Men’s basketball to play Fairfield this weekend

The Griffs will look to take advantage of a lowly Fairfield team in this weekend's series. (Canisius Athletics/GoGriffs)

In the midst of a four-game winning streak, men’s basketball will look to continue its winning ways as it makes a second straight weekend trip to Connecticut, this time to face Fairfield on Friday and Saturday.

After not playing in 41 days due to COVID issues within the team, men’s basketball went on the road and swept Quinnipiac, winning 74-67 last Friday and 89-70 on Saturday to improve their record to 5-3 and putting them sixth in the MAAC.

The Stags of Fairfield, led by second-year head coach Jay Young, sit at 5-9 in league play and 5-14 overall. They are coming off a series split last weekend on the road against Saint Peter’s, a 55-50 win on Saturday and a 66-49 loss on Sunday.

The Stags’ leading scorer is junior Jake Wojcik, a transfer from Richmond who is averaging 13.1 points per game this season while playing a combination of both guard positions. He also is a marksman from behind the three-point arc, hitting on 37.5% of his attempts.

The second-highest scorer is senior Taj Benning, who averages 12.5 points per contest. He also averages 4.3 rebounds per game as a combo guard-forward. Benning has played and started in all 19 of Fairfield’s games this season and has played just over 83% of all possible minutes this season, 158th in the nation according to data from KenPom.

Other Stags to keep an eye on are Jesus Cruz (8.1 PPG) and Caleb Green (7.5 PPG). Along with them, freshman Supreme Cook tends to play well in limited minutes off the bench, as does Chris Maidoh. Per KenPom, they are both top-100 players in the country in terms of both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage.

As for the Griffs, both Ahamadou Fofana and Jacco Fritz are coming off big weekends. Don’t be surprised if the team looks to give them more touches as these games get going, especially with Fofana, who had 16 points in the first game against Quinnipiac, his second-highest total of the season.

The key for the Griffs in these games will be controlling the tempo from the opening tip. Per KenPom, the Stags rank 328th in the nation in terms of adjusted tempo, making them one of the slowest teams in the country. By comparison, the Griffs rank 100th in the country, putting them in the top third of the fastest teams in the country.

With just six scheduled games remaining on the Griffs schedule, every game is crucial in terms of getting those games in and winning them. With the Griffs currently sitting sixth in the league and seeding for the conference tournament now being done by total league wins, the Griffs are trying to get into the top five to secure a bye in the first round.

Both games on Friday and Saturday are scheduled for 5 p.m.

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