Take this win Wednesday night for Fordham in overtime over VCU up at Rose Hill as memorable and perhaps their biggest Atlantic-10 Conference one at home. The fact it was the first win in seven tries for the Rams over VCU also had some significance and Antwoine Anderson got that deciding basket.
Anderson was in the pile after his jump shot at the buzzer decided the 69-67 win and Fordham, 8-11 overall got their second conference win. Well deserved for a Fordham team that had lost nine of their last ten games and coach Jeff Neubauer had the right player with the ball.
But it was, according to Neubauer one of the proudest wins in his 12-year coaching career. Anderson was a part of it, so was a win at Davidson last week. That was a game before the 20-point loss to St. Bonaventure and something that, again, according to Neubauer, got his team this well deserved win.
“Certainly proud of this basketball team and we had a win a week ago with Davidson,”said Neubauer. That was a game where he saw his Rams starting to move the ball properly against a tough Davidson defense.
They did better against VCU shutting down their their junior forward Justin Tillman in the first half.
They trailed by five in the extra stanza and Anderson along with Joseph Chartouny went to work. When Anderson and Chartouny are on the same page, as it was in overtime, Fordham has that extra chance to get the win.
But Tillman, who scored a career high 27 points over Fordham last season was responsible for his Rams overcoming a 12-point deficit at the half. He finished with 20 points and missed the front end of a one-on-one with 15 seconds left that led to an inbounds pass from Chartouny and theatrics from Anderson.
“Antwoine got in the lane and made a good decision at end of regulation,” Neubauer said. Game decision is get the ball to Antwoine.” Anderson and Chartouny finished with 15 points apiece and Fordham outrebounded TCU by seven.
And for that matter, the Rams know to get the ball to one of their two scoring leaders. Anderson knows how to play the ball and is one of the reasons Fordham stays competitive in what has been to this point a season of injuries and illnesses from their core.
Last year against Rhode Island, Anderson had his first career buzzer shot that won a game but this one, well let’s say this was a win Fordham needed against an elite team in the conference.
“We just wanted to stay with it and stick together,” Anderson said. “We knew once we got down those five points just grab the team and said to them we are going to win this game. Just had to protect the basket. Coach has been preaching since he’s been here we need to have value with the basketball.”
With Anderson the Rams will score. It’s the defense that has always been an emphasis and against a team that can score, Fordham held them down for the count. And if the Rams are going to make some noise in the conference they are going to need Anderson to continue scoring and use the aggression and intensity that turned out to be their best game of this struggling season.
“Our team has realization after going through the many losses they endured,” said Neubauer. And Fordham needs Anderson to have a few more theatrics with the ball in a win they wanted and got.
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