Robert Morris (26-10) at Fairfield (21-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 21, 7:00 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alumni Hall (2,479) -- Fairfield, Connecticut. Television: None. CIT Record: Robert Morris 2-0, Fairfield 3-1. Series Record: First meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Robert Morris Colonials will make the trip to Alumni Hall to face off with the Fairfield Stags for the first time in program history during the quarterfinals of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
With its win over Toledo in the second round of the tournament, Robert Morris notched it's 26th, which is the most wins by a team in the Northeast Conference this season. Long Island and Wagner each had 25 wins but lost in the first round of their postseason tournaments including Long Island's defeat to Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament. With its two wins in the first two rounds of the CIT, the Colonials have now won four of five games with the lone loss coming in the conference tournament final to Long Island.
Fairfield's two wins in the CIT have elevated the Stags to a 20-win season, one of four teams in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to accomplish that feat. The Stags downed conference rival Manhattan in the second round and are averaging a +12.0 scoring differential through the first two games. The two victories also give the Stags wins in four of five games with the one loss coming in the conference tournament final as well, when the Stags fell to Loyola-Maryland, 48-44.
For the sixth time this season Robert Morris hit 10 three pointers in a game and for the sixth time came out on top when doing so in the 69-51 rout of Toledo last time out. The Colonials connected on 10-of-21 shots from beyond the arc in the game and overall shot an even 50.0 percent.
Robert Morris' success this season has come despite the squad not being overwhelmingly spectacular in any aspect. The Colonials were the seventh best offense in terms of scoring (68.6 ppg) and were ninth in field goal percentage (.420) in the conference. The team's defensive effort is a bit better at just 63.4 points per game allowed. Coron Williams (10.9 ppg) led the charge for the Colonials' three-point assault in the second round, sinking 4-of-9 from beyond the arc and leading the team with 17 points. The sophomore guard has now scored in double figures in five straight games which is his longest streak of the season. Velton Jones (16.1 ppg, 4.5 apg) is the team's best offensive option, but was needed for only 10 points and five assists in the second round. The Colonials' frontline is a bit undersized with Russell Johnson (8.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and Lucy Jones (8.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg) the main contributors but with neither standing above 6-6.
Fairfield led by just a single point, 38-37, at halftime in the second round but in the second half separated itself from Manhattan thanks to a 15-2 run mid-way through that put the Stags ahead comfortably for the rest of the contest. Fairfield forced 20 turnovers in the game and held Manhattan to only 20 points in the second half.
The Stags are also not a team that blows its competition away, averaging only 65.5 points per game. After a season in which he led the team in scoring and rebounding, Rakim Sanders (16.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg) had only nine points and five boards against Manhattan, but dished out a season-high seven assists to get his teammates involved. The single-digit point total snapped a 19-game stretch in double figures for the senior forward. Maurice Barrow (8.9 ppg) was the main beneficiary of Sanders' limited scoring as he dumped in 18 points while Keith Matthews (3.4 ppg) came out of nowhere to score 15 points, easily a season-high for the sophomore forward. The Stags have been without second leading scorer Derek Needham (11.7 ppg), who broke a bone in his foot and has missed the last six games. Barrow and Ryan Olander (8.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg) have picked up the slack in his absence.
Robert Morris is a team that is battle-tested after playing 21 games on the road this season, winning 14 times. The team proved yet again that even without Jones scoring in bunches it is still a team that can run up the score and take other teams down on their homecourt. Expect the same result in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Robert Morris 68, Fairfield 62
03/21 10:33:16 ET