(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)
The Red Storm of St. John’s (4-3) visited the Fordham Rams (5-1) on Wednesday night for the first time since December of 2010. That visit five years ago resulted in a predictable sell-out, but a surprising victory for the Rams. That rare Fordham win was the 21st of the 86 games the two New York City teams had played. The disparity between the two has grown in the recent past as Fordham had only won 3 of the past 37 contests until the next upset on Wednesday.
A large and enthusiastic crowd of 3,068 nearly filled the historic Rose Hill Gym on Fordham’s Bronx campus to see the Rams dominate the Red Storm throughout the 40 minutes of action. For the fourth time in its five victories, The Rams never trailed. The Rams compiled a five game winning streak for the first time since the 2006-7 season. They have a 5-1 mark to begin a season for the first time since 2000-1. Things have changed at Fordham.
The game was tied, 0-0, for only 1:33 until Ryan Rhoomes scored the first points of the contest. The 6-8 native of Queens was the star of the game with 26 points and 12 boards. He achieved his second consecutive double-double and his second consecutive game with a career high in scoring. The senior has developed the ability to position himself under the basket to receive the ball for a quick layup. He scored on 10 of 13 shots from the floor. He leads the Atlantic-10 with 43 baskets on only 58 shots. His 12 rebounds raised his college total to 684, 13th on the Fordham career list.
Before the current season began, Fordham’s new head coach, Jeff Neubauer, said of Rhoomes, “He’s a very unselfish player. I’m trying to encourage him to shoot more.” After Wednesday game, he again complimented his senior, “He’s made a lot of progress in the past eight months [since I was hired]. He’s very unselfish. He’s taking good shots. He’s certainly stepped up.”
Rhoomes, who took the advice of his new coach seriously, is only second on the team in number of shots from the floor to Fordham’s leading scorer, Mandell Thomas. Rhoomes spoke of his positive feeling with the new coach, “It’s been fun. We have a system. We’re more of a confident team.”
Coach Neubauer modestly spoke of the win by commenting on the difference between the two teams, “St. John’s has whole new team. We inherited some really talented players.”
Although chosen to finish last in a pre-season A-10 poll, Fordham has made great strides forward. The 12 steals in the game raised their season total to 60, second in the A-10 and their 5 blocks raised the season total to 34, first in the conference.