FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- The Fairfield University men's basketball team will begin play in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) on Wednesday night with its first-round match up at UMBC. Game time is slated for 7 p.m.
While playing in the CIT is familiar territory for the Stags, facing UMBC is a new experience for Fairfield. The two teams will meet for the first time in program history on Wednesday night. The winner of this game will advance to the second round with the opponent and site to be determined.
UMBC bring an 18-12 overall record into the tournament, coming off a 74-65 loss to New Hampshire in the America East tournament. Jarius Lyles led all UMBC scorers with 17 points while Rodney Elliott came off the bench to post 10 points for the Retrievers. The team posted a season-low three three-point field goals, one less than its total against Kennesaw State on November 19.
The three three-point field goals were well under their season average of 9.6 long-range jumpers per game, an average which rates 22nd in the nation. The team also places 25th in the nation with an 81.4 team scoring average. UMBC places third in the nation for most improved team after winning seven games a year ago.
The Retrievers are making their first postseason appearance since winning the America East title in 2008. Lyles leads the team in scoring with 19 points per game, one of three double-digit scorers on the team. Will Darley, who represents the team's top three-point threat with 76 long-range shots in his 30 starts, places second among his teammates with 15.7 points per game while Joe Sherburne is next with an 11.2 scoring average.
The Stags return to the postseason for the fourth time under Head Coach Sydney Johnson with all of those appearances coming in the CIT. Fairfield owns a 16-14 overall record after its MAAC Tournament quarterfinal loss to fourth-seeded Siena, 78-66. Tyler Nelson led all Fairfield scorers in that MAAC quarterfinal game, netting 25 points along with dishing off a team-best four assists.
The junior has been the top scorer in 15 games by himself and a co-leader three additional times. Nelson leads the team in scoring with a 19.1 scoring average, a number which also ranks second in the MAAC. Amadou Sidibe grabbed seven rebounds in the Siena game, which brought his team-leading rebounding average to 9.3 caroms per contest. He places second in the MAAC for rebounding and remains nationally-ranked in the category, placing 40th in Division I.
The Stags will be playing their fourth straight road game on Wednesday night and their sixth away contest in their last seven dates. The Stags own an 8-8 record on the road plus a 1-0 slate in neutral site games this year.