Fordham Loses Final Home Game
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, MARCH 6- The Fordham Rams (9‐19, 4‐13) hosted their final game of the season at the Rose Hill Gym on their campus in the Bronx on Wednesday evening. The visitors, the Duquesne Dukes (11‐17, 6‐11) were contesting Fordham for a better seeding in the following week’s Atlantic‐10 Conference Championship.
Prior to the contest’s start, Fordham’s basketball seniors were saluted on the court. Two, Halilaj and Gaitley, of the four players underwent the difficult task of making the team as walk‐ons. Erando Halilaj, a Bronx native, joined the team this year and saw action in five games. DC Gaitley, son of Fordham’s women’s coach, played in six games. The communications major suffered several injuries which curtailed his playing time at Fordham. Nihad Musovic, a Fordham Prep grad, played in 11 contests in his four years at the university.
Bryan Smith played 113 games during his career at Fordham. The Brooklyn native is completing his college career very impressively. He appeared in every game this season, and started the last 13 at guard. Smith averaged 11 points per game in his latest nine contests. He scored his season high of 17 points against Duquesne.
Seniors Lauren Hutt, student assistant, and Nick Stanaj, team manager, were also honored for their service to the basketball program.
The Rams spurted to an early 7‐2 lead during the first two minutes of action. Eight unanswered points by the visitors gave the Dukes a 10‐7 advantage two minutes later. A 16‐11 lead by Duquesne was turned around as the Rams scored 14 straight points, keeping the Dukes scoreless for nearly seven minutes to move ahead, 25‐16 at 6:56. Fordham’s first double digit lead, 29‐18, at 6:04 evaporated by the close of the first half as the Dukes outscored Fordham, 20‐6, to lead 38‐35, at the half.
The Dukes began the second stanza almost exactly as they closed the first with a 20‐7 scoring run to take their largest lead of the game, 58‐42, with 10:58 remaining in the game. The 40‐13 scoring differential those 15 minutes decided the outcome as the Rams cut the advantage to single figures only once in the final 11 minutes. The Dukes were victorious, 81‐66.
Both teams had balanced scoring. Five of the Dukes scored in double figures; each of four players netted 16 points including L. G. Hill who came off the bench and in only 18 minutes scored 16 and grabbed seven rebounds. Four of Fordham’s starters scored in double digits paced by Smith who led with 17.
Fordham’s 17 offensive rebounds gave them access to 12 second chance points contrasted to two for the Dukes. The 12 Fordham turnovers allowed the Dukes to score 17 points from turnovers while Fordham only scored two.
Fordham’s coach Tom Pecora explained his disappointment with his team’s lack of effort during their final home game of the season, “We probably lost it yesterday during practice” where he felt his players were resistant to putting in sufficient effort. He told reporters, “Whether there’s two inches or two feet of snow, we’ll practice tomorrow.”
He also noted the same insufficient effort during the contest, “They [Duquesne] went to the foul line 25 times and we went eight. That shows you who played harder. Effort should be a given.”
Another reason Pecora cited for the loss was the absence of Eric Paschall. The freshman is fourth in the conference in scoring with an average of 16.5 points per game. Pecora stated that he was not replaced, “We lost our bounce without Eric.”
Both teams play one more regular season contests before entering the Atlantic‐10 Championship on March 12 at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.
#Fordham #Rams #Basketball #Bronxnews