Fairfield (8-5) at Old Dominion (2-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 29, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Constant Convocation Center (9,520) -- Norfolk, Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: Fairfield 2-1, ODU 1-6. Away Record: Fairfield 3-4, ODU 0-4. Neutral Record: Fairfield 3-0, ODU 1-0. Conference Record: Fairfield 1-1, ODU 0-1. Series Record: Fairfield leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: Fairfield aims for its fifth straight victory when the Stags take on an Old Dominion team that is coming off a shocking victory.
The Stags, who haven't lost since Dec. 7 against Canisius, most recently squeaked out a 60-57 win at Saint Joseph's a week ago. Derek Needham scored a game-high 24 points, which included the game-winning 3-pointer with 16 seconds left. Amadou Sidibe totaled 10 points and nine rebounds. Fairfield, which is in the midst of a five-game road trip, had a season-high six blocks in the victory.
Fairfield has stepped up defensively recently. Over the past six games, the Stags have held their opponents to an average of 55.8 points. At the offensive end, the team is led by Needham at 15.2 ppg. He is the only player averaging double digits in scoring. Next on the list is Maurice Barrow (7.7 ppg) and Desmond Wade (7.2 ppg). Marcus Gilbert had missed two straight games, but returned against the Hawks and had eight points and four rebounds.
ODU stopped a nine-game losing streak with a 63-61 win over Virginia last Saturday. Dimitri Batten scored a career-high 23 points for the Monarchs, while Aaron Bacote added 17 points. Donte Hill finished with 12 points and DeShawn Painter posted a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Painter paces the Monarchs in scoring (10.9 ppg) and rebounding (7.7 rpg). Hill is the only other double-digit scorer (10.3 ppg). The Monarchs committed only seven turnovers in their last game and won considering they were without senior co- captain Nick Wright (illness) and freshman guard Keenan Palmore (concussion). Wright has started seven games this season, one less than Palmore. ODU has gone with several different lineups throughout the season. In fact, only Stuart McEwen, who has played only two minutes, is the only player who has seen court time to not have started a game this season.
These teams met last year for the first time with the Stags coming away with a 59-51 win at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, Connecticut. Needham led Fairfield with 19 points.
Fairfield will try to finish its December schedule in a familiar position ... with another victory in this non-conference affair. The Stags are 5-1 this month and under head coach Sydney Johnson, they own a 9-3 record during December. The Stags have compiled a 26-5 record over the last five years in the 12th month, with two of those defeats coming against the Connecticut Huskies. With Needham leading the way, expect the Stags to win a tight contest.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Fairfield 73, Old Dominion 68
12/29 10:32:48 ET