~~Crimson Tide Tops Fordham Rams in High Scoring Encounter, 94-86

Howard Goldin

Bronx NY---Despite most college students being far away from their classrooms during the winter holiday recess, the Rose Hill Gym on the Bronx campus of Fordham University was sold-out on Saturday afternoon for the encounter between the Fordham Rams (7-5) and the Crimson Tide of Harvard (11-1).

Harvard, not nationally ranked in the top 25 at the time of the game, is one of only 21 NCAA Division I basketball squads with fewer than two defeats. Harvard’s high level of accuracy from the floor, 56.8%, ensured it would not lose its second contest of the season in the Bronx.

Leads changed hands four times and the score was knotted five times in the tightly contested opening 11 minutes. With Fordham ahead, 25-23, at 8:47, the visitors began a scoring run that lasted five minutes and altered the eventual outcome of the game. Harvard scored 15 unanswered points that gave them a 13 point advantage, 38-25, with 3:50 remaining in the first half. The visitors lead, 43-32, at the half.

Although Harvard retained a double digit lead during the first eight minutes of the second stanza, a late surge paced by outstanding freshman Jon Severe, cut the Fordham deficit to single figures for the final four minutes of the contest. Severe, the leading scorer in the Atlantic-10, only netted one of five shots in the first half, but became a heat seeking missile in the second as he sunk 10 of his 14 attempts from the floor to close with 29 points.

The Rams’ effort was high as they shot 58.8% in the second half, but according to Fordham head coach Tom Pecora, “Harvard did a wonderful job of weathering the storm when we got as close as six.”

Harvard coach Tommy Amaker expressed high praise for the Fordham scoring leader, “He’s as good a scorer as we’ve played all season; he’s a scorer, not just a shooter.”

 Tom Pecora, although fully aware of the abilities of the young man he recruited, also pointed out how Severe’s inexperience affects his play, “He has to come out of the gate aggressively. I think he let defense affect him offensively. It’s a learning curve for freshmen no matter how good they are. He has to get old.”

Fordham’s Brandon Frazier led the scoring with 31. The senior now has scored 1,304 points, which moves him to 14th place in career points at the university.

Harvard had six scorers in double figures. Both coaches recognized how it positively affected the outcome. Pecora said, “They have great team balance.”

Amaker explained, “I was so pleased with the balance we showed, 24 assists, incredibly unselfish. That’s the key for our team, balance.”

The Rams head to the road for their next two contests. They will return to the Bronx on January 11 to host Richmond.