Men's Basketball Closes Out Season with 76-72 Win at St. Bonaventure
March 9, 2013
St. Bonaventure, N.Y. - Fordham's Chris Gaston appeared in 100 games for Fordham University entering today's season finale at St. Bonaventure University and he has seen a lot. But there was one thing he had yet to experience in his four years in the Maroon and White. An Atlantic 10 road win. It took until his final career game but Gaston was finally able to know how it feels to be victorious in an A-10 road game as the senior forward scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Rams to a 76-72 win over the Bonnies in the Reilly Center on Saturday.
The win snaps a 36-game Atlantic 10 road losing streak for Fordham, whose last win also came at the Reilly Center, a 67-65 win over St. Bonaventure on January 28, 2009. It also breaks a ten-game losing streak on the season.
"I'm very proud of the way the team competed today," said Fordham head coach Tom Pecora. "The most important stat in basketball is offensive shooting percentage and we shot the ball well today, especially in the second half, which is something we hadn't been doing for most of the year."
It was only fitting that the Rams ended the season on the road as they led the Atlantic 10 with 20 regular season games away from home in 2012-2013. But unlike 18 of the previous 19 games away from the Rose Hill Gym (the Rams defeated Penn at Lehigh in the consolation bracket of NIT Tip Off), Fordham received timely shooting and made plays down the stretch to take home a win.
Along with the hot shooting, the Rams controlled the boards, especially in the second half. Fordham outrebounded St. Bonaventure, 35-24, but allowed the Bonnies just six total rebounds in the second half. Included in the 35 Fordham boards were 12 offensive rebounds which the Rams turned into 21 points, outscoring St. Bonaventure 21-6 in second chance points. The Rams also controlled the paint, netting 42 points in the lane to 28 for the Bonnies.
Gaston made the most of his finale, shooting a sizzling 10-for-14 from the field and sinking both of his free throws while coming up just one rebound shy of a double-double. The 22 points brings his career total to 1,672, good for eighth place on the Fordham all-time list, while his nine rebounds brings his career rebounding total to 1,038, placing him third on the school's career rebounding list.
Freshman Mandell Thomas, playing in front of about 50 members of his family and friends who made the trip from his native Rochester, ¬finished his rookie campaign with a strong game, matching Gaston with 22 points, shooting 9-for-18 from the field. He connected on three three-pointers but none more important than a trifecta he buried with the shot clock winding down inside the final minute that gave Fordham a four-point lead.
The Rams again used most of the shot clock until Frazier found Thomas at the top of the key and Thomas nailed a three-pointer with 24 ticks on the clock to give the Rams a 74-70 lead.
Following a St. Bonaventure time out, the Bonnies got a quick two points on an Eric Mosley layup with 12 seconds left and the Bonnies immediately fouled Frazier on the inbound pass. Frazier calmly sank both free throws with ten seconds left and a last second St. Bonaventure three-point attempt fell off the rim to Gaston, who celebrated his first ever Atlantic 10 road win.
The Rams trailed by six at the half, 41-35, but scored the first eight points of the second half to take a 42-41 lead on a Ryan Canty put back of his own miss 2:07 into the period. Gaston had the first four points in the half while Thomas chipped in the other two on a dunk following a Jermaine Myers steal.
Fordham would get the lead to three, 46-43, on a Gaston layup with 15:55 remaining before a Youssoou Ndoye three-point play 30 seconds later tied the game at 46.
A Gaston jumper at the 14:52 mark started a 9-0 Fordham spurt as the Rams took their biggest lead of the day, 55-46, following a Thomas jumper with 12:35 left. Gaston led the charge with four of the nine Fordham points.
The Bonnies responded with a 17-4 run over the next six minutes to take a 63-59 lead with 6:48 on the clock. After being held without a three-pointer over the first eight minutes of the second half, St. Bonaventure hit three in the run, including one by Demitrius Congers to cap the run.
A Myers three, his only points of the game, pulled the Rams within one, with 6:16 left and ignited a 10-0 Fordham run that helped the Rams take a 69-63 lead on a Gaston three-point play at the 2:50 mark.
The Rams went scoreless over the next 2:26 as the Bonnie made it a one-point game, 71-70, before Thomas hit his big three-pointer.
Fordham opened a four-point lead over the first 3:35, 12-8, before the Bonnies went on a 12-3 run to take a 20-15 lead with 12:56 left in the half.
A Thomas three-pointer with 11:10 on the clock helped Fordham whittle the St. Bonaventure lead down to two, 22-20, before the Bonnies responded with a 13-2 spurt to take their biggest lead of the day, 35-24, at the 6:31 mark.
A Jeffrey Short three-pointer was the first three of nine straight Fordham points as the Rams cut their deficit to two, 35-33, on a Thomas layup with 2:01 left.
The Rams trailed by four in the final seconds of the half with a chance to cut the deficit to two at the break but a turnover led to a Bonnies layup just before the buzzer as the home squad took a 41-35 lead onto the break.
Frazier finished with 16 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Rams while Canty added four points and six rebounds and Myers dished out a game-high eight assists.
The Rams close out the 2012-2013 season with a 7-24 overall record, 3-13 in the Atlantic 10, while St. Bonaventure closes out its season with a 14-15 overall record, 7-9 in the conference, as the loss cost the Bonnies a berth in the Atlantic 10 Championship.