Men's basketball hosts Iona Friday night on ESPNU



Men's BasketballThe Fairfield University men's basketball team looks to extend its five-game winning streak on Friday night as it hosts Iona College at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard. The game will be televised on ESPNU with the tip scheduled for 9 pm.

The game pits the conference's top offensive team (79.0 ppg) in Iona against the MAAC's top defensive team (55.0 points allowed per game) in Fairfield. The teams are number one and two in scoring margin among conference teams, with the Stags holding a + 9.1 margin and the Gaels checking in with a +7.6 margin.

The Stags became the first team to win 10 conference games in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) after its 70-55 win over Canisius College. The victory improved Fairfield's overall record to 17-4 and gave the Stags 16 wins in its last 17 outings.

Derek Needham scored a game-high 17 points in the win over Canisius. The sophomore has been the team's high scorer in six of the last seven games, including the last two home games. He's been the Stags leading scorer in each of the last four home games - Niagara (15 points), Saint Peter's (16), Manhattan (16), and Canisius.

Derek Needham remains the team's top scorer, checking into today's action with a 14.1 scoring average. He has scored in double figures in all but three games this season. Ryan Olander is next in line with a 9.9 scoring average, while Yorel Hawkins stands at 9.1 points per game. Olander is the team's top rebounder with 7.1 caroms per contest. 

The Gaels enter tonight's game with a 13-9 overall record and a 7-4 MAAC slate, which includes an overtime loss to Loyola on the road last Sunday. Iona is trying to stop a three-game skid, dropping all three games by three points or less. Close games are nothing new for this team, as all nine of their losses have come by a combined score of 37 points which includes four setbacks by two points or less.

Iona comes into tonight's contest as the top scoring team in the MAAC, averaging 79 points per game. The Gaels have scored 80 points or more in 10 of their 22 games which includes a 100-point effort in an overtime road victory against Rider (100-96). Head Coach Tim Cluess, in his first year at the helm, has led his team to a pair of win streaks this season, winning seven straight early in the season and five consecutive games during January.

Mike Glover has been a major reason for the team's success this season, as the forward is averaging a double-double with 19.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. He leads the MAAC in scoring, places second in rebounding, and is the conference's top shooter with a .618 field goal percentage. Guard Scott Machado leads the nation in assists with 7.8 per game. He averages 14.1 points per game, joining Glover, Kyle Smyth (11.6 ppg), and Jermel Jenkins (10.1 ppg) as the Gaels double-figure scorers.

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Media Contact: Jack Jones, (203) 254-4116

Posted on February 4, 2011