Historic win for Fordham Rams

The Fordham Rams won a historic game at Rose Hill Monday. The men’s team won a historic 600th basketball game at the Rose Hill Gym over Loyola University and raised their historic record on their home court to 600-335.

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 onldouble-digitit 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.

Fordham’s Women Hoopsters Win 11th Straight

~~Fordham’s Women Hoopsters Win 11th Straight

Howard Goldin

Bronx, NY—The second phase of the current college basketball has recently begun, the schedule of conference games. The start of each season is the playing of games by teams that rarely face one another. Although the results of these contests count toward the won/lost record for the season, it is the conference results that qualify teams for the concluding phase, the post-season tournaments.

As the snow was falling, the wind increasing and the temperature plummeting in the Bronx on Thursday night, the Fordham Rams (12-2, 1-0) and St. Louis Billikens ( 5-9, 0-1) women’s teams were preparing to play their first Atlantic-10 conference game of the 2013-14 season at the Rose Hill Gym on Fordham’s Bronx campus.

After scoring six straight points, Fordham led, 13-4, after five minutes of play. At the mid-point of the half, Fordham amassed its first double-figure advantage, 22-11. Seven unanswered points by the Billikens cut the deficit to a basket, 30-28, at 2:17. The Rams responded by scoring the next 10 points and led at the half by 40-28. Erin Rooney, Fordham’s star player and captain for the three years she has been on the team, paced the club with 11 points and seven boards.

Fordham’s head coach, Stephanie Gaitley, gave her view of the first half and her intentions for the second, “It’s a game of runs. We have to change some things.”

The defense of the Rams improved in the second half. Although their shooting from the floor fell off from its 52% of the opening stanza, their lead increased as the game went on. A three by freshman Hannah Missry at 6:20 pushed the Fordham advantage to above 20, 63-41. The Rams led by as high as 27 and won by a score of 74-52.

Rooney achieved her fifth double-double of the year with 21 points and 12 rebounds. She explained her increased scoring this season, “I try to be more aggressive.”

The Christ Church, New Zealand native had the rare experience of having her mother and father in the crowd watching her perform, “It’s really special to have them here. They haven’t seen me play in person for five years except for our trip [Fordham team’s visit to New Zealand in the summer of 2013].”

The victory became an important part of team history. The 11th consecutive win and 12-2 mark to start the season are team records. The Rams are now undefeated in their first eight home games.

The Rams next play a road game at UMass on January 5 and return to the Bronx to host Duquesne on the evening of January 8.

Fordham Rams Victorious at Fordham Holiday Classic

The Fordham Rams women’s hoopsters won the two-day Fordham Holiday Classic tournament with a victory over Harvard in the final.

~~Fordham Rams Victorious at Fordham Holiday Classic

Howard Goldin

Bronx, NY—Aficionados of college women’s basketball in the Bronx had an opportunity to attend two doubleheaders shortly before the close of 2013 as the 7th annual Fordham Holiday Classic was held on the afternoon of December 29 and December 30 at the Rose Hill Gym on the Bronx campus of Fordham University. As in the previous six years, the invitees included teams from a wide area of the nation and from several conferences.

In the opening contest on Sunday afternoon, the Fordham Rams easily triumphed over the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) Spartans, 79-48. The Rams began aggressively by scoring the first eight points. At 11:35, Fordham reached its first double-digit lead of the contest, 15-5. They increased their lead at the half to 39-20.

Mid-way through the second half, Fordham increased its advantage to an insurmountable 67-34. Fordham’s experienced and classy coach, Stephanie Gaitley, gave all the reserves on its bench an opportunity to see action and to ensure that the visiting team from the South was not treated to an even more embarrassing defeat.

Erin Rooney paced the Rams, nearly achieving a triple-double with 16 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists in only 27 minutes on the court.

