Bronx, NY—The first games of the 2013-14 college basketball season were played on Friday throughout the nation. In the Bronx, the men’s and women’s teams of Fordham University were both victorious in a Friday night doubleheader at the Rose Hill Gym.
The University of San Francisco Dons travelled 3,000 miles to drop its opening game, 80-66, to Fordham. In the second game, the Fordham men crushed the St. Francis University Red Flash, 87-67.
The visitors from California showed no ill effects from their cross country journey early in the contest as they took an eight point advantage with 11:47 remaining in the half. The Rams then scored nine unanswered points to take a 21-20 lead.
The half ended with Fordham ahead by nine points, 47-38. The first 20 minutes were closer than the lead appeared as there were three ties and six lead changes. Fordham controlled the boards with 26 rebounds to 11 for the Dons, which led the Rams to 15 second chance points to four for the Dons. The visitors led the Rams 11-0 in points off turnovers.
The top scorer of the first half was Hannah Missry. The New Jersey native continued her 3-point excellence from high school as she netted 4 for 8 from the perimeter to score 14 for the half.
The Rams quickly moved to a double digit lead in the second half. A 3 by Erin Rooney at 8:19 gave Fordham a game high advantage of 18 (67-49). They coasted to the victory.
Fordham senior Abigail Corning led the game in points with 22, 14 in the second half. Rooney achieved a double-double, 19 points and 10 boards. Missry finished with 14 and another Jersey freshman, Danielle Padavano, scored 10.
After two games on the road, the Rams will return to the Bronx to face University of the Pacific on Sunday afternoon, November 17.
Thirty minutes after the women’s contest concluded, the men tipped-off. As in the opening contest, the two teams competed evenly during the early minutes. The score was tied at 19 with 8:57 left in the first half. The Rams scored 17 straight points to gain the ninth lead change of the half and a double figure advantage that was never overturned. The half ended with Fordham leading, 45-27. Mandell Thomas paced the Rams with 13 points and six boards.
Fordham started the second half with a 12-4 scoring run to increase its advantage to 26 (57-31) at 16:24. The Rams were never challenged as their lead only dropped below 20 once in the final 18 minutes. Fordham coach Tom Pecora commented on the late game surge, “We decided to bear down, especially in the second half.
Freshman Jon Severe, New York State’s Mr. Basketball as a senior last year at Christ the King high school, led all scorers with 28 points, a Fordham mark for the first game of a college freshman. Severe was especially accurate from long range, netting 7 of 12 from 3=point range.
Seniors Bryan Smith (18) and Brandon Frazier (10) also scored in double figures. Pecora praised the two, “Great support and leadership from Bryan and Brandon.” Of Smith’s 7 for 14 shooting, Pecora remarked, “Bryan’s an exceptional shooter.”
Pecora although pleased with the result, warned his players and the team’s rooters against being overconfident, “It’s very good for us to come out of the gate like this. Every night is not going to be like this, but we hope many are.”
After a road contest at Syracuse, The Rams return home on Friday, November 15 to play Lehigh.