Friday, January 5, 2007

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

This Saturday, the Stags square off against conference foe Manhattan at 4 p.m. in Riverdale, N.Y.

Fairfield (3-12) is 1-2 in the MAAC, while Manhattan (4-8) is 1-1 in conference play.

The Jaspers currently have three players in double digits on offense, with Devon Austin’s 12.3 points per game leading the way. Arturo Dubois has 11.3 and Darryl Crawford has 10.8.

Austin is also the team’s top rebounder, with 6.1 boards per game.

Last week, Manhattan played two non-conference games on the West Coast. The Jaspers lost the first contest but won the second versus Pepperdine.

Austin had the hot hand in the win, notching 22 points. He also had 13 boards.

Manhattan, like Fairfield, has been trying to string together a series of consistent outings. Both the Jaspers and the Stags have a young team and a new head coach.

Given each team’s up and down play, momentum will be a key factor in Saturday’s game. Neither team has had much, so both will be looking for it.

In the squads’ first game this year, the Stags and the Jaspers each struggled offensively, but the Jaspers came out on top.

At this point in the season, the offensive production is there on both ends. The difference maker will be who finishes and who does not.

To win, Fairfield must string together 40 solid minutes of basketball.

In the Stags’ last two games, they have played well, but collapsed toward the end.

Most notably was the six-minute scoring lapse in the latter part of the fourth quarter on Tuesday night versus Rider.

Fairfield played strong the entire game, but Rider’s last-minute 12-0 run put the nail in the coffin.

The defense has been there all year long. Now, it’s a matter of finishing on offense – from the first quarter to the last.

-Frank Romano

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