Jon Severe leads Fordham into fifth season of Tom Pecora era with an eclectic nonconference schedule. (Photo courtesy of Donnie Dwyer via The Sports Cycle)
When we caught up with him before Fordham started a 2013-14 season that ultimately became a disappointment, head coach Tom Pecora was optimistic in declaring his Rams were moving in the right direction.
One year and the departure of warrior point guard Branden Frazier later, Pecora has yet to comment to us about this season's incarnation of the maroon and white, but one thing the coach did do was release his newest nonconference schedule, which once again features several early win opportunities for the Rams as they attempt to turn the corner once and for all in the steadfastly improving Atlantic 10 Conference.
Fordham begins its 112th season on November 14 by welcoming Division II opponent NYIT, from the East Coast Conference, into the Rose Hill Gym. From there, a pair of road games against Big Ten opponents await the Rams; first against Penn State two days after the opener, with the second coming in College Park on November 20 against Mark Turgeon and Maryland, who make the jump to their new league from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
A four-game homestand brings the Bronx's college team into and out of the Thanksgiving holiday, beginning with UMass-Lowell (November 23) before welcoming Maryland-Eastern Shore six days later. December sees the Rams renew their four-year series with two Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference programs, first against Jimmy Patsos and reigning CBI champions Siena on the first of the month before opening the doors to Rose Hill for a December 10 collision with King Rice and upstart Monmouth.
Two intra-city skirmishes are next up on Fordham's ledger, as the Holiday Festival will feature the Rams in what has become an annual meeting with St. John's University. This season's installment of the rivalry takes place on December 14 at Madison Square Garden, and will be the sixth consecutive season in which the two schools have played one another, the fourth straight inside the "World's Most Famous Arena." From there, the 107th Battle of the Bronx will be the focus, as Steve Masiello and MAAC champion Manhattan seek to avenge a bitter loss to the Rams, this time doing so inside Brooklyn's Barclays Center on December 22 as part of the Brooklyn Winter Hoops Invitational. This game will be just the second between the Rams and Jaspers to be held outside Rose Hill or Draddy Gym since 2001; and 25th overall, with the most recent being a 2001 showdown at Madison Square Garden that pitted Bob Hill on the sidelines against Bobby Gonzalez.
Fordham concludes its non-league portion of the schedule with two more home games, first against Howard for the second straight season on December 28 before a New Year's Eve soiree with South Carolina State.
2014-15 Fordham University Nonconference Schedule (all times TBA)
Friday, November 14: vs. NYIT
Sunday, November 16: at Penn State
Thursday, November 20: at Maryland
Sunday, November 23: vs. UMass-Lowell
Saturday, November 29: vs. Maryland-Eastern Shore
Monday, December 1: vs. Siena
Wednesday, December 10: vs. Monmouth
Sunday, December 14: vs. St. John's at Madison Square Garden (Holiday Festival)
Monday, December 22: vs. Manhattan at Barclays Center (Battle of the Bronx)
Sunday, December 28: vs. Howard
Wednesday, December 31: vs. South Carolina State