The closing game of day #1 was the first meeting between the Harvard Crimson and the Tulsa Hurricanes. The two teams battled competitively on a court foreign to both. Control of the boards, 44 rebounds to 32, and six additional points from the charity stripe gave the 61-57 victory to Harvard.

The consolation contest between Tulsa and UNCG opened the second day of the tourney. The game was hard fought and evenly played by two teams that never previously faced one another. Tulsa led throughout most of the first half, but the Spartans took a 27-26 lead with four minutes left in the half. The Hurricanes followed with 10 unanswered points and led at the half, 36-32.

After knotting the score at 38 early in the second half, the Spartans remained behind for the remainder of the game. They cut the Tulsa advantage to a single point on four occasions, but could not again equal the Tulsa point total. The Hurricanes won, 76-71.

The title contest of the two-day tourney was between Fordham and Harvard. Interestingly, the two men’s teams of the same universities met in the same Bronx venue two nights earlier. The Rams’ ability from beyond the arc furnished them an advantage during the opening half. Five of Fordham’s first six baskets were from downtown and allowed the Rams to lead, 20-12 at 7:47.  A basket and a free throw by Emily Tapio brought Fordham its first double-figure advantage of the game, 25-14, at 5:56.

Fordham never lost the double-figure advantage again during the contest. During the final two minutes of the game, Fordham, in the person of Abigail Corning, outscored the Crimson, 6-1, to raise its final score lead to a game-high 20 points, 64-44. The win was the 10th straight for the Rams, equaling a mark last accomplished in the 1978-79 season. They are undefeated at home, 7-0.

Corning had an impressive game for the Rams, grabbing 12 boards, scoring 9 and dishing 6 assists. Rooney led all scorers in the contest with 19.

Corning and Rooney were named to the All-Tournament team along with Janaé Stevenson of UNCG, Mariah Turner of Tulsa and Temi Fagbenle of Harvard.

The women of Fordham next see action on the evening of January 2 in the Bronx versus Saint Louis. It will be Fordham’s first Atlantic-10 conference game of the season.

NCAA Tournament for UConn at the Garden and nothing different from the past

NCAA Tournament for UConn at the Garden and nothing different from the past

By Rich Mancuso

What can be expected after a 53-year hiatus of a NCAA Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden is UConn doing what they always do on the Garden floor, and that is winning a big game? The Huskies had their fans and DeAndre Daniels made sure that his team would head to the Eastern Regional final Sunday.

Daniels scored 18 of his 26 points in the second half. That was a typical UConn ending on the Garden court as he led the seventh-ranked Huskies to an 81-76 victory over third seed Iowa State University.

He would hit his first six points at halftime. That was so familiar to typical Big East wins for the Huskies at the Garden. Now in the ACC, playing at the Garden is not a regular stint on the schedule. Though the Huskies took two games at the Garden in late November defeating Boston College and # 22 Indiana in the 2K Sports Classic.

As it always was in the past, Daniels sounded like all the others who had an impact on the Garden floor.

“Well, I just wanted to stay aggressive and just start of the second half just keep staying aggressive,” he said  “My teammates were talking to me, and it would never have been possible if it wasn’t for my teammates looking for me, and coaching staff getting me the ball in the right positions.”

He added, “And I was able to knock down my shots tonight.”

The star of the NCAA Tournament run for the Huskies, Shabazz Napier with 19 points, four of six from three-point range, concurred.”He wanted to make a big impact and I just told him like, ‘Just calm down.’  The game’s going to come to you.”

The 15,000 plus at the Garden knew who the star would be Friday night. Napier, the senior guard has led the Huskies in scoring all season, but Daniels is a good compliment.

“DeAndre’s a scorer and once you feel that you have that confidence the next shot’s going to go in,” added Napier. “We kept feeding him and he got super hot. We had to cool his hand down and we just kept going. But he’s a great scorer for us.”

Napier hopes to return to the Final Four next weekend in Arlington Texas. As a freshman, he helped lead the Huskies to their last national title, a win over Butler in Houston Texas.

