Men's Basketball Comes Up Short with Saint Joseph's, 66-62
Jan. 30, 2013
Bronx, N.Y. - One team entered the Atlantic 10 season as the preseason favorite to win the conference title. The other was tabbed to finish 14th and for forty minutes tonight in the Rose Hill Gym it was virtually impossible to tell one team from the other. But it was the preseason favorite who held firm down the stretch as Saint Joseph's University outlasted Fordham University, 66-62, for the win.
With the loss, Fordham falls to 6-14 overall, 2-4 in the Atlantic 10, while Saint Joseph's improves to 12-7 overall, 4-2 in the conference.
With senior Chris Gaston still sidelined with an injury, junior Branden Frazier was the lone upperclassman for Fordham and he did everything humanly possible to guide the Rams to a win, scoring a game-high 24 points and adding a team-best five assists. It was his second straight 20-point game and his eighth of the season.
But in the end, Frazier's heroics came up just short as he went to the line with 26 seconds left and the Rams trailing by one, 63-62, and missed the front end of a one-and-one.
After the Hawks grabbed the rebound, Carl Jones was fouled but he was only able to sink one of his two free throws with 20 seconds on the clock. Mandell Thomas corralled the rebound for the Rams and Fordham called a time out with 7.9 seconds left.
On the inbounds pass, Frazier took the ball from Travion Leonard but was called for stepping on the sideline, giving the ball back to the Hawks. Jones was fouled again, sinking two free throws with seven seconds left, as Saint Joseph's secured the 66-62 win.
"There's no one I'd rather take the last shot than him and no one I'd rather have at the free throw line than him," said Fordham head coach Tom Pecora, referring to Frazier. "Saint Joseph's is a veteran team and they made some veteran plays down the stretch. We did a lot of good things but in the end, it was an opportunity missed for us."
The game was close throughout, with nine ties and 23 lead changes, including seven over the final three minutes. A Thomas dunk with 2:49 left started the stretch of late lead changes, giving Fordham a 56-55 lead, but a Halil Kanacevic three-pointer twenty seconds later put the Hawks up two, 59-57.
Thomas hit one of two free throws with 2:09 remaining and Ryan Canty put the Rams back in the lead 39 seconds later with a layup but he was unable to complete the three-point play.
Jones was then fouled driving to the hoop and hit both free throws as Saint Joseph's took a 61-60 lead with 1:02 on the clock. But Frazier answered with a pair of charity shots himself, giving the Rams their final lead of the game, 63-62, with 47 seconds left.
On the ensuing possession, Frazier fouled Jones with 33 seconds remaining and the two Jones free throws put Saint Joseph's ahead for good, 63-62.
The Hawks opened the game with a 9-2 spurt over the first four minutes before the Rams used a 7-2 run to trim the Hawk's advantage back to two, 11-9, on a Frazier layup with 13:50 left in the half.
Saint Joseph's got the lead back to four, 15-11, three minutes later and would lead by three, 24-21 with 6:19 remaining when the Rams scored nine unanswered points to take their biggest lead of the night, 30-24, on a Thomas three-pointer with 46 seconds left in the half.
But a Ronald Roberts jumper with 32 seconds left made it a 30-26 game and, after a Frazier missed jumper, the Hawks were able to fast break and scored on an alley-oop from Langston Galloway to C.J. Aiken at the buzzer to make it a two-point game, 30-28, at the break.
An Aiken three 43 seconds into the second half put the Hawks up one, 31-30, but Thomas responded with a three for the Rams to help Fordham regain the lead.
The lead went back and forth until the Hawks used a 5-0 spurt to turn a 45-45 tie into a 50-45 lead midway through the half. But Frazier nailed a jumper and a three-pointer over the next minute to knot the game at 50 and neither team held a lead of more than two points the rest of the way until the final seconds.
Thomas matched his season-high with 17 points and he added six rebounds while Canty added 14 rebounds and six points.
The Rams return to action on Saturday, February 2, as they travel to Richmond, Virginia, to face the VCU Rams in an Atlantic 10 contest at 7:00 p.m.