Friday, December 13, 2013

Fordham/Howard Preview

Jon Severe looks to put 1-for-21 effort against St. John's even further behind him as Fordham shoots for second consecutive win tomorrow against Howard. (Photo courtesy of the New York Post)

After a come-from-behind road win against Colgate Tuesday night, spirits are once again restored around Fordham following a 46-point loss to St. John's a week ago. Yet for some, the 77-73 victory three days ago suggests that the 5-3 Rams are still not out of the woods, and need another convincing win to prove their debacle at Madison Square Garden is nothing more than an aberration, a blip on the radar screen of a promising future.

Enter Howard University, who at 2-9 are the next team on Fordham's ledger, coming to Rose Hill Gym for a 2pm tipoff tomorrow. Under fourth-year head coach Kevin Nickelberry, the Bison have not gotten things going as well as they had hoped in the nation's capital, with both of their victories this season coming against non-Division I teams. However, much like Furman before their 31-point loss to Fordham on December 4th, Howard has shown flashes of competitiveness during a nine-game losing streak, the best of which being a five-point overtime loss to William & Mary on a night in which junior swingman Prince Okoroh torched the Tribe for 40 points.

Sadly, this preview will not feature our traditional pregame Q&A session, as we were unable to find someone who covers Howard. Regardless, we'll try to give you as much as of a closer look at the Bison as we can before tomorrow's opening tip.

Averaging just 62 points per game as a team, Howard features just two players with averages of ten or more points per game, with Okoroh (15 points per game) being one of them. Freshman James Daniel, a 5-11 guard, is the other, bringing a team-leading 20.5 points per game clip into Rose Hill for a roster that carries eight other first-year players as the Bison attempt to find their way through the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. After Daniel and Okoroh, 6-10 freshman Marcel Boyd is Howard's next leading scorer at six points per game, not to mention the Bison's leading rebounder at 5.5 boards per contest.

The Bison have twice as many turnovers as assists, something Fordham's transition defense should be able to take full advantage of; especially Jon Severe, whose defensive abilities are going vastly unnoticed due to his explosive scoring potential. However, the Rams may face difficulty against Howard's taller front line, with Travion Leonard and Ryan Rhoomes sacrificing at least two inches to both Boyd and 6-9 sophomore Oliver Ellison. Freshman guards Ausar Madison and Keon Hill are the only Howard players with a positive assist to turnover ratio, but the pair has amassed a grand total of just 53 points through 11 games. If the Rams simply execute their game plan, something head coach Tom Pecora admitted to not doing against St. John's, this game should bode well for Fordham going into their next contest, coming in New Jersey against a deceptively strong Monmouth team that has overachieved for head coach King Rice despite their 4-6 record.

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