Now UConn looks to win their tenth championship at the Garden Sunday and advances to another Final Four if they beat fourth seed Michigan State Sunday afternoon. If that happens, it will be another reason why the Garden is so much their home court.

What makes this one sweeter, UConn is making a run at the National Championship in New York, a year after sitting out the big dance because of NCAA academic sanctions.

Comment Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com   Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

 

Well-traveled youngster Darius Morris getting a chance in Brooklyn

Well-traveled youngster Darius Morris getting a chance in Brooklyn

By Steve Simineri

The Brooklyn Nets announced that Deron Williams fractured the cartilage portion of his 12th rib on the left side during Wednesday night’s embarrassing loss to the lowly Boston Celtics. He is out indefinitely and the Nets are left with just Jarrett Jack and Darius Morris to keep the position occupied. Jack, however, has played a ton of minutes lately – to the point where coach Lionel Hollins held him out of practice Thursday, which means the 24-year old Morris will get a chance to play more.

“All I can say is we’re going to play Darius Morris some more because he’s on the roster,” Hollins said.

Morris, a 2011 second-round pick who is on his fifth team in four seasons, hails from Los Angeles, California. He attended a small private high school in Mar Vista, called Windward Preparatory School, where he became close friends with Malcolm Washington, aka “Denzel’s son,” and helped lead the Wildcats to four straight league championships, a California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern-Section Championship, and a Division-5 California State Boys Basketball Championship.

Despite being recruited by traditional basketball powerhouses like Kentucky and Arizona, as well as USC, Morris chose Michigan — a low-end Big Ten program that by the time he signed hadn’t made the NCAA tournament in more than 10 years. He was Coach John Beilein’s first major recruit, but he struggled mightily his freshman year, averaging only 4.4 points and 2.6 assists as Michigan finished 15-17 despite beginning the season ranked in the top 25.

During his sophomore campaign, he was named to the All-Big 10 Third Team after averaging 15.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game, and helped the Wolverines to a 21-14 record and a trip to the NCAA Tournament third round. He recorded the largest margin of improvement in scoring in the Big Ten, jumping from 4.4 points per game as a freshman to a team-best 15.0 per game this past season. Additionally, he broke the U-M season record for assists with 235, becoming just the third Wolverine to record 200-plus assists in a season.

Many thought that another year in college would have catapulted Morris into the first round of the 2012 draft, but he ultimately decided to enter the draft after his sophomore season. Some expected the 6-foot-4 guard to be a late first-round pick, but he dropped to the 41st overall pick where he was selected by his hometown Lakers. It’s was a “special” feeling to be drafted by the team he rooted for growing up, especially after spending so much time away from his family during college.

“It was kind of surreal leaving L.A. to go to Michigan, and then getting drafted back with my family there and everything was a pretty cool experience,” said Morris, who made his first visit to the Lakers’ training facility as a 12 year old, when he tagged along to watch his older brother DeWayne tryout for the team. “I learned a lot there, especially from Kobe and those guys and the coaches that I had while I was there. It was a just a good overall experience.”

As a rookie he appeared in 19 games, averaging 2.4 points and 1.1 assists in 8.9 minutes per game. He also saw action in the D-League and in four playoff games, scoring 10 points in eight minutes. In his second season, Morris appeared in 48 games (17 starts), averaging 4.0 points, 1.2 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 14.2 minutes per game. In the 2013 playoffs’ first round, with the Lakers dealing with a slew of injuries, Morris scored 24 points and had six assists in Game 3 against the San Antonio Spurs. It was the best game of his career and he averaged 10.5 points as the Lakers were swept by the San Antonio Spurs with Kobe Bryant recovering from surgery.

