(Jason Schott – NY Sports Day)
The Fordham Rams have a lot to build on from their first season with Jeff Neubauer at the helm, as they went 17-12 in the regular season.
They entered the Atlantic 10 Tournament at Barclays Center with some expectations and entered the tournament as an eighth seed, taking on ninth-seeded Richmond on Thursday afternoon.
Richmond came out firing, shooting 64 percent, 16-25, from the field, to take a 38-22 lead at the end of the first half.
Fordham flipped the script in the opening minutes of the second half, as they went on a 17-4 run to pull within three. The Rams pulled within a point, 46-45, on a Ryan Rhoomes layup with 8:42 remaining.
That was the last point Fordham would score for just over three minutes, and Richmond opened up a six-point edge, 51-45, with 5:50 left.
Richmond kept it going and opened up a 13-point lead, 61-48, on ShawnDre’ Jones free throws with 3:28 left.
The Spiders closed the game on a 24-10 run to win walking away, 77-5.
Joseph Chartouny led the way for Fordham with 19 points (6-19 FG, 3-7 threes), with five rebounds and four assists. Ryan Rhoomes had 18 points on 8-12 from the field, with 14 rebounds and three assists.
Chartouny and Rhoomes combined for 37 of Fordham’s 55 points.
Richmond had a balanced attack, as T.J. Cline and ShawnDre’ Jones had 17 points each and Terry Allen and Khwan Fore each scored 10 points.
Fordham Head Coach Jeff Neubauer said of the season and the game, “Really pleased with the effort our team has given all season, starting with our seniors. We have three seniors that have been terrific, and they’ve been eager to learn, and they’ve really led in so many different ways, all the way from our seniors to our freshmen. Tonight Richmond did a lot of good things that made our lives difficult, but just really pleased with what we’ve gotten out of our team and the way they’ve competed all season.”
Neubauer said of possibly playing in a postseason tournament, “I think it would be a good step for Fordham at this point, and that’s something that will play out here over the next few days. Our team is giving great effort, and they’ve really played together and gotten better. There’s certain times I think when you have a team that has a winning record that you’re not interested in continuing to play, but our group is so close and they’re so excited about basketball that I do think it would be a good idea.”
Chartouny said of what Richmond did to make it so difficult for Fordham on offense, :I mean, I think they just played hard, just gave more effort than us, and they didn’t turn over the ball like we did.” Chartouny had six turnovers and Fordham had 14 overall.
On if Richmond did anything differently on defense from their first two match-ups on the defensive side, Chartouny said, “I think they just finished every play they made instead of us missing lay-ups and just shots, they just almost made everything. So they did a good job with that.”
Rhoomes said of the Richmond defense, “They did a good job denying me the ball the first half, not letting me get any touches. I had a hard time scoring. And second half they probably had a hard time with handling me and my teammates. They went out there and did what they had to do. I give them credit. They’re a real good team, beat us three times this year.”
Neubauer said of Fordham fading a little bit down stretch, possibly due to the fact they put in so much effort in the second half, “It certainly did feel like that, so I think that’s a fair analysis. The biggest thing Richmond did, they’re not a pressing team, but we’ve had so much trouble this year dribbling and catching that you, know, Chris Mooney (of Richmond) is a terrific coach, and so they pressed us. It really gave us trouble.”