Fairfield (1-6) at Quinnipiac (4-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, December 6, 8:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: TD Bank Sports Center (3,300) -- Hamden, Connecticut. Television: NESN. Home Record: Fairfield 1-2, Quinnipiac 2-1. Away Record: Fairfield 0-2, Quinnipiac 1-1. Neutral Record: Fairfield 0-2, Quinnipiac 1-0. Conference Record: Fairfield 0-0, Quinnipiac 0-0. Series Record: Fairfield leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Bobcats of Quinnipiac get their first taste of league play in their new conference as they clash with the Fairfield Stags in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opener for both programs tonight at TD Bank Sports Center.
To this point, the Bobcats have focused their energies almost exclusively on opponents from the Northeast and have managed to post four wins in six opportunities. However Quinnipiac, which played in the Northeast Conference previously, had a three-game win streak snapped earlier this week when it bowed to Boston University, 69-66.
As for the Stags, their opening to the 2013-14 campaign has been less than favorable, with the team winning just one game in seven chances. Fairfield, which is 0-4 away from home heading into the matchup, has dropped six in a row since opening with a 67-54 victory over Sacred Heart on Nov. 9.
The most recent game for the Stags found the team coming up short a week ago versus Providence, 78-69.
The Stags won the only previous meeting between these in-state foes by a score of 72-60 two years ago.
Marcus Gilbert scored a team-best 23 points against Providence, one of three players to put up double figures in the loss at the Dunkin' Donut Center. Maurice Barrow pitched in with 20 points off the bench, shooting just 5-of-14 from the floor, while Coleman Johnson tacked on 10 points before fouling out as the team ended up being outscored at the free-throw line by a whopping 38-21 margin.
One of the lowest-scoring programs in college basketball at the moment, the Stags are generating just 56.3 ppg as they shoot only 38.0 percent from the field and 28.5 percent beyond the arc. It also doesn't help that Fairfield is converting 65.4 percent at the free-throw line where it has been outscored by a staggering 69 points. Gilbert is the top scorer with 13.0 ppg, his 24.4 percent effort out on the perimeter a perfect example of what is wrong with the Stags right now.
In a game that featured 13 ties and 12 lead changes, the Bobcats led by as many as seven points early in the second half before falling to Boston University at home. In addition to shooting only 37.1 percent from the field after intermission, Quinnipiac made only 1-of-8 shots beyond the arc and 3- of-7 at the free-throw line. Ike Azotam was one of three players to produce a double-double for the Bobcats as he tallied 14 points and 15 rebounds, followed by Ousmane Drame (16 points, 11 boards) and Zaid Hearst (10 points, 10 boards). Umar Shannon pitched in with 15 points on just 5-of-14 shooting.
Scoring 77.8 ppg and pulling down a massive 48.0 rpg, the Bobcats feature two players averaging a double-double at the moment as Hearst steps up with 15.0 ppg and 10.7 rpg, while Azotam accounts for 14.2 ppg and 10.8 rpg. Despite shooting only 39.0 percent from the field, which is below his 41.9 percent behind the 3-point line, Shannon is second on the unit with 14.5 ppg.
Even though the Bobcats are just getting their feet wet in the MAAC, they clearly have a huge advantage in the paint and will likely put that to good use as they open league play with a win tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Quinnipiac 78, Fairfield 60
12/06 10:30:36 ET