Men's basketball heads west for NIT first-round game with Colorado State


Image: Hawkins playing basketballThe Fairfield University men's basketball team will head west for a Tuesday night match up with Colorado State University in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The Stags will participate in the NIT for the first time since the 2003 season when they hosted Boston College at the Arena at Harbor Yard.

The Stags are making their sixth appearance in the NIT, also playing in the in the 2003, 1996, 1978, 1974, and 1973 editions. Fairfield owns a 1-5 record in the tournament, winning its first-ever NIT game with an 80-76 decision over Marshall. The Stags will be playing Colorado State for the first time in school history.

The bracket also includes top-seeded Colorado (21-13) against eighth-seeded Texas Southern (19-12); fourth-seeded California (17-14) versus fifth-seeded Mississippi (20-13); and second-seeded St. Mary's (25-6) against Kent State (23-11).

Fairfield brings a 24-7 overall record into the game, tying the school record for most wins in a season. The 1985-86 team also posted 24 wins en route to winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) championship. This year's team set the school standard for most wins in the regular season as well with 23 victories.

Derek Needham remains the team's top scorer with a 14.0 scoring average, and needs eight more points to reach 1,000 career points. Ryan Olander places second on the team with 10.2 points per game, and averages a team-high 6.6 caroms per contest.

Colorado State is making its seventh appearance in the NIT, their first in 12 years, since a 71-62 loss at Cal in the national quarterfinals of the 1999 tournament. CSU made its deepest NIT run in 1988, under Head Coach Boyd Grant. That year, CSU played three NIT home games before overflow crowds at Moby Arena, then traveled to Madison Square Garden. Following a last-second loss to Ohio State in the national semifinals, CSU played in the third-place game, and beat Boston College.

The team made single-game appearances in 1998 (loss at Minnesota), 1996 (loss at Nebraska), 1962 (loss vs. Holy Cross in New York) and 1961 (loss vs. St. Louis in New York). All-time in NIT games, the Rams are 6-6.

The Rams own a 19-12 overall record and advanced to the Mountain West Conference quarterfinals before coming up short against New Mexico. Andy Ogide leads the team in scoring with a 17.3 scoring average, followed by Travis Franklin's 11.9 points every forty minutes. Ogide is also the team's top rebounder at 7.7 per game.

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

Posted on March 13, 2011

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