In the off-season, Morris left L.A. for Philadelphia because the 76ers offered him a partially guaranteed contract and he thought he’d have a better opportunity with the rebuilding Sixers. Instead, Morris was buried behind two other point guards also acquired by the Sixers last summer: First-round draft pick Michael Carter-Williams and Tony Wroten. After 12 games with the 76ers, averaging 6.9 points and 2.6 assists in 16.1 minutes, Morris was released.

He then signed two 10-day contracts with the Los Angeles Clippers, appearing in 10 games, and one 10-day contract with the Memphis Grizzlies, seeing action in five games. He finished the season in the D-League, where he averaged 17.1 points, 6.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 29.3 minutes per game over nine appearances with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the D-League.

“The D-League was just a really humbling experience. Being in the league and going to the D-League is kind of different in terms of everything else, the travel and the competition,” said Morris, who exploded for 51 points and 18 assists in an overtime playoff loss against the Iowa Energy, the latter a single-game playoff record. “I think that’s where I really built a lot of character.”

In July, Morris joined the defending champion San Antonito Spurs for Summer League, and a few weeks later the Portland Trail Blazers signed him to a non-guaranteed contract, but he was among the team’s final cuts. About a month ago the Nets picked him up to help fill the third point guard void left by Jorge Gutierrez who was shipped along with Andrei Kirilenko to the 76ers. On Wednesday his contract was effectively guaranteed for the rest of the season, and he now has a prime chance to show why he belongs in this league.

“Everything that happened to me good and bad is just a part of my development process,” Morris told me in the Nets locker-room. “I like to look at it like a movement and I just keep moving through it. So hopefully every time somebody sees me out there in a situation they can say I’ve gotten better or he looks a lot better than he used to.”

Comment: Steviebklyn14@aol.com

Buckle up; it’s going to be a rough weekend for New York football fans.

Buckle up; it’s going to be a rough weekend for New York football fans.

By Mike Florio

First, the Jets will host the Steelers and despite only being four-point underdogs, this game has all the makings of being a rough one.

Ben Roethlisberger is the first QB in NFL history to throw for six touchdowns in back-to-back games. He has done so being surrounded by perhaps the best weapons he has had since his Super Bowl days with Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton and Heath Miller along with running back Le’Veon Bell.

The Jets have allowed a league-leading 24 passing touchdowns this season, and have a secondary that has only forced one interception this season.

While the Jets front seven do a great job of getting after the QB, Roethlisberger has made a career off of avoiding sacks and extending the play with his legs. He also has one of the best pass-catching backs in the league at his disposal in Bell, that could make defenders miss and is a threat to break one deep at any moment.

This matchup is a rough one for the Jets.

Along with that, there have been rumors that this Monday could be “Black Monday,” for the Jets, in which they would clean house, likely including Head Coach Rex Ryan and General Manager John Idzik.

If the Jets are going to clean house at any point before the end of the season it makes sense to be after this week. The Jets are on a bye after this week, which would allow a new coach and possible GM more time to adjust.

As for the Giants, they are traveling to the North West to take on the defending Super Bowl champions Seattle Seahawks. They are an eight-point underdog this week.

The Giants struggle to score at home against the Colts, who allowed the Steelers to score 51 the game prior. The Giants will likely struggle to keep Eli Manning upright, and when they do, will have difficulty finding open wide receivers.

Besides Larry Donnell, do not be surprised if every Giants offensive player struggles this weekend.

If Peyton Manning and the high-powered Broncos offense only scored 20 in Seattle, it’s hard to imagine Eli and the Giants scoring more than 14.

Comment: Michael.florio726@hotmail.com

Question Marks for the Giants as they go Forward

Question Marks for the Giants as they go Forward

By Mike Florio

Despite one of the greatest catches of the season- and all-time- the Giants were unable to defeat the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.

The Giants had the game for the taking after Eli Manning connected with Adrien Robinson to put them up with 6:12 left in the fourth quarter.

The Giants, however, could not stop the Cowboys allowing them to march down the field. Tony Romo found Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley for big gains on the drive. The drive was capped off with a 13-yard pass play from Romo to Bryant with just under 2 minutes left to give the Cowboys a 31-28 lead.

