Men's Basketball Falls to Pitt in Preseason NIT
Nov. 12, 2012
Pittsburgh, Pa. - Over 70 years ago, Fordham and Pittsburgh met in Madison Square Garden in the first ever televised college basketball game, a game won by the Panthers. Tonight, the teams squared off again and again the game was televised. And unfortunately for the Rams the result was the same as Pittsburgh defeated Fordham, 86-51, in the first round of the 2012 NIT Season Tip-Off in the Petersen Event Center.
With the loss, the Rams fall to 0-2 on the season, while Pitt remains undefeated at 2-0.
If the game had a soundtrack, Olivia Newtown John would have one of her songs on the cd as the Panthers got physical, outrebounding the Rams, 36-24, outscoring Fordham in the paint, 42-12, and forcing 19 Ram turnovers.
"One of the keys to the game we told our guys was not to be out physicaled," said Fordham head coach Tom Pecora. "Pitt is a very good basketball team. It was like eighth or ninth graders playing the seniors in high school. But we've got to learn from this how to play more physical."
Another key to Pittsburgh's win was that they found a way to do something that most other Fordham opponents haven't been able to do. Stop Chris Gaston. The Panthers held Gaston to just four points and six rebounds. The four points is the second lowest offensive output in Gaston's career, the first being two points against Rhode Island last year.
After the Panthers jumped out to a 7-0 lead, a Bryan Smith three-pointer got the Rams on the board with 16:33 left in the first. A 5-2 spurt pushed the Pitt lead back to seven, 12-5, with 15:02 remaining but the Rams answered with back-to-back treys from Jermaine Myers and Smith to make it a one-point game, 12-11, just under a minute later.
The Rams trailed by one again later in the half, 16-15, following a pair of Branden Frazier free throws, but Fordham scored just three more points the rest of the half, those coming on a Smith three-pointer with 4:41 left as Pitt outscored Fordham 21-3 over the final ten minutes of the half to take a 37-18 lead at the break.
Fordham cut the Pitt advantage back to 16 early in the second half on a Jeff Short three-pointer but four straight Pitt points made it a 20-point game, 47-27, with 14:17 left.
Smith and Short led the Rams with eleven points each while Mandell Thomas added seven.
The Rams will now face the loser of the Lehigh-Robert Morris game on Tuesday night at 6:00 p.m. in the Petersen Events Center.