Brooklyn, NY—In the first contest of a rare college tripleheader at Barclays Center on Saturday afternoon, the Fordham Rams (2-8) edged the Princeton Tigers (3-6), 63-60, in a highly competitive and exciting contest. The Fordham win ended a five game losing streak. The visit to Brooklyn was the first for the basketball Rams since November 26, 1985, when they met Long Island University.
The score was tied seven times and the lead changed hands on 15 occasions before Fordham sophomore Ryan Canty, on a pass from Branden Frazier, put in a layup that gave Fordham its final lead, 61-60, with 8 seconds remaining on the clock. The victory was ensured as Bryan Smith netted two free throws with one second remaining in the game.
The first half was very efficiently played, a combined total of six turnovers by the two teams, and extremely competitive, six tied scores and ten lead changes. Each club could not amass an advantage of more than four points.
The first 11 minutes of the second half continued in the same vein. The Rams led, 43-42, with 9:05 left to play. The first of two scoring runs, 12 unanswered points netted by the Tigers, began at that time and led to a double digit lead for the Princeton, 54-42, with 5:39 remaining.
The second scoring run ended with a Fordham victory, The Rams ended the contest by scoring 20 of the final 26 points. Frazier, a junior, was the major contributor to the final drive that led to the win. With the Tigers leading by ten points, 56-46, late in the second half; Frazier scored his team’s next 13 points, outscoring the Tigers, 13-4. On the next play, Frazier fed Canty for the game winning layup.
Frazier paced all scorers with 19 points, 17 in the second half. He leads the Rams in scoring this season with an average of 15.6 points per game. Fordham coach Tom Pecora commented about Frazier, “He went to school four blocks from here. He’s a Brooklyn kid. He was very aggressive with the basketball. Branden keeps getting better and better.”
Sophomore Ryan Canty has started Fordham’s last four games. In those contests, he is averaging double figures in points and rebounds. He scored 12 and grabbed 15 boards against Princeton. Pecora said, “I’m very pleased with his development [and] he’s playing with a bad back.”
Another weapon that Fordham possessed on Saturday that was missing during the previous six games was the presence of Chris Gaston. The senior, out with an injury suffered on November 13, returned to action on Saturday. Gaston netted 16 points, grabbed five rebounds, blocked two shots and stole the ball twice. Pecora noted his presence, “His presence was great. Chris is a big part of this [win].”
St. John’s (8-3) defeated St. Francis (2-7), 77-60, in the second contest of the BROOKLYN HOOPS Winter Festival on Saturday. The game was the first for the Red Storm in the borough of Brooklyn in more than 56 years.
After a 9-2 run, the squad from Brooklyn reached a game high advantage of seven, 16-9, at 14:03 in the first half. After nine unanswered points by the Johnnies, they achieved the largest lead of the half, 38-26. The lead held throughout the second half for the victorious Red Storm.
The third and final game of the day featured undefeated Michigan (11-0). The Wolverines, ranked #3 on the nation at th3 start of their contest, kept their record unblemished after achieving an 81-65 win over the West Virginia Mountaineers (4-5).
Interestingly, Wolverine coach John Beilein, now in his sixth season at Michigan was coach at West Virginia in the previous five years. The two schools had never previously clashed on the basketball court.
Another college basketball tripleheader will be played at Barclays next Saturday. Tulane will face Hofstra in the first contest. Manhattan College will play South Carolina in game two. Seton Hall and Long Island University will conclude the tripleheader.