Men's Basketball Opens A-10 Play with Win over Duquesne
Jan. 9, 2013
Bronx, N.Y. - Along with the present-day tunes emanating from the Fordham University men's basketball locker room tonight, it wouldn't have been a stretch if the Rams started playing a certain John Denver tune. Because tonight, after playing 12 of their first 15 games away from home, the Rams felt good to be back home again, opening their Atlantic 10 season with an 82-75 win over Duquesne University in the Rose Hill Gym.
With the win, the Rams improve to 5-11 overall, 1-0 in the Atlantic 10, while the Dukes fall to 7-8 overall, 0-1 in the conference. It was just the third time the Rams have opened their Atlantic 10 schedule with a win, the first since a 66-56 A-10 opening-win over Dayton in the Rose Hill Gym on January 4, 2006.
"It was a total team effort tonight," said Fordham head coach Tom Pecora. "We accomplished all three pregame goals, holding Duquesne to shooting under forty percent, outrebounding them and controlling the paint. And Chris Gaston and Branden Frazier really stepped up as our two upperclassmen and helped the younger players settle down."
Gaston and Frazier combined for 34 points, and each finished with a double-double. Gaston netted a game-high 18 points, shooting 9-for-12 from the field, while grabbing ten rebounds, and Frazier chipped in with 16 points and a career-high 13 assists. It was Gaston's third double-double of the year while Frazier recorded his second.
Frazier's 13 assists were two shy of the Fordham single game record of 15 set by Jerry Hobbie in 1984 and tied him for third most in a game in school history. It also is the most assists in a game for a Ram since Rob Baxter dished out 14 against Army in 1994. And what made Frazier's 13 assists more impressive was that he only committed one turnover.
The Rams controlled the boards tonight, outrebounding the Dukes, 49-34, and also had one of their better shooting days of the year, connecting on 34 of their 64 field goal attempts (53.1%), including 6-for-14 from behind the arc. The Rams have now outrebounded their opponent in seven of the past nine games, all by double figures.
The Rams led for a majority of the game, taking a one-point lead, 15-14, with 12:19 left in the first as Jeff Short buried a three-pointer.
After the two teams traded baskets, a Frazier three started a 10-4 Fordham run as the Rams took a 25-18 lead on a Travion Leonard jumper with 9:25 remaining in the period.
A 17-7 Duquesne run over the next 6:30 helped the Dukes take a three-point lead, 35-32, on a Quevyn Winters three-pointer with 4:43 on the clock, but Frazier answered with a trifecta for the Rams to knot the game at 35 with 4:11 left.
The Rams outscored Duquesne 12-6 over the final 3:55 to take a 47-41 halftime lead. Gaston and Ryan Rhoomes each netted four points in the run.
A Ryan Canty dunk and Bryan Smith layup over the first 1:30 of the second half helped Fordham take a 51-41 lead and, later in the half, the Rams took their biggest lead of the night, 57-46, on a Gaston layup with 16:22 remaining.
The Dukes came back with a 9-2 spurt to make it a four-point game, 59-55, with 13:38 on the clock but Mandell Thomas stopped Duquesne's momentum with a three-pointer nine seconds later.
Fordham got the lead back to ten, 68-58, on a pair of Leonard free throws at 11:19 but the Dukes used a 9-4 run to cut the Fordham advantage back to five, 72-67, on a Kadeem Pantophlet layup with 5:57 left in the contest.
Fordham quickly got the lead back to ten, using a Gaston layup and Smith trey over the next 1:14. The closest the Dukes got from that point was five, 80-75, with 12 seconds left but Frazier hit a pair of free throws a second later for the 82-75 final.
Canty finished in double figures for the Rams, scoring 12 points to go with eight rebounds, while Thomas added eight points, four rebounds and four blocks and Rhoomes netted seven points, grabbed seven rebounds and added four blocks.
The Rams return to action on Sunday, January 13, as they host the University of Massachusetts Minutemen in the Rose Hill Gym at 1:00 PM in a game that will be televised live on the YES Network.
Thanks to Donald Dwyer from TheSportsCycle.com for the postgame video.