Bronx, NY—Fordham’s superstar Chris Gaston tied a career high with 35 points and also grabbed 16 rebounds, 15 on the offensive boards. The double-double was his 16th of the 2011-12 season. His 16 field goals and 30 attempts were career highs for the forward. Of his successful shooting he commented, “It was good positioning. I had a lot of easy shots. He was no less effective on defense as he blocked four shots and twice stole the ball.
The stats moved Gaston higher in the career standings of Fordham’s greatest basketball players. His 1,401 points is 11th and his 896 rebounds are sixth in the Fordham men’s rankings. If he returns for a senior season and plays as he has during his first three years in college, Gaston should rank second to Ed Conlin as the most productive basketball player in the university’s history.
The battle was very competitive during the first nine minutes of play. The score was tied seven times and the lead changed hands on 10 occasions. A three netted by Sam Mills of La Salle (18-11, 7-7) began a streak of 15 unanswered points by the visitors that provided the Explorers with a double digit advantage, 38-25, with 3:47 remaining in the half. The draught for Fordham scoring lasted nearly seven minutes.
Fordham coach Tom Pecora and his players did not give up and throw in the towel at that point. After the contest, Pecora related why, “At home, we’ve been there before and we’ve come back. I said, ‘Give them [the fans] a reason to get into it.’ There’s no quit in them [his team].”
Six minutes into the second half, the Rams (10-17, 3-11) made an offensive spurt that electrified the large crowd. Fordham scored 12 straight points to take back the lead, 53-52, with 11:49 left to play.
A basket by Ramon Galloway gave La Salle its final advantage, 62-61, at 5:16. Fordham scored the final five points of the game. Three minutes after Galloway netted his shot, a Devon McMillan layup gave Fordham the final lead. That advantage was reinforced by two layups by Gaston, one at 1:50 and the other with 34.9 seconds on the clock.
Fordham’s stifling defense in the second half kept the Explorers to shooting below 30% and to a total of only 20 points. Pecora explained its effect, “Defensively in the second half, we did a good job. We found a way to win the game because we defended our tails off.”
Other important contributors to the Fordham victory were Kervin Bristol who grabbed 10 boards and blocked eight shots and Branden Frazier who scored 11 points and dished eight assists.
Fordham will face the Temple Owls in its final game of the regular campaign on Saturday afternoon, March 3. It will be Senior Day at the Rose Hill Gym.