Sunday, December 9, 2012

St. John's 58, Fordham 47: Quotes, Takeaways & Nuggets

Tom Pecora and Fordham battled against St. John's, but Rams ultimately fell to 1-8 after 58-47 defeat at hands of Red Storm.  (Photo courtesy of New York Post)

Fordham head coach Tom Pecora's opening statement:
"There weren't a lot of made jump shots tonight, were there?  I think their length bothered us in the second half.  We didn't show enough poise in our shot selection, and that hurt us; and once again, we were in foul trouble."

On Fordham and their 1-8 start:
"We're so young, I cut their meat pregame, but I'm tired of saying it.  They've played a lot of minutes...we've got to get ourselves back home and healthy too.  Chris Gaston will hopefully be ready to play Saturday against Princeton.  With young teams, the residue of losses is very thick.  If they can get a couple of wins under their belt, they'll get a little bit of a swagger.  I believe that we're going to be a better team late in the year because of the injury." (to Gaston)

On Fordham's performance and progress:
"We took over a program that really learned how to lose, and we're still trying to change the culture; not just at the university, but in the basketball program as well.  It's my job to keep them up.  We can't have empty trips where we force up shots with two, three seconds on the shot clock."

On Ryan Canty: (15 points, 16 rebounds)
"He's been a very pleasant surprise, he's fun to coach.  He's young and energetic."

On Fordham's guards:
"Bryan Smith disappears for long stretches in a game, and he's too talented a player to do that.  Jermaine (Myers) is a great leader, but he has to be more aggressive, and Fatty (Devon McMillan) has got to learn to be a better point guard when the ball is in his hands."

On St. John's forward Chris Obekpa, who set a school record with 11 blocks:
"He's a defensive force, and we showed our guys the tape of him.  If you bring it to the rim soft, he's going to get it, and he did."

Nuggets of Note:
- Ryan Canty had yet another dominant game, scoring 15 points and grabbing 16 rebounds, obliterating his previous career high of ten last January on the road at St. Bonaventure, before fouling out with a minute left in regulation.  Canty picked up two huge rebounds early in the first half to set up a 10-2 Fordham run, and continued to penetrate inside against a St. John's frontline that offered little to no resistance more often than not.  Jeff Short also picked up the rebounding slack as the Rams pulled down 56 boards, chipping in with eleven of his own while Ryan Rhoomes and Travion Leonard were unavailable due to foul trouble.

- Fordham held St. John's to shooting 33 percent from the field, but the Rams could only manage a 29 percent clip on their own end in a 19-for-66 outing that saw Pecora's team hit only eight field goals in the second half, including a 3-for-21 effort from three-point range for the night.  Short, Bryan Smith and Branden Frazier once again plagued the Rams with their shooting woes, ending the evening a combined 6-for-31.

- Speaking of Smith, his enigmatic tendencies rose again last night.  Singled out by Pecora in his postgame press conference for being a big contributor in some of Fordham's better performances, the sophomore from Brooklyn missed six of the seven shots he attempted despite grabbing six rebounds.  In fact, when Smith is held under ten points, the Rams are a mere 5-13.

- Devon McMillan only played five minutes, but both he and Branden Frazier came up huge on defense, limiting St. John's leading scorer D'Angelo Harrison to just 14 points on 3-of-12 shooting.  Aside from JaKarr Sampson, who managed a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, Pecora's smaller four-guard lineup limited every other Red Storm player to just three field goals or less.  The Rams also kept pace with the overpowering St. John's transition game by ending the game with a plus-16 rebounding margin, even with 23 turnovers and four steals to their credit, compared to eight and eleven, respectively, for the Johnnies.

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