Monday, December 31, 2012

Fordham 82, Monmouth 71: Quotes, Takeaways & Nuggets

Rose Hill Gym provided one last pleasant memory of 2012 tonight, with four Fordham players scoring in double figures in Rams' 82-71 win over Monmouth.  (Photo courtesy of Gary Moore via The College Hardwood)

Monmouth head coach King Rice after the game on Monmouth's radio postgame show: (Note: I was able to get this quote from Monmouth's broadcast booth being right next to me on press row) "When teams punch us in the face, we don't do a good job of answering it."

Fordham head coach Tom Pecora's opening statement:
"I think the difference was that we came to life in the second half.  We took care of the basketball, we only had five turnovers in the second half.  I told Chris (Gaston) at halftime that he had to take the game over.  One of our goals was to dominate the backboard, and we had 21 more rebounds than them.  I think that's what an A-10 team's supposed to do.  I thought the guys made great decisions after getting the offensive rebounds."

On Bryan Smith (18 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) and what he means to the team:
"When Bryan Smith makes shots, we win a lot of games."

On Mandell Thomas (12 points, 3 assists) and his progression:
"His numbers were great today, and you can see his explosiveness.  The more time he spends with Bryan (Smith) and (Branden) Frazier, and the rest of our guards, the more experienced he gets.  The guys will tell you in practice that he's a freakish athlete, he does things that make you say 'Whoa!' The key is doing it in games."

On his big men:
"They're a lot stronger than the guys they're playing against, but they've got to start dominating.  I told the guys, 'the gloves are off. Now I'm going to ride you until the middle of March, hopefully.'"

Bryan Smith on his confidence:
"I never lost confidence, I had to stay positive.  If I missed a shot, I knew I'd make the next one."

Chris Gaston (19 points, 10 rebounds) on responding to trailing at halftime:
"We had to protect our house.  We played a lot harder than we did in the first half.  We felt like we needed to win."

Pecora on his team in general:
"We're getting past the point of being freshmen.  Everyone's played enough minutes now."

Nuggets of Note:
- The double-double for Chris Gaston was his second of the year, and first since his 19-point, 14-rebound performance in a losing effort to Texas State in Fordham's season opener.  It was also Chris' 54th career double-double.

- The 18 points for Bryan Smith were a season high, and it marked the second straight home game in which his shot making helped propel Fordham to victory, as his outside shooting was an integral part of the Rams' 81-75 win over Siena eight days ago.

- The Rams had four players (Smith, Gaston, Thomas and Branden Frazier, who had 11 points) score in double figures tonight, the second time it has happened this season, with the first coming in a losing effort against Harvard on December 1st.  In addition to the aforementioned quartet, Jermaine Myers poured in eight points, four rebounds and three assists off the bench, while Ryan Canty had an underrated effort with 14 rebounds, six of which came on the offensive glass as Fordham outrebounded Monmouth 51-30.

- Just as Tom Pecora intimated in his postgame press conference, Fordham truly did come to life following a first half in which the Rams turned the ball over fourteen times and went into the locker room trailing Monmouth 33-28.  Following the intermission, the Rams shot 55 percent (17-for-31) from the field and 7-of-10 from three-point range down the stretch to close the Hawks out.  Fordham's pressure and ball movement was a stark contrast from a lackluster effort in the opening minutes, where Monmouth established themselves as the better team.

- Finally, Fordham was much better when it came to finishing possessions, especially down the stretch, where they outscored Monmouth 11-5 on second chance points and 19-10 overall on the night.  The Rams have one more nonconference game remaining, on the road against Mississippi on Friday night before returning to Rose Hill to open Atlantic 10 play against Jim Ferry and Duquesne on January 9th.


  1. Good to get a win, but don't forget that Monmouth is one of the absolute weakest teams in D1 basketball. Much weaker than even Fordham.

    1. Maybe it's me, but they're actually a little better than some are giving them credit for. As the play-by-play man at St. Francis and also through this website, I see Monmouth somewhat regularly, and they've looked better than they did today. Actually, this win may be Fordham's best of the year considering that Siena is 2-11 and Princeton is a mixed bag.

  2. I forgot to mention Penn too, but they're one of the bottom two or three in the Ivy League this year.

  3. Monmouth likes to press/trap and were effective in first half. Jermaine Myers might have had his best game yet.

    1. Totally agreed, especially with Myers. Of the five times I've seen Fordham now, this may have been the first time that Jermaine was able to put it all together for a full game. Maybe it's me, but it seems like he's better suited to coming off the bench with Mandell starting as opposed to playing the 30-35 minutes he got to start the year.

  4. Jaden, you do a great job covering Fordham. It is truly appreciated.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words...those too are truly appreciated, perhaps even more than my coverage is by you and my other readers. Happy new year and all the best!

  5. Keep up the great work on Fordham Jaden.

  6. Big game versus Duquesne; Jim Ferry's LIU squad earned solid win vs Fordham two seasons ago. Rams know they'll have to be at their best to pull this game off

    1. Nothing's going to come easy, that's for sure. Duquesne may have been picked last in the A-10, but they already have a big nonconference win over West Virginia and almost beat Georgetown earlier in the year as well. Knowing Jim as well as I do from all the St. Francis/LIU battles I've called, I know he'll have his kids ready and will be just a little more pumped up himself too since it's his homecoming. I unfortunately won't be at that game, (will be covering Seton Hall/Louisville instead) but am definitely interested to see how it plays out.