Fairfield (3-3) at DePaul (2-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 27, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Allstate Arena (17,500) -- Rosemont, Illinois. Television: MASN, The U Too. Home Record: Fairfield 0-0, DePaul 2-1. Away Record: Fairfield 0-3, DePaul 0-0. Neutral Record: Fairfield 3-0, DePaul 0-2. Conference Record: Fairfield 0-0, DePaul 0-0. Series Record: DePaul leads, 3-0.
GAME NOTES: The Fairfield Stags hit the road for Tuesday night's non- conference clash with the DePaul Blue Demons.
Since winning its opener against Central Connecticut State, 64-63, in overtime, Fairfield has alternated wins with losses en route to a 3-3 record. After participating in the NIT Season Tip-Off, the Stags visited Providence and lost, 66-47. They are now 0-3 in true road games this year and won't play their first home game until Dec. 7.
DePaul also won its opener, beating UC Riverside at home (91-59), before partaking in an early-season tournament as well. The Blue Demons split their preliminary home games of the Cancun Challenge before traveling to Mexico and losing back-to-back games to Wichita State (75-62) and Western Kentucky (70-61).
These two teams met up three times in the early 2000s, with DePaul coming away victorious in all three matchups.
Fairfield has not gotten off to a strong start shooting the ball, as it is connecting on less than 40 percent of its field goal attempts through six games. For the second time this season, the Stags put up fewer than 50 points in their recent bout against Providence, shooting 19-of-54 from the field (.352), including a lowly 4-of-18 effort from three-point range, to go along with 16 turnovers. Derek Needham was the only player to score in double figures with 18 points, and he hit all four of the Stags' three-pointers. Needham has been the team's go-to guy early on this season, averaging 12.7 ppg, but it has come at a price as he's making just 34.6 percent of his field goal attempts. Keith Matthews tallies 9.2 ppg and a team-high 5.3 rpg, but as a collective unit, Fairfield gets outrebounded by an average of 1.5 rpg. Desmond Wade (7.3 ppg) has more than twice the assists of any of his teammates (5.3 apg), and he also has a team-best 10 steals.
DePaul has been inconsistent on the young season, netting 91 points or more in both of its wins while scoring 62 points or less in its three losses, resulting in a .434 field goal percentage. The Blue Demons' latest nine-point loss was a struggle, especially from three-point range where they made just 1- of-14 from beyond the arc, just barely keeping their streak of making at least one three-pointer in a game alive at 584 straight. Rising above the team's inconsistencies this year has been Cleveland Melvin, who is fresh off a 22- point, 13-rebound effort against Western Kentucky. On the season, Melvin has been one of the best forwards in the Big East, piling up 18.6 ppg on greater than 50 percent field goal shooting while adding 8.8 rpg and nearly three steals per contest. Brandon Young has also gotten off to a fast start with 15.6 ppg and he has handed out a team-high 19 assists. Moses Morgan (10.6 ppg) rounds out DePaul's double-digit scorers.
Despite DePaul's up-and-down start, its top scorers in Melvin and Young have been every bit as productive as advertised, and playing at home against a equally shaky Fairfield squad, the Blue Demons should prevail.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: DePaul 77, Fairfield 68
11/27 10:35:21 ET