Not only was Romo able to find an open Bryant in the back of the end zone, he could have taken a nap first before connecting with his all-pro wideout. On the throw that proved to be the game winner, Romo was able to hang in the pocket for nine seconds.

The Giants were unable to get any sort of pressure on Romo on that final drive, let alone the game. Due to that, Romo was able to connect on 18-of-26 passing attempts, for 275 yards and four touchdowns. He posted a passer rating of 143.

You’d be hard press to blame anyone expect the defense, particularly the D-line.

Manning went 29-for-40 for 338 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. Odell Beckham Jr. hauled in 10 of 11 targets for 146 yards and two touchdowns. He also took the world by storm with his one-handed leaping catch as his body contorted.

The loss drops the Giants to 3-8 (2-4 at home) and leaves nothing but question marks going forward. The front office will have to closely evaluate every position, besides maybe QB and WR, going forward.

Perhaps the worst part of the loss was that after the Giants failed to convert on a short fourth down on their final drive, the fans began to cheer. Originally, it was ruled a Giants first down, but under further review, Rashaad Jennings was ruled short of the mark and the game was all but over.

With the Cowboy players celebrating on the sideline, loud cheers erupted from the crowd, likely leaving many wondering who the actual home team was.

Comment: Michael.florio726@hotmail.com

Giants Get The Win They Needed

Giants Get The Win They Needed

By Mike Florio

It won’t take seven games for the Giants to find the win column this season after defeating the Houston Texans yesterday, 30-17, with strong play on both sides of the ball.

The Giants were able to pick up the win for strong performances from the players they expect to step up.

Rashaad Jennings carried the G-Men, rushing 34 times for 176 yards (5.2 yards-per-carry), and a touchdown. Victor Cruz was able to break out of his slow start, hauling in five balls for 107 yards, including a 61-yard catch and run. He added his first touchdown of the season, sidestepping a defender and sprinting to the end zone. Larry Donnell added in six catches for 45 yards.

Eli Manning completed 21-of-28 pass attempts for 234 yards and two touchdowns. Most importantly, he did not turn the ball over and finished the game with a passer rating of 123.2.

On defense, the Giants were able to force the Texans to make mistakes. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has a reputation of being a gunslinger, and the Giants made him pay as Prince Amukamara, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Antrel Rolle all recorded an interception.

The Texans were without star running back Arian Foster (Hamstring), and the Giants did a nice job limiting backup Alfred Blue. The Giants held the Texans to 119 yards rushing, 34 of which were Fitzpatrick.

Jameel McClain recorded 11 tackles, one for a loss and assisted on a sack. Jason Pierre-Paul added seven tackles of his own, one of which went for a loss.

The Giants game plan was simple, have a balanced offensive attack, win the turnover battle and have their big-name players show up. They will certainly need those players to step up again this Thursday, as they get the Redskins on a shortened week, in what could be a shootout.

The stress this Thursday will once again be for Manning and co. to take care of the ball, as Kirk Cousins and the Redskins will not be as careless as Fitzpatrick.

Comment: Michael.Florio726@hotmail.com

Lionel it is. Nets hire Hollins as new coach after Jason Kidd debacle.

Brooklyn Nets hire Lionel Hollins after ‘trading’ Jason Kidd to Milwaukee Bucks

By Clifford Davis

Jason Kidd was hired as the new Brooklyn Nets coach weeks after shooting bricks for the New York Knicks in the playoffs. He guided the Nets who had a payroll over $100 million this past season, to 44 wins and into the second round of the playoffs before being eliminated in five games by the Miami Heat.

Kidd did a very well job in his first year as head coach for a guy with no prior experience, apparently, he thought so as well. Sources say Kidd went to ownership and requested he holds a position above current GM Billy King. Once Kidd has rebuffed the Bucks swopped then and requested to interview Kidd for their head coaching position.

