Thursday, February 7, 2013

Saint Louis 90, Fordham 73: Quotes, Takeaways & Nuggets



Despite 90-73 loss to Saint Louis, Branden Frazier provided highlight for Fordham, becoming Rams' 35th 1,000-point scorer with his 11-point outing last night.  (Photo courtesy of The Ram)

Although I was personally not on hand, covering St. John's and Connecticut from Madison Square Garden, friend of the website and colleague Anthony Sulla-Heffinger of the New York Post (who covers Fordham even better than people have said this site does) was gracious enough to provide the usual quotes and highlights.  You can also read Anthony's game story by clicking the following:

http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/college/basketball/st_louis_makes_things_look_asy_against_3zlYdAqTGEBeY0jyh5Ir7I

Fordham head coach Tom Pecora’s opening statement:
“I had concerns coming into this game because of [St. Louis’] style of play, physicality and experience,” “I thought it was men against boys. I thought that they executed the heck out of it. We had it at nine a bunch of times but we weren’t able to get it over the top. I think the physicality [was too much.] It’s the second game in a row that Branden Frazier has struggled with people getting into him and being physical. Mandell Thomas was a bright spot, offensively anyway, but even he can’t play that many minutes and not rebound the basketball. It’s just a bad matchup. Their bigs are just skilled and crafty and our bigs are young and big. Chasing guys around the perimeter is not their cup of tea and this team is so good at shooting the ball. We’re going to have a spirited practice tomorrow. I assure you of that.”

On team’s effort:

“I’m going to play guys who continue to compete and that’s the way that we’re going to move forward.”

On Luka Zivkovic:

“Bright spot. He made shots, that’s why we brought Luka here. I’ll play Luka if he’s going to make shots. He’s not a great post defender but if these other guys aren’t going to defend, we might as well get some points on the other end. He’s a great kid, he works hard. Maybe we’ll [get him some minutes] Saturday [against La Salle]. Him and Travion [Leonard] could be the four and five.”

On Cody Ellis:

“It’s the second game in a row that we’ve earmarked shooters. We talked about not letting Ellis get good looks. He’s a really good player, he’s a perfect stretch four-man. He had his way with us tonight.”

On Dwayne Evans:

“Evans just killed us in the post. What Evans does is he takes [the bigs] away from the basket if you try and play him big. It was a very difficult matchup on the baseline.”

On Branden Frazier’s struggles:

“That’s part of maturing. With greatness comes responsibility and with greatness comes being a marked man. He has got to learn to respond if he is going to make that step and become a great player.”

On Bryan Smith’s struggles:

“This has been Bryan’s career and what I have talked to him about is being consistent. He’s still only a sophomore, but being consistent is part of being a good player. He has to make that step from being inconsistent to being good. Branden has to make the step from being good to great, they’re at different stages.”

On Travion Leonard:

“Chris [Gaston] not playing is expediting his maturation process, and that’s a good thing. I think Travion has done a good job. His skill set is good, he’s working hard. He’s got to protect the ball better, his assist to turnover ratio is poor, but he’s a freshman. If and when Chris does come back they’re going to be splitting minutes because Chris hasn’t practiced in a month.”

On Fordham's upcoming schedule:

“We gave away two games that we had a chance to win at home and that will bite us in the tail at the end of the season, unless something special happens here. If you can’t run with the big dogs, don’t get off the porch. That’s life in the A-10.”

Nuggets of Note:

- Fordham, usually a strong rebounding team, was outrebounded for the second time in its past three games. Thomas, Smith, Zivkovic, Jeff Short and Jermaine Myers combined for five boards in 97 combined minutes.

- With his 11 points, Branden Frazier became the 35th member of Fordham’s 1,000-point club, making him and Chris Gaston the team’s two active members in the special club.

- A little further on Luka Zivkovic: The forward, who had played very sparingly up until Wednesday’s game, was a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc and what was even more impressive was that he was able to keep Cody Ellis off the scoresheet for the majority of the second half. Zivkovic will likely see more minutes as we wind down this season and with a short bench due to Gaston’s injury.

- St. Louis guards Mike McCall Jr. and Kwamain Mitchell shot a combined 3-of-13 from the field. The rest of the Billikens were 30-of-45 (66.7 percent), which would have been a higher mark than they were from the charity stripe. St. Louis did not hit a free throw until there was 4:47 left in the first half and finished the game 17-of-27 overall.

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