Chris Gaston managed seven points and six rebounds on senior day in Fordham's 72-55 loss to Richmond. (Photo courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer)
Fordham head coach Tom Pecora's opening statement:
"This is the first time that I feel we laid an egg at home this season. Obviously, we're struggling and the residue of the losses is accumulating. I can see it in their body language. We've had a couple of guys that kind of lost their way with the losses we've had."
Pecora's reflections on the season in general and the relative youth of the roster:
"When you can play a lot of veterans, it's helpful; but we don't have that, and that's why our margin for error is so small. I've been down this road before, and no one is as frustrated as I am. I'm tremendously frustrated and I know how frustrated they (the players) are."
On today's game:
"We fought ourselves back into it after they got some separation there. I'm depending on freshmen to make big plays. Ryan Rhoomes played hard, he plays hard all the time, but he's just not polished yet."
On Jeff Short (12 points) today:
"One man's ceiling is another man's floor. He has to prove to us that he can play more minutes."
On assistant coach Tom Parrotta and his contribution to the program:
"He's very good with big men, and you saw that with (Ryan) Canty, and there's progress with (Ryan) Rhoomes and (Travion) Leonard. It's also good that he's an alumnus, because it helps in recruiting. A kid's parents can look at him and say 'That's a Fordham man.'"
On Chris Gaston and how he should be remembered in Fordham history:
"He's been very loyal, he came in and never flinched. He and his family were loyal to Fordham because Fordham was loyal to him, particularly in the recruiting process, so that's been kind of reciprocal."
On Gaston's performance today and in recent games:
"We were all proud of what he did in the Butler game, but that energy hasn't been there since then."
On what to expect in the future:
"I believe this young group is going to make us relevant in this league and get to the middle of the pack. I still think Mandell Thomas can be an elite player in this league...at the end of his freshman season, I had no idea Charles Jenkins (whom Pecora coached at Hofstra) was going to be an NBA player. The maturation from this season into next will be a key. Next year's schedule will be structured in a different way, and that's a positive. If you come to Fordham for your academics, play a little ball and help us turn this around, you're a made man for the rest of your life because of our alumni base and our history."
Pecora's message to Fordham alumni and fans:
"I've been through this for three years. Fordham fans have been through this for decades, so I understand why they are the way they are. I have to tell them to keep the faith, because if you don't know the bad, then you can't revel in the good. When we're good, we'll celebrate harder than anybody else. We'll get there, it's just a matter of time."
Nuggets of Note:
- Four Richmond players scored in double figures, led by Deion Taylor's 12 points off the bench. The Spiders, who came into today's game averaging just 29 rebounds as a result of their Princeton-inspired offense that predicates itself on back-door cuts and an increased tendency to shoot three-pointers, matched the Rams on the glass despite barely losing the battle of the boards by a count of 35-33.
- Richmond coach Chris Mooney has a deep and talented young team that could very easily be a contender in the Atlantic 10 next season, and maybe during next month's conference tournament at the Barclays Center. With the exception of four walk-ons, ten Spiders saw considerable action this afternoon, with no Richmond player logging more than 28 minutes.
- The Spiders, who came into today's contest shooting 38 percent from three-point range, made ten of the 28 trifectas they attempted, accounting for more than half of their 51 shots. Richmond's defense also did an impressive job keying in on Chris Gaston and Branden Frazier, who only managed 15 points combined and just four of those in the first half. Richmond's transition game also won this afternoon's contest for the Spiders, who blanked Fordham to the tune of 14-0 on fast breaks and secured 21 points off fourteen Ram turnovers.
- Finally, Mandell Thomas was one of the few bright spots for Fordham, as was Jeff Short. Thomas poured in 17 points for his twelfth double-figure scoring game in his last fifteen contests as the freshman from Rochester continues to gain some steam in the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year race, where his prime competition includes Xavier's Semaj Christon among others. Short's 12-point outing was the fifth double-figure game of the season for the redshirt freshman, and first since January 23rd, when the Rams were massacred on the road against Dayton.