Originally published in The Fordham Ram on February 8, 2016.
In the next game after one of its biggest wins of the season, an overtime victory against UMass, Fordham Men’s Basketball fell to a talented Saint Joseph’s team on Saturday with a final score of 82-60. The Rams have now lost both games against Saint Joseph’s this season.
Coming into the game, the big story was the absence of senior guard Mandell Thomas, who was sidelined due to injury. The Rams had only just recently gotten back to full strength, as freshman guard Joseph Chartouny finally returned after being injured for much of winter break. Additionally, sophomore forward Christian Sengfelder missed time before that. Thomas, the team’s leading scorer, was sorely missed in the matchup.
The game started in Fordham’s favor. After about two-and-a-half minutes of play, the Rams were the first on the board via a layup from senior forward Ryan Rhoomes. Less than a minute later, Chartouny came up with a big steal and fed the ball to Sengfelder on the right corner for a three-pointer. The Rams would end up going on a 7-0 run to start the game, with Rhoomes grabbing an offensive rebound and a put-back layup moments later.
Shortly thereafter, Saint Joseph’s came back with a vengeance. Hawks guard Shevar Newkirk put his team on the board with a three from the left wing. While the Rams would respond with another Rhoomes bucket to make it 9-3, they turned it over on their next possession due to a bad pass attempt under the basket, which let Saint Joseph’s get out in front for an easy fast-break layup to make it 9-5. After good shooting performances from Newkirk on their next two possessions, the Hawks suddenly held a 13-9 lead.
The Rams would battle back, sinking back-to-back layups from Sengfelder and junior guard Jon Severe to make it even at 13. From that point on, however, Saint Joseph’s was in control. Over the next seven minutes, the Hawks went on a 23-11 run, pushing the score to 36-24 with 2:45 left to play in the first half. The teams would trade free throws and layups to settle the score at 40-30 in Saint Joseph’s favor at the end of the first half. The Hawks’ lead was largely thanks to their three-point shooting, as they went 8-13 from behind the arc.
Fordham was strong out of the gate in the second half. Chartouny hit a three to bring the Rams within seven, though it would go right back to 10 after a three-point play for Hawks senior forward Isaiah Miles. The Rams would cut the lead down to single digits a couple more times in the ensuing minutes, but a Miles layup with 17:36 left once again put Saint Joe’s up by 10, and the lead did not fall below 10 for the rest of the game.
The Rams struggled with shot selection for the remainder of the game. They took several low-probability shots, including a three-point attempt from Severe with over 20 seconds left on the shot clock and 10 minutes remaining in the game. Saint Joseph’s grabbed the rebound and marched down the court, and Newkirk hit another three to give the Hawks their first 20-point lead of the game.
The Rams were out of sorts on both sides of the ball. They shot just 39 percent from the field and went just 8-29 from three. Saint Joseph’s outrebounded Fordham 41-28, and no Ram other than Rhoomes had more than four rebounds. While the Rams were able to force 14 turnovers, they committed 14 of their own. Head coach Jeff Neubauer expressed particular displeasure for this aspect of the Fordham loss.
“That’s been the story of our season,” said he said. “We don’t have value for the basketball.”
The leading scorer in the game was the Hawks’ Newkirk, who scored 17 on 6-9 shooting and 3-4 from three. He also added another two from the stripe. As a team, Saint Joseph’s shot 51 percent from the field, including 11-24 from three.
The Rams had two tied at 16, Rhoomes and Sengfelder. Sengfelder’s performance was one of the few bright spots for the Rams. He is certainly helping to spread the floor, as he was 4-6 from three–the sophomore forward seems to really be coming into his own. The next leading scorer for the Rams was Severe with 11, though most of those came after the Hawks’ lead seemed all but insurmountable.
“We had two guys – Ryan and Chris – that were able to produce offensively,” said Neubauer. “We need to have a night where we have five, six guys produce offensively”.
The Rams will hope to put this game past them and try to salvage a .500 record in Atlantic 10 conference play. To do so, they will have to go 6-2 over their final eight games. Their next game will be at home against St. Bonaventure at home on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Bonnies are currently fifth in the A-10 with a 14-6 (6-3 conference) record.