Mancuso: Fordham Wins Big and Ready for Conference Play

This was a game that the  Fordham Rams needed and they responded Wednesday evening up at Rose Hill in the Bronx.  Central Connecticut State, losers of their five and in the Northeast Conference was in a struggle. Fordham, dropped their last six games and finished a stretch of non conference games before opening Atlantic 10 play next Thursday night at home.

Fordham responded and some who have not had much playing time, well they made an impression in a 83-60 win. Yes, these are the games that any coach will take prior to the opening of conference play

“Proud of the effort,” coach Jeff Neubauer said. “We got a lift from five guys off the bench that came in and gave our team a boost. Something we need right now.  We need bench minutes and proud of the guys who played for the first time this season.”

Four of the regular starters scored in double figures.  Antwoine Anderson scored 15 points, Christian Sengfelder and Joseph Chartouny added 14. Javontae Hawkins who is averaging a team high 13.3 per game finished with 16.

That is production and needed because the Rams during their skid were not converting many shots from the point, or on the run.  So a struggling Blue Devils team may have been the remedy to get Fordham going., Central Connecticut though, gave Duquesne a game a week ago before losing that one 70-67.

And when the Rams take the court again next week, Duquesne is their first A-10 Conference opponent.

“Tonight we went to shoot the ball with confidence,” Anderson said. “We put that in our head and came out and do what he said,” referring to what coach Neubauer wanted. “Bring the confidence to the future games we have.”

Fordham as a team shot better than 56.6 percent.  They also caused turnovers and that was another issue that needed some attention during the losing streak.

“Difference was we forced 24 turnovers,” said Neubauer. “That allowed us to get away from them.” It was also the first game the Rams scored more than 80 points since their 85-69 win over Lipscomb and that came in their fifth game.

And it was the play of newcomers. They came off the bench and those minutes on the court were a major boost for the team. With the Rams slowly getting back to health, Chartouny is banged up a bit, these are the role players that can have an impact when conference play begins.

Neubauer saw his freshman forward, Sinan Saglam on the court. The 6 ft-6-inch native, from Istanbul Turkey, in nine minutes scored five points and passed the ball well to Chartouny.  David Pekarek and Jesse Bunting who had limited minutes also gave the regulars some time to regroup and get ready for conference play.

However, when that conference schedule begins these are the guys that will be called on. Neubauer was aware that giving them some playing time would be significant.

“Sinan, probably, the one who did the most effective and passed the ball well to Joe,” he said. “He’s athletic and so for these guys new to Division 1 basketball this is a tough adjustment to come to this level and they gave us a boost.”

He added, “ We needed contributions from different angles and tonight we got it from different guys.”

A boost that was needed. Fordham is now 6-7 after their first 13 games and that test is over that prepared them to grow more and be conscious of their defense.

Neubauer said, this is still a growing process with the competitive A-10 Conference slate on the horizon. He will give his team a few days off to enjoy the Christmas holiday and then it is back to work.

“The conference is a process,: said Neubauer. “We are about to go out there and grow. Not like we are in the Atlantic 10 and out growth is finished. Our growth was good tonight and we have to stay consistent with it.”

Now the real season begins for these Rams. And if the growth is still a process they will quickly find out starting next week.

Comment Rich Mancuso: [email protected]  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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