Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fordham Falls in Round 2

Fordham Falls in Round 2

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, MARCH 14- The men’s basketball season of the Fordham Rams (10‐21) ended after they were defeated by the VCU Rams (23‐9), 63‐57, in the second round of the Atlantic‐10 Championship at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. After advancing to the second round of the championship for the second straight year, Fordham’s season ended in round two.

VCU, the team from Richmond, Virginia, were the overwhelming favorites of the crowd of 6,806 in Brooklyn. The VCU coach, Shaka Smart, spoke with appreciation of the strong support of the crowd, “Our crowd is terrific, and our fans, we’re always appreciative of them coming up to Brooklyn and supporting us. I don’t know what the numbers are but it seems like every time we come up here, we have as many fans as anybody, or more.”

The fan support has certainly not hurt as VCU is 7‐3 at Barclays in the past two seasons.

The crowd, whether for or against VCU, saw a surprisingly exciting and competitive game between a 12th seed, Fordham, and a 5th seed, VCU. The score was knotted three times and the lead changed hands on four occasions during the first half. The highest advantage achieved by either team in the half was five, three time by Fordham. The five final points of the period by VCU’s high scorer of the year, Treveon Graham, tied the score at 30 at the end of the half.

The second half was just as competitive as the first with three ties and five lead changes. Fordham’s final lead, 52‐50, came on a three by freshman Manny Suarez with 6:07 on the clock. Fordham’s chances for a victory evaporated during the final six minutes as the VCU Rams outscored the Rams of the Bronx, 13‐5, to get the win and advance to the quarter‐finals. 

After the contest, Smart spoke of those final minutes, “I thought our guys did a good job of being the more aggressive team the last six minutes.”

VCU’s control of the offensive boards was a major factor in achieving the win. Fordham coach Tom Pecora remarked, “They had 18 second‐chance points and we had 12 in a six‐point game...Their 20 offensive rebounds hurt us a great deal.”

Several players stood out for each team. Suarez scored 13 points contrasted with his previous high of three. During the post‐game press conference, Pecora commented on the freshman, “From a basketball standpoint, Manny has always had great talent. It’s just a matter of his maturation process but I’m very pleased with the way he’s played the last couple weeks...I’m excited about him...He’s going to be a major contributor next year.”

Brooklyn natives Jon Severe (14) and Bryan Smith (11) scored in double digits.

Treveon Graham led the victors with 22 points and nine rebounds. The leading scorer of VCU talked of his effort late in the contest, “Toward the end of the game, I just tried to attack the glass and do what I need to do for the team.”

Although it certainly gave no solace to Fordham, the other two double digit scorers for VCU are natives of the Bronx. Freshman Terry Larrier scored 0 and grabbed seven boards. Junior Melvin Johnson scored 16 and had six rebounds. Johnson was especially effective from beyond the arc, netting four 3’s of seven attempts.
Both teams played without their most valuable player. VCU’s Briante Weber, the A‐10 Defensive Player of the Year, and Eric Paschall of Fordham, the A‐10 Rookie of the Year, were out of action due to injuries.

The VCU Rams advanced to the quarter‐finals to face the Richmond Spiders.

#Fordham #Rams #VCU #Atlantic10 #MarchMadness #Bronxnews

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