Fairfield (7-5) at Saint Joseph's (5-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 22, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hagan Arena (4,200) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: None. Home Record: Fairfield 1-1, SJU 3-0. Away Record: Fairfield 2-4, SJU 1-2. Neutral Record: Fairfield 3-0, SJU 1-1. Conference Record: Fairfield 1-1, SJU 0-0. Series Record: Saint Joseph's leads, 20-4.
GAME NOTES: The Fairfield Stags eye a fourth straight win on Saturday afternoon, as they open a five-game road trip against the Saint Joseph's Hawks at Hagan Arena in Philadelphia.
Fairfield continued its turnaround last Sunday, as Derek Needham scored a game-high 20 points, leading four players in double figures, to help the Stags capture a 69-58 win over the Drexel Dragons in non-conference action at Webster Bank Arena.
Desmond Wade contributed 15 points off the bench for the Stags (7-5), followed by Maurice Barrow and Colin Nickerson with 12 points apiece as the hosts won for fourth time in the last five contests and moved two games over .500.
Saint Joseph's, meanwhile, hasn't played since falling to Philadelphia Big 5 rival Villanova, 65-61, on Dec. 11 at The Pavilion.
The Hawks, who dropped their second straight game, were paced by Langston Galloway who posted a season-high 22 points, shooting 6-of-10 behind the 3- point line, followed by Carl Jones and Ronald Roberts with 16 and 10 points, respectively.
SJU should be able to get itself back on track this Saturday, as it has won 20 of the 24 previous matchups with Fairfield. However, today's showdown is the first meeting since the Hawks prevailed in a 95-64 final back in 1964.
Defense has keyed Fairfield's recent run and last Sunday's win was no exception. The team held Drexel to 38 percent shooting from the floor, 20 percent from 3-point range and under 60 points for the second time in 10 games. Fairfield forced 12 turnovers, seven of which were a result of seven steals, with Nickerson accounting for four of those thefts.
Galloway seemed to get his shooting stroke back at Villanova, as the junior connected on 6-of-10 3-point attempts. Entering the game, Galloway was hitting 30.8 percent from beyond the arc, but upped his season percentage to .367. Jones tops the team at 39.1 percent. Last season, the Hawks hit 36.3 percent from beyond the arc, and Galloway was the top long-range shooter in the A-10 at 46.6 percent. It's been a balanced offensive attack for the Hawks this season, as they have had four or more players score double figures in four games, with the team posting a 3-1 record when that happens. The Hawks have three players averaging double figures -- Jones (15.5), Galloway (14.1) and C.J. Aiken (10.5), while Roberts is on the cusp at 9.6. The Hawks lead the nation in fewest personal fouls, with 12.1 per game. SJU has only been whistled for 97 fouls in eight games with just two disqualifications on the year.
However, junior Halil Kanacevic will miss Saturday's contest, as he serves a two-game suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct in the Villanova game.
Although Fairfield seems to have gotten it together of late, it will be tough sledding on Saturday against a well-rested Saint Joseph's team.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Fairfield 73, Saint Joseph's 63
12/22 10:40:57 ET