Eric Paschall erupted in final game of Fordham's trip to Canada, amassing 36 points as Rams ended tour of Great White North 4-0. (Photo courtesy of Adam Zagoria via ZagsBlog.com)
Fordham head coach Tom Pecora mentioned his team's tour of Canada several times during our preseason chat last month, emphasizing the aspect of team bonding during the week-long journey just as much as the ability for him to get a greater feel for his personnel as he enters his fifth season at Rose Hill on the heels of yet another embattled campaign that saw the Rams manage only a 10-21 record.
During four games at the end of August, Fordham returned home with a 4-0 record, showcasing several bright spots along the way. For those who missed the recaps of each game on Fordham's website, here is a look at what the Rams did on the hardwood north of the border:
Game #1: Fordham 70, Concordia 48, August 25, 2014
A 10-5 Concordia run to open the first quarter gave way to a 12-2 Fordham spurt punctuated by a Ryan Rhoomes jumper 64 seconds into the second quarter, dictating the tone for the Ram front line, which saw Rhoomes score eight points and support his cause with 12 rebounds. Freshman Christian Sengfelder, whose praises Pecora sang to us on multiple occasions, added seven points and 10 rebounds in the effort as well. Fordham took over the game late in the first half on a 20-3 run that showcased the talent of freshman point guard Nemanja Zarkovic, who scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half on a night where the native Canadian shot 6-of-10 from the field. Jon Severe was the only other Ram in double figures, scoring 10 points. "I thought we had our moments," a realistic Pecora remarked after the game. "This is the first time we brought everybody together, so obviously, we're pleased with the outcome."
Game #2: Fordham 80, Laval 72, August 26, 2014
Much like the Concordia game the night before, Laval played the role of aggressor through most of the first quarter, but the Rams were there to match them stride for stride before a 15-0 Fordham run capped off by a Jon Severe three-pointer with 6:42 remaining in the first half gave the Rams a 35-21 lead. Severe, whose 24 points on 7-of-13 shooting led Fordham, was one of three in double figures for Pecora, who also got 15 points from Antwoine Anderson and 14 from Christian Sengfelder. Despite leading by double digits for most of the second half, Fordham saw their advantage trimmed to three after Laval brought it to 73-70 with 3:35 remaining in regulation, but secured five unanswered points from Sengfelder and Severe to put the game on ice.
Game #3: Fordham 76, McGill 71, August 28, 2014
For the second time in three games, Nemanja Zarkovic led Fordham's offensive charge, with his 16 points leading four Rams in double figures. However, McGill, who defeated Jimmy Patsos and Siena in a similar exhibition last summer, drew first blood by jumping out to an 8-0 run. Fordham quickly scored the next five points, but the Rams ended the first quarter trailing 23-13. The double-digit deficit was short-lived though, as a 20-4 Fordham run gave the Rams a 33-27 lead behind 10 points from Zarkovic and five from fellow freshman Eric Paschall during the spurt. McGill was the aggressors to start the second half as well, going back in front by seven, and maintained their advantage until the final minute of the third quarter, when a Ryan Rhoomes jumper with 36 seconds remaining in the period tied the score at 54. A Jon Severe three followed by a Rhoomes layup put Fordham ahead by five just 44 seconds into the fourth quarter, a lead the Rams would expand to as many as eight midway through the period. A 13-5 McGill run tied the proceedings at 69, but Severe's layup with 1:16 to go in regulation, the final two of his 13 points, gave Fordham a lead it would never relinquish, as Bryan Smith's putback with 17 seconds left extended the advantage to 73-69.
Game #4: Fordham 91, Brookwood Elite 68, August 29, 2014
No official stats were kept for this game other than points and rebounds, but Eric Paschall had by far the game of his career, exploding for 36 points, including the first eight of the contest as he was one of four Rams in double figures. Ryan Rhoomes and Christian Sengfelder combined for 31 points to supplement Paschall, with senior guard Bryan Smith chipping in with 11 of his own as Fordham used separate 14-2 and 15-0 runs to pull away decisively in the second half.