Men's Basketball Wins Battle of the Bronx, 73-59
Dec. 9, 2010
Bronx, N.Y. - As a freshman back in 2006, Fordham's Brenton Butler won the Mike Cohen MVP award at the annual Fordham-Manhattan game. Five years later, Butler again won the award, scoring a game-high 21 points and adding four assists to bookend his career and lead the Rams to a 73-59 win over Jaspers in the annual Battle of the Bronx in the Rose Hill Gym.
With the win, the Rams win back-to-back games for the first time since February of 2008 and even their record at 4-4. Manhattan, who has now dropped seven straight, falls to 2-7 on the year.
Butler, who was playing in his fifth Fordham-Manhattan game due to an injury in 2008-09 which forced him to miss all but the first seven games of the year, scored 18 points in his first Fordham-Manhattan battle. Tonight, he shot 6-for-12 from the field and 8-for-10 from the charity stripe as the Rams snapped a two-game Manhattan winnings streak in the all-time series.
Butler is the first Fordham player to win two Mike Cohen MVP awards. The award is named in the memory of Mike Cohen, a revered figure in college athletics in the area, first serving as Manhattan's sports information director, and later as a sports consultant to Fordham before passing away in 1988.
Things didn't look good for the Rams early as leading scorer and rebounder Chris Gaston picked up three fouls in the first ten minutes and was forced to the bench. But junior Kervin Bristol picked up the slack, notching his first double-double with eleven points and a game-high 16 rebounds while also blocking two shots.
"Kervin Bristol had a great breakout game," said Fordham head coach Tom Pecora. "That's what we expect from him. He's capable of a double-double every game. And when he and Chris Gaston both rebound for us we can be a tough team."
Gaston's third foul of the first half was a technical and Nick Walsh hit both free throws to give Manhattan a 23-17 lead with 9:17 remaining in the half.
With Gaston on the bench, the other players stepped up as a Marvin Dominique layup a minute later started a 9-0 Fordham run as the Rams took a 26-23 lead with 6:21 left in the period. After the Dominique layup, Butler added a basket and Alberto Estwick nailed a three-pointer to put the Rams up, 24-23. Dominique capped the run with a jumper as Fordham took the three-point lead.
The lead was short lived as Walsh answered with a three-pointer for the Jaspers forty seconds later to knot the contest at 26.
Manhattan would tie the game again 1:41 later at 28 before Fordham closed out the half with a 7-2 run to take a 35-30 lead at the break.
The Rams opened the second half with a 7-2 spurt to take a 42-32 lead on a Branden Frazier three-pointer 2:15 into the half and would build the lead to eleven, 48-37, following a Gaston dunk with 15:30 left.
A Kidani Brutus three-pointer 17 seconds later pulled Manhattan to within eight, 48-40, but Fordham used a 10-2 run to take a 58-42 lead with 11:20 remaining and the closest the Jaspers would get from that point would be 12, 71-59, on a Brutus three with 44 seconds left on the clock.
Estwick added 14 points and five rebounds for the Rams while Gaston finished with 13 points and eight rebounds.
The Rams will next be in action on Saturday night, December 11th, as they host the St. John's University Red Storm in the Rose Hill Gym at 7:00 p.m. The game is sold out but will be televised live on the YES Network.