The high flying Dayton Flyers (23-9) triumphed over the Rams of Fordham (10-21) after a first half of nearly unstoppable shooting from the floor, (17 for 27) 63 %. At the same time, they prevented Fordham from putting the ball in the basket. Fordham only netted 9 for 33 (27.3 %) during the first half.
A 3 pointer by Vee Sanford at 15:51 raised the lead of the Flyers to double digits. His first basket of the contest set the tone for a perfect shooting game for the 6-4 senior. When the buzzer sounded to end the game, Sanford had netted all nine of his shots from the floor, three of three from beyond the arc and both of his attempts from the free throw line.
After the contest, Sanford responded to the praise of a reporter, “Far from being perfect. Just a good night and I’m glad my teammates could find me. I think the last game I had like this was in high school.”
After the score, 18-8, reached double figures again, the Flyers continued to increase their lead until reaching a game high lead of 22 (47-25) with 1:58 left on the clock in the first half. The score was 50-31 at the half.
Each coach described his team’s performance in the initial period. Fordham’s Tom Pecora remarked, “We started the game like we ran out of gas. We were tired from last night. They [Dayton] really made some great shots.”
On the other hand, Archie Miller of Dayton opined, “I thought we got off to an outstanding start on both ends of the floor.”
The Rams began the second half with great intensity and improved shooting. The Rams cut the deficit to seven at 14:30 after a beginning scoring run of 17-5. Pecora explained his halftime talk to his team, “I didn’t even yell to be quite honest…I really just talked to them about having pride…If you go out and you give the effort you’re capable of, the score will take care of itself. Maybe we’ll get back in the game and maybe we’ll steal it.”
Although Fordham outscored Dayton , 43-37, in the second half, the Rams could not prevent Dayton from shooting more than 50% from the floor. Thus, the lead increased to 87-74 at the conclusion of the contest.
At the conclusion of the game, Miller stated, “Advancing is the greatest feeling in the world this time of year.” His team did advance and will face the #4 seed Saint Joseph’s, on Friday afternoon in the quarter-finals.
Branden Frazier, a young man from the neighborhood where Barclays is located, ended his career at Fordham in sterling fashion by scoring 30 points. The result of his effort raised his career point total at Fordham to 1,642 and his total of assists to 492.
The 6-1 senior explained the meaning of ending his college career in his own neighborhood, “It was good to be home, growing up down the block. I just felt comfortable playing and had a lot of friends and family here…To have everyone stand up for me and clapping, even people who were not Fordham fans, meant a lot to me, just to go down and hug every single person that I went to battle with in every game is special.”
Pecora talked of his respect for Frazier, “He was coming with us at Hofstra and when I decided to make a move and come to Fordham, it was one of the first phone calls I got…Branden said ’Coach, I’m with you, it you’ll have me.’ He’s grown as a player; he’s grown as a person; he’s graduating; he’s a fine student, and you can see the way people react to him here and everywhere. He’s just a wonderful kid. I have an 11 year-old son and if he can be like him, I’d be blessed.”