Historic Win for Fordham Rams

Howard Goldin

Bronx, NY---The Fordham Rams (7-4) won their 600th basketball game at the Rose Hill Gym on Monday afternoon, 83-69 over the Loyola University of Chicago Ramblers (5-7). The victory raised the record of the Rams at their historic home court to 600-335.  The Rams are the 12th college team to reach that mark at home. The historic home of the Rams hosted its first basketball game on January 16, 1925. It is the oldest NCAA Division I arena still in use.

The meeting between the two Jesuit institutions of higher learning was only their second. Two years ago, the Ramblers defeated the Rams, 64-50.

The game was extremely competitive during most of the first half. A layup by Bryan Smith of Fordham knotted the score for the sixth time at 8:19. The Ramblers then scored eight unanswered points to take a 25-17 lead. With only 1:56 remaining in the half, the Ramblers achieved their only double digit advantage of the contest, 36-25. The visitors led, 38-29, at the conclusion of the first half.

The advantage was quickly erased in the second half as the Rams began the period with a 12-2 scoring run, which again gave them the lead, 41-40, at 16:10. The game remained close, but the Rams high number of visits to the charity stripe and their accuracy from there during the final 1:45 of the contest gave them an 83-69 win. The Rams outscored the visitors 17-7 in those final two minutes. The last 14 points of the output of the Rams were netted at the free throw line.

Two strengths of the Rams were most responsible for the victory. Thy netted 21 of 23 attempts from the charity stripe, 20 of those points in the second half, contrasted with only 1 for 2 from the Ramblers.

Fordham handled the basketball with extreme care, committing a season low of six turnovers.  The Rams scored 18 points from Loyola miscues contrasted with only 6 Loyola points scored after Fordham errors.

Fordham also greatly improved its accuracy from the floor after the first half. The Rams shot 57.7 % in the second half after hitting only 35.3% of its shots in the opening half. Its skill from beyond the arc also improved from 26.7% to 50%. Fordham Coach Tom Precora explained the reason for the difference, “When we drove we had much better success.”

The contributors to the Fordham victory were many. Coach Pecora praised his starting forwards, Travion Leonard and Ryan Rhoomes, “Tre and Rhoomes played well together.” Leonard scored 7, but grabbed 9 boards, blocked two shots and stole the ball twice. Rhoomes scored 14 as well as hauling down 6 rebounds and making 3 steals. As the numbers tell, they were as effective defensively as on the offense.

Freshman Jon Severe was the game’s high scorer with 23 points, 20 of them in the important second half. Junior Bryan Smith netted 17 and senior Branden Frazier scored 16.

Coach Pecora spoke at length of the importance of winning at home, “The first step in rebuilding is you have to be good at home regardless of who you play. We fear nobody in this gym.”

He also discussed the consistency of the team, “We haven’t lost two in a row. Having one game losing streaks isn’t bad.”

The Rams will remain at home during Christmas week, hosting Harvard on the afternoon of December 28.