The Nets granted the interview for the Bucks who already had a coach under contract. The Nets and Bucks eventually agreed on a deal that sent Kidd to Milwaukee to be their coach and Brooklyn received two future draft picks.

“The organization’s got to be bigger than one person. If you sit there and say one person leaves and everything comes falling down, then you don’t have an organization,” said King.

Lionel Hollins was hired a few hours after the Bucks introduced Kidd as their new coach. The deal for Hollins is believed to be worth $20 million dollars for 4 years with a team option for the 4th year. Hollins will represent the Nets fourth coach in the last two years. His last coaching job was with the Memphis Grizzlies when he guided them to the Western Conference finals in 2013, then fired because he and ownership had different visions.

Before the Nets hired Kidd last year, they were hot on Lionel Hollins. Billy King thought Hollins was a perfect candidate but Kidd was hired because of his contributions to the franchise during his hall of fame career, and because it drew headlines, which owner Mikhail Prokhorov loves stealing from cross-town rival New York Knicks.

The decision to hire Hollins was an easy one for the Nets. They only interviewed one other candidate besides Hollins but GM Billy King did not mention who because the coach was not interested in the position. Lionel Hollins is a defensive minded coach who preaches discipline and toughness. He is an established coach who got better each year with the Memphis Grizzlies all the way up until they reached the Western Conference finals.

“If you look at track record and what he did in Memphis, he was able to go there and take a team, added some veterans and they continually got better,” King said. He developed some young guys, Gasol, some big guys. If you look at Memphis, they got consistently better every year. All the way to the Western Conference Finals.”

Lionel is 60 years old, he comes in with a record of 214-201 career coaching record, and he won an NBA championship in 1977. He was the guy Billy King originally wanted before they ultimately decided to go with Jason Kidd. Now King gets his man, who he hopes he can trust more than Kidd, who has proven he is only loyal to himself.

Comment Clifford Davis: cliffdavis46@gmail.com
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Unfortunate season ending injury to Victor Cruz

Unfortunate season ending injury to Victor Cruz

By Michael Florio

Trailing 20-0 the Giants had a tough decision to make, kick the field goal or go for it on 4th-and-goal from the Eagles three-yard line. They elected to be aggressive and go for it. As Eli Manning slung a pass towards the back right corner of the end zone, it looked like the Giants were clawing their way back into the game.

Then Cruz came down empty handed, but not for long, as he soon grabbed his knee and it was evident he was in pain. It may be hard to even see the injury on the replay, but it appears his knee buckled when he planted his foot to leap for the ball.

As Giants and Eagles players took a knee around the injured Cruz, it only got worse as he had to be picked up and carried on to the cart, unable to put any pressure on his injured knee. But the worst image of the night was about to occur.

Cruz, clearly in pain, was unable to hold back tears and sobbed as he was carted off the field. It was quickly reported that he tore his patellar tendon, and his season was likely over.

The Giants wouldn’t be able to recover in the game, but the question remains; can they recover going forward without their star wide receiver?

The first thought is Rueben Randle and rookie Odell Beckham Jr. will both step up and play larger roles in the offense. While this is true, as both will likely be more heavily targeted, the Giants often run three wide receiver sets, which both are already used in. Both will likely remain on the outside, leaving a gapping hole in the slot.

Per ESPN, no player has more touchdowns since 2011 then Cruz’s 19.

The Giants could rely on Preston Parker or Julian Talley in the slot. Another option is sliding Beckham into the slot on some plays and allowing the athletic Corey Washington on the outside.

Tom Coughlin and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo will have to be creative going forward, but it will be impossible to replace the presence Cruz brings to the Gaints and the attention he receives from opposing defenses.

The Giants and their fans will spend the next year waiting to see another salsa dance. As Cruz came down and hit the turf, the game and perhaps the season, went with him.

Comment to Mike: Michael.florio726@hotmail.com