Alberto Estwick Leads Men's Basketball over Rhode Island
Jan. 19, 2012
Bronx, N.Y. - He played in 99 career games entering tonight's contest, most of them not very memorable. But Fordham senior guard Alberto Estwick made sure that his 100th career game would be one that Ram fans wouldn't soon forget, scoring a season-high 18 points, including the game-winning three-pointer with 28 seconds left to lead Fordham to a 66-64 Atlantic 10 victory over Rhode Island in the Rose Hill Gym.
With the win, Fordham snaps a three-game losing streak and improves to 8-9 overall, 1-3 in the Atlantic 10, while Rhode Island falls to 3-16, 0-4 in the conference.
All season long, Fordham head coach Tom Pecora was looking for veteran leadership for his young charges. Tonight, Estwick, provided it, shooting 7-for-9 from the field, including 4-for-6 from behind the arc.
"I'm thrilled for Alberto," said Pecora. "As a senior he stuck in there through good times and bad times and tolerated everything. When he took that last shot in the corner I said `God, if anyone deserves t make this, it's this kid'. We didn't reach many of our game goals tonight but when you play poorly and win, that's a good sign."
Estwick's heroics were magnified by the fact that the Rams' played the entire second half without their leading scorer and rebounder, Chris Gaston, who was ejected from the game late in the first half following a flagrant technical foul. Estwick wasn't alone in making up for Gaston's absence as Branden Frazier netted a team-high 19 points while also dishing out six assists, and Kervin Bristol and Marvin Dominique made up for Gaston's lost rebounds, with each Ram grabbing eight missed shots.
Fordham trailed by four, 64-60, with 3:24 left following a Jonathan Holton dunk for Rhode Island but Frazier answered with a trifecta 22 seconds later to make it a one-point game, 64-63.
Billy Baron tried to increase the Rhode Island lead with 2:44 left but Bristol got a hand on his layup and swatted it away. Fordham then had three shots over the next minute but failed to connect on any of them, However, the Rams were able to corral the offensive rebound off each miss but with 1:33 remaining, Frazier was whistled for an offensive foul, giving the ball back to Rhode Island.
Rhode Island worked the clock down to just over a minute when Mike Powell missed a jumper but T.J. Buchanan grabbed the offensive rebound. Rhode Island took another twenty seconds off the clock before Powell missed a driving layup. At first things looked good for Rhode Island as Holton got the offensive rebound, but Bryan Smith stripped him of the ball, giving Fordham possession.
Fordham quickly capitalized on the miscue as Frazier drove the lane and dished to a wide open Estwick in the left corner and Estwick buried the three-pointer to give Fordham a 64-62 lead with 28 ticks left on the clock.
On the ensuing possession, Rhode Island worked the ball to Holton down low but his layup rolled off the rim and the rebound went out of bounds off a Rhode Island player with 7.7 seconds left. Fordham inbounded the ball but Smith was whistled for stepping out of bounds at midcourt with just over five seconds left, giving Rhode Island one last chance. But Baron's three-pointer at the buzzer bounced off the back of the rim as the horn sounded.
Fordham got off to a slow start, trailing Rhode Island 11-2, 4:19 into the game as Fordham missed four of its first five shots.
Rhode Island got the lead back to six, 35-29, with 3:40 left but Fordham closed out the period with an 11-5 spurt to pull to within two, 40-38, at the break, thanks to an Estwick jumper with six seconds remaining.
The second half started out the same as the first for Fordham, who couldn't buy a basket over the first six minutes as Rhode Island took a five-point lead, 48-43, on a Baron three-pointer with 13:44 left.
A Lamount Samuell layup, four free throws from Dominique, and a Frazier basket over the next two minutes put the Rams up three, 51-48, with 11:14 remaining but Rhode Island regained the lead, 56-53, with an 8-2 run, capped by a Dominique McKoy dunk with 9:19 left.
A Frazier free throw and a McMillan bucket retied the game for Fordham at 56, with just over seven minutes left but a 6-1 Rhode Island run helped the visitors take a 62-57 advantage on a Powell jumper with 4:27 left.
An Estwick three made it a two-point game with just over four minutes left before Holton gave Rhode Island the four-point lead on a dunk with 3:24 remaining.
McMillan also finished in double figures for Fordham with eleven points while Smith finished with five steals.
Fordham will return to action on Saturday, January 21st, as the Rams travel up to St. Bonaventure, New York, to face the St. Bonaventure University Bonnies in an Atlantic 10 contest at 2:00 p.m.