Men's Basketball Closes Out Season with Loss to #23/25 Temple
March 3, 2012
Bronx, N.Y. - It has been a while since the Fordham University men's basketball team defeated two nationally ranked opponents in a season. After knocking off Harvard earlier this year, the Rams thought today might be number two for them as they hung tough with #23/25 Temple University. But in the end, the Owls pulled out an 80-60 Atlantic 10 win over the Fordham in a sold out Rose Hill Gym on Senior Day.
With the loss, Fordham closes out the 2011-12 season with a 10-19 overall record, 3-13 in the Atlantic 10, while Temple improves to 24-6 overall, 13-3 in the conference.
"I think that's a really good basketball team," said Fordham head coach Tom Pecora of Temple. "I though throughout the year they were the cream of the crop of the conference. I think the game came down to our turnovers. Both teams shot well from the field but the problem was we had too many turnovers."
The Rams shot a season-high 54.2% (26-48) from the field in the game, 59.1% (13-22) in the second half, but Temple forced Fordham into committing 16 turnovers on the day and the Owls took full advantage of the Rams' miscues, converting them into 28 points.
The Rams got off to a slow start, trailing 9-0 2:21 into the game and the Owls built the lead to as many as ten three times, the final at 18-8 following an Anthony Lee layup with 13:12 left in the first.
Branden Frazier answered the Lee layup with a pair of free throws, the first of five straight Fordham points, as the Rams cut the deficit to five, 18-13, following a Lamount Samuell free throw with 11:00 remaining.
Temple responded with seven unanswered points to take a 12-point lead, 25-13, and the Owls led by eleven, 34-23, with 2:54 remaining when the Rams went used a 7-0 spurt to trim the Temple lead to four, 34-30, 1:30 later. Alberto Estwick started the run with a layup and Frazier finished it with a pair of jumpers.
Baskets from Michael Eric and Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson over the first 36 seconds of the second half bumped the Owls' lead to 14, 44-30, and Temple led by 13, 53-40, with 15:37 left when a Bryan Smith three-pointer and Chris Gaston jumper pulled Fordham to within eight, 53-45, two minutes later.
The Rams trailed by nine, 64-55, following a Samuell layup with 7:39 left but the Owls put the game away with a 16-2 run as Temple took a commanding 80-57 lead with 1:32 left.
Gaston paced Fordham with 18 points, nine rebounds and three steals while Frazier added eleven points and four assists and Estwick finished with nine points.