Kendall Anthony's three-pointer with 13 seconds left in overtime enabled Richmond to escape with split of New York road trip. (Photo courtesy of the University of Richmond)
Fordham head coach Tom Pecora's opening statement:
"Well, you know, (on) Friday, we kind of had like a 'come to Jesus' meeting in practice and then we met again in here Friday afternoon, and we talked about what we need to do to turn the corner, and it was really about effort. Those meetings were about effort, and it was about competing for a full 40 minutes, and I thought we did a pretty good job of that tonight. They're a good basketball team, and I thought we had some great looks to win the game in regulation, but, you know, (Cedrick) Lindsay's an all-conference player for a reason, he stepped up and he made some real big-time plays for them and big shots, especially late in the game, and when they mattered. Obviously, a tough loss, one at home I wanted to get...we wanted to get, so if we play with this kind of effort every night for 40 or 45 minutes; however long it takes, I think we'll win some basketball games, but the question is, I told them we have to come out and we have to practice angry on Monday and Tuesday as we prepare for a good Dayton team coming in here on Wednesday."
On playing Ryan Canty and Chris Whitehead, and whether or not they contributed good energy:
"Oh, without a doubt. I think Canty did a great job, don't you? I mean, I think he was flying around, tipping balls and getting rebounds and doing a lot of real good things, and I think not only the team, but the other two bigs when they came in, played with greater energy than they've been playing with, so message sent, and I think that was a real important part of it, and I think it was good to have both Jermaine Myers and Chris Whitehead on the floor. It freed up Branden Frazier a little bit more, obviously gave us another ball handler, kind of a quarterback, you know? I think Branden's been struggling trying to be a scorer, and at the same time, running this team, and I wanted to pick up tempo tonight against them; I mean, we took 18 more shots than they did. We had 71 attempts, they had 53, and the mindset was to speed up play, and having the little point guards in there helped."
On Branden Frazier picking up the slack as Jon Severe and Mandell Thomas shot a combined 5-of-33 from the field:
"Look, it's always somebody, man. That's the problem. The problem is we haven't had a night with Bryan Smith, Mandell Thomas, Jon Severe and Branden Frazier all playing real well. I don't think we've had that night this year, maybe one, and that's why I didn't start Mandell, you know? I told Mandell his father was one of the hardest-playing guys...Chad Thomas was one of the hardest-playing guys I ever saw play, I recruited him and he ended up going to Rhode Island. Mandell's got a ton of ability, he's a great kid, and I want him to play with greater passion and just greater intensity, and the same with Bryan Smith, so their roles are going to be defined by that, and I think it was a very physical game, which is to our advantage, you know? We don't have the deepest bench, we want to be able to play through contact and all those kind of things, but look, it seems like each night, we're searching for No. 3, that third person to step up and get us up over the top, and it's always 'two guys are having a good night, who's going to be the third guy that has a big night?' Even Branden, that last shot in regulation. I want him to be able to take it to the rim hard and put the onus on the officials to make a call, you know? Jon Severe, he's just learning. If you're going to depend on a freshman to win you all of these games, he had a couple of great looks late that he usually knocks down, and he didn't. I can't put pressure on a freshman like that, that's got to come from veteran players that have been here and been around, and that's obviously Frazier and Bryan Smith, and even Mandell. We have rookies and veterans. That's the way I look at it, so we've got to get a little more from everybody. We need greater balance."
On execution leading to big games in Atlantic 10 play:
"Well, you have a big night because you execute a game plan as well as executing plays. I think it's the physicality. They've got to start playing through contact and enjoy it, you know what I mean? You've got to play with a purpose and you've got to say to yourself 'I'm getting to the rim, and when someone gets in the way, I'm going through him,' instead of 'I'm going to try to avoid them each trip and float or make a fadeaway and take the path of least resistance.'"
On how to manage Jon Severe during cold streaks:
"When I did pull him, as he was coming off the floor, I told him 'Jon, you're going to make your next one.' Shooters have to feel that way, they've got to just shoot it up and sleep in the street, man. If they're making them, you've got to run out the streak, but look, he had two little...they were halfway down at the end, I mean, he makes those and it's a different ballgame, but he's been inconsistent in that sense as a freshman, but once again, he's a freshman. I mean, think about it: He has a poor night and he has 19. I mean, really, he didn't play well and he gets 19. The kid just scores, and another night, he plays real poorly, and I look and he has 17. Granted, there's a lot of shots going up, some of them aren't the greatest shots, but we can live with that because we're teaching him. I think the hardest thing for a great high school scorer as they make the move to college is learning to play with a yellow light, not a green light. In high school, they just have the green light. Now, they understand 'this isn't the right time to take that shot, I can get that shot any time,' and Jon can get that shot, he can find a way to elevate and knock down a three late in the clock, so he's a work in progress, as we are, obviously."
On preventing easy looks under the basket from opponents:
"We have to contain ball pressure, we have to contain the basketball. They've been getting into the lane, and I was hoping by playing the smaller point guards that that would change, but Lindsay's a good one and Anthony's a good one, and they were able to get by them and on that last possession, that second-to-last possession in regulation, Lindsay came to a complete stop, and then exploded and went by Frazier. They can all shoot the ball, so it's hard to get to the ball from the weak side because you've got to respect their ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter. I thought another huge play was Derrick Williams driving the ball. He went by two people and got it to the rim, and that's tough veteran players who know what it takes to win, especially on the road in close games."
Nuggets of Note:
- Fordham's fourth consecutive loss dropped the Rams under .500 for the first time this season, as they have now dropped five of their last six since a 79-60 victory over Howard on December 14th. That game against Howard is Fordham's lone Saturday victory, as they are 1-5 on the night Elton John famously proclaimed was "alright for fighting."
- Branden Frazier's heroic 29-point night on 11-of-20 shooting came in a losing effort thanks to Kendall Anthony's three-pointer with 13 seconds remaining in overtime, one that gave the Spiders a lead they would never relinquish. For most of the last several minutes of the second half, it seemed as if Frazier was replicating his refuse-to-lose performance against Princeton last season at the Barclays Center, where he took over the game in the final four minutes to lift Fordham past the Tigers, but Richmond would not be denied.
- Four Spiders ended the night in double figures, led by Cedrick Lindsay's 19 points. Terry Allen added 18 off the bench, making this the second straight season in which a reserve forward for Chris Mooney's team proved to be one of the deciding factors against Fordham, as Deion Taylor led Richmond with 12 points in last February's 72-55 win at Rose Hill Gym.
- Ryan Rhoomes managed only a pedestrian eight points and 11 rebounds, but there were numerous instances in which he came up bigger than any other Fordham player down the stretch, bailing Frazier out with key offensive rebounds while also holding Derrick Williams and Alonzo Nelson-Ododa at bay for most of the night.
- Finally, Tom Pecora may praise Chris Whitehead for his energy tonight, but the diminutive point guard may have cost Fordham the win on two separate occasions. First, his reluctance to drive to the basket in the final seconds of regulation afforded Frazier a shot from the free throw line that was not the greatest of looks with four seconds to go, which prevented Jon Severe from getting a shot off as he came up with the ball when the buzzer sounded. Whitehead's second mishap came in overtime when he missed his first of two free throws before committing a lane violation when attempting to deliberately miss the second in order to give the Rams a shot at a rebound. With a Dayton team that is overachieving at this point in the year, this game truly is one that got away, and somewhat reminiscent of the consecutive overtime losses to Charlotte and the aforementioned Flyers on the first two Saturdays of February 2012, two games that ultimately kept Fordham out of the Atlantic 10 tournament.