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Fairfield (19-15) at Kent State (20-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 20, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: M.A.C. Center (6,327) -- Kent, Ohio. Television: None. CIT Tournament Record: Fairfield 4-2, Kent State 0-2. Series Record: Kent State leads, 4-1.
GAME NOTES: The Fairfield Stags hit the road for the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament where they will duel the Kent State Golden Flashes at the M.A.C. Center.
This game was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but moved due to inclement weather.
This will be the sixth meeting in history between these schools. Kent State owns a 4-1 all-time series edge. Kent State defeated Fairfield 72-68 in 2011 behind 22 points from Randal Holt during the second round of the NIT in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Derek Needham led Fairfield with 20 in the loss.
Fairfield is looking to clinch its fourth consecutive 20-win season. The Stags are 19-15 overall after dropping a 60-42 decision to Manhattan in the semifinals of the MAAC Tournament. They finished with a 9-9 mark in league action due to a low-scoring offensive attack that generated a mere 60.3 ppg.
The Stags are led by four-time All-Metro Athletic Conference selection, Derek Needham, who checks in with 14.4 ppg. Junior Maurice Barrow adds 9.0 per game, while MAAC co-rookie of the year Amadou Sidibe leads the team in rebounding at 6.1. Fairfield gives up only 58.7 ppg to its opponents. Its strong defensive abilities were not enough to overcome a 15-of-43 showing from the floor including an 0-of-9 clip from beyond the arc in its last appearance. Needham really struggled in the loss to the Jaspers, making just 2-of-10 from the field to produce four points.
The Golden Flashes were one of the hottest teams in the MAC as they entered their semifinals bout with Akron on a six-game winning streak. Their momentum was halted by the Zips though as they fell, 62-59, to the eventual conference tourney champs. Holt paced the team in the loss with 19 points while Chris Evans pulled down nine rebounds. The MAC's fourth-seeded Golden Flashes notched their 20th win of the campaign just before the setback.
Evans has developed into one of the best all-around players in the MAC as he paces Kent State with 16.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per contest. Holt, who continues to build on the school's all-time record for 3-pointers made, checks in with 14.5 ppg thanks to his 85 treys this season. Darren Goodson may be the x- factor for KSU as he has scored at least 12 points in five of his last seven games and only failed to do so in a blowout win over Miami and the recent loss to the Zips.
Kent State barely lost to one of the best mid-major programs in the nation in its last appearance. With the homecourt advantage on their side, the Golden Flashes should be able to bounce back against an offensively challenged Fairfield unit.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kent State 65, Fairfield 57
03/20 10:38:08 ET