By the end of the ’08-’09 season, Fairfield was an injury riddled mess, yet they still finished with a winning record, earning their first trip to the MACC semifinals in the three year tenure of head coach Ed Cooley. This year, a healthy Stags squad has won four out of five to open up the season, their lone loss coming at Maryland.
Fairfield has won back-2-back games on the road by double digit margins, beating American U by 16 and Howard by 21; corresponding with the return of leading scorer Yorel Hawkins (17 points per game) to the lineup. Anthony Johnson and Shimeek Johnson provide low post muscle and super frosh point guard Derek Needham has proven to be a capable distributor in early season play.
The Stags hung tough against Hofstra last year, a five point game. The Pride just lost at home to Charlotte as 3.5 point favorites, and they failed to cover the number as eight point home chalk against Yale. As a team, Hofstra is shooting just 40% from the floor; a woeful 25% from three point range; not atypical of teams that lack any sort of dominant low post presence. Expect the Stags and the Pride to be in a real dogfight tonight, the SU winner not determined until the final minute of the game. (#517) 2* Take Fairfield.