
This is the second matchup of the season between these squads. Canisius won a meeting in early December to snap a nine-game winning streak in the series by Fairfield. The Stags lead the all-time series 43-31.
The Stags trailed Old Dominion by 10 points midway through the second half but used a 13-2 run to take a 53-52 lead with 2:39 remaining. Fairfield did not trail the rest of the way as they did not allow the Monarchs to connect on a field goal for nearly seven minutes down the stretch.
Low scoring games are nothing new for Fairfield which is netting only 62.6 points per game and shooting 43.6 percent from the field this season. However the Stags have been able to counteract that by tightening up on the defense end. Fairfield is only allowing 61.6 points per game on 42.1 percent shooting to its opponents. Unfortunately Fairfield has suffered from a negative differential in rebounding (-2.6) while ranking last in the MAAC in the category (31.3 pg). Derek Needham (14.6 ppg) is the lead scorer and the only player scoring in double figures. Maurice Barrow (7.6 ppg) is the only other player on the roster scoring more than six points per game.
The Golden Griffins went into halftime with a slim 42-39 lead against Detroit but couldn't finish the job in the second half. Canisius shot 40.9 percent overall in the game and outscored the Titans 33-27 from beyond the arc, but a 20-11 edge in points off turnovers for Detroit doomed Canisius.
As a team the Golden Griffins have excelled offensively in their first season under head coach Jim Baron. Canisius is currently ranked second in the MAAC in scoring (76.8 ppg), field goal percentage (44.8) and assists (13.9 pg). Leading the way is Billy Baron (17.8 ppg, 5.5 apg, 4.8 rpg), who has contributed across the board with his ability to shoot, rebound and distribute. He is currently second in the MAAC in assists and fourth in scoring. Three other players are scoring in double figures, including Harold Washington (14.2 ppg) and Isaac Sosa (11.7 ppg).
Canisius already proved this season that it can beat Fairfield. That game came on the road for the Golden Griffins whose advantage on the offensive end should sink the Stags.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Canisius 75, Fairfield 65
01/03 10:45:04 ET