Friday, December 8, 2006

Men's Basketball Capsule: A preview of the Fairfield vs. Manhattan game

This Friday, the Stags square off against conference rival Manhattan College at 7:30 pm at Harbor Yard.

Fairfield has a 2-9 overall record, while the Jaspers are 2-5. Friday’s matchup will be the first conference game for both teams.

So far this season for the Jaspers, Arturo Dubois has led the offense with a team-leading 14.6 points per game.

Joining him in double figures is Devin Austin with 11.0 points per game.

On the defensive end, Dubois is a force as well, averaging 5.9 rebounds per game.

Manhattan, a contender in the MAAC Championship for the last several years, is currently experiencing what some might call a “rebuilding year.”

New Head Coach Barry Rohrssen, Bobby Gonzalez’s successor, has some pretty big shoes to fill.

In Gonzalez’s seven-year tenure, he led the team to three MAAC Regular Season titles and two MAAC Championships. In 2004, the Jaspers beat Florida in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Senior standout Jason Wingate is gone, and sophomore Jeff Xavier, one of Manhattan’s best players, transferred to Providence after last season.

To win, Fairfield must bounce back from a tough loss to Boston College Wednesday night.

The Stags kept things close for almost the entire first half, but faltered again on offense, ultimately losing 75-52. At one point, Fairfield did not score a bucket for five minutes and B.C. went on a 10-0 run.

Even when things are going well, a long scoring drought like this can kill a team’s momentum.

Fairfield needs to consistently take good shots and finish down low—something the Stags have shown they can do well in several games already.

Coming into Friday’s showdown, senior Mike Van Schaick leads the squad with 11.2 points per game.

Fellow-senior Marty O’Sullivan currently leads the team on the boards, averaging 6.2 rebounds per game.

-Frank Romano

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