The long standing sports rivalry between the two Division 1 colleges in the Bronx, the Fordham University Rams (4-1) and the Manhattan College Jaspers (1-3), continued on Saturday afternoon in men’s basketball at the historic Rose Hill Gym on the Fordham campus. The game was the 108th between the two colleges that first met on the hardwood during the 1911-12 season.
While the local rivalry seems intense to the students and alumni of the two colleges, Fordham Coach Jeff Neubauer, in his first year coaching in the Bronx, did not sense that interest, “There was no lead-up. I wasn’t interviewed. The rose hill Gym was not sold out. I’ve been involved in bigger rivalries than this.”
Although, the Rams were given a pre-season ranking of last place in the Atlantic-10 Conference, they have made a strong start. The one-sided 76-64 victory over the Jaspers was their fourth straight win. They have not achieved that many consecutive wins since December of 2010 and have not begun a season with a 4-1 mark since 2000.
Manhattan Coach Steve Masiello spoke very complimentary toward Neubauer, “I thought Fordham did a great job. He’s [Neubauer] gotten the guys to buy into his philosophy.”
As in their last three wins, Fordham was dominant during the contest. The game was tied for the first 25 seconds before Fordham’s first basket. The Rams kept that lead for the first 10 minutes. The lead then changed hands eight times in the next five minutes. Fordham closed the half, 15-4 during the final five minutes to lead by nine, 42-33.
The Rams led by double figures throughout the second half except for 12 seconds. They led by at least 20 during the final eight minutes.
The team stats exhibited the reason for the Fordham win. The Rams shot 56.4% percent from the floor and 52.6 % form three-point range while holding the Jaspers to 37.3% and 26.1% respectively. They grabbed 39 boards to 27 for the Jaspers. The Rams began the contest ranking second in the A-10 in steals and blocks and built on their numbers with 10 steals and seven blocks.
The Jaspers poor record this season can be attributed to a multitude of injuries. Masiello explained, but looked upon the positive side, “When we get our 9 or 10 [players] we’ll be the Manhattan we’re supposed to be. This [adversity] is great for us. Now we can get a little made and use this for motivation.”
Mandell Thomas was voted the Mike Cohen MVP honor by reporters present. He led all scorers with 26, three below his career mark. He also grabbed five rebounds and had three steals.
Ryan Rhoomes achieved a double-double with 20 points, a career high, and 10 rebounds.
Fordham welcomes the St. John’s Red Storm to the Bronx on Wednesday, December 2. Manhattan travels to Siena on Friday, December 4 for its next contest.