Fairfield (19-14) vs. Manhattan (13-17)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, March 10, 4:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: MassMutual Center (7,552) -- Springfield, Massachusetts. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Fairfield 7-5, Manhattan 7-4. Away Record: Fairfield 7-9, Manhattan 5-11. Neutral Record: Fairfield 5-0, Manhattan 1-2. Conference Record: Fairfield 9-9, Manhattan 9-9. Series Record: Manhattan leads, 47-43.
GAME NOTES: Just over a week removed from the lowest-scoring game in the history of Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play, the Fairfield Stags and the Manhattan Jaspers are back at it again on Sunday as they compete in the semifinals of the 32nd annual MAAC Tournament.
On March 1, these same two teams met up at Draddy Gym in New York where the Jaspers slipped by in a 34-31 final, the lowest-scoring game between two members of the MAAC. Sixth-seeded Manhattan lost to Loyola-Maryland two days later in the regular-season finale, 63-61, but then made up for that with a 55-52 victory in the quarterfinals of the tournament last night in order to advance.
Also in action on Saturday, the Stags again kept scoring to a minimum as they slipped by the Rider Broncs in a 43-42 decision. The seventh seed in this year's tourney, Fairfield played in the title game last season when it bowed to Loyola in a 48-44 final.
Because the Jaspers swept the regular-season series against Fairfield, the Stags now trail in the all-time series by a 47-43 margin.
The winner of the battle this time around will be back in action on Monday night in the tournament title game versus the survivor of the Iona/Niagara matchup.
Trailing by four points with less than five minutes remaining against Rider, the Stags put together a 7-0 run in order to take control and eventually grab the narrow win on Saturday. Derek Needham was the lone double-digit scorer for Fairfield as he dropped in a game-high 19 points, but he shot just 5-of-16 from the floor and 1-of-7 behind the 3-point line along the way. Maurice Barrow chipped in nine points as the team somehow survived with a meager 29.8 percent shooting from the field, including a dismal 2-of-15 on the perimeter.
Scoring a lot of points has not been a top priority for the Stags this season obviously, the team now producing 60.9 ppg, but at least that's still better than the 58.7 ppg being allowed to the competition. Needham is not only responsible for a team-high 14.7 ppg, he is also the leader in assists with 105 which means he is constantly trying to keep his teammates involved in the action.
Rhamel Brown recorded a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds as the Manhattan Jaspers held on to defeat the Greyhounds of Loyola- Maryland by three points in the quarterfinals of the MAAC Tournament at MassMutual Center. Shane Richards, RaShawn Stores and Emmy Andujar all tallied nine points for the Jaspers as they got away with 34.0 percent shooting from the floor and 5-of-18 beyond the arc through 40 minutes of play on Saturday night.
Among the active players for the Jaspers, only Brown is scoring in double figures at the moment with his 11.7 ppg. A 55.1 percent shooter from the floor, Brown is also the top man on the team in terms of rebounding (7.3 rpg) and blocked shots (91), but for someone who has his hands on the ball so much, the fact that Brown has just 20 assists is rather disappointing at this stage of the campaign.
If the most recent meeting between these two teams and yesterday's performance by Fairfield is any indication, expect another low-scoring affair that could turn on a single play in the final moments.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Manhattan 49, Fairfield 44
03/10 10:30:41 ET