Sunday, November 29, 2015

Fordham 87, Manhattan 64: 5 Fordham Observations

Traditionally the "nuggets of note" that follow the press conference transcript, here are a handful of observations from watching the Rams as they won their fourth straight game, taking the Battle of the Bronx against Manhattan:

  • By the numbers, it was Fordham's best game of the season.
    The Rams' 87 points were a season high, as was the 56 percent (31-for-55) field goal effort for the game. In addition, Mandell Thomas' 26 points were also his highest output to date this year, and three off his career high of 29, while Ryan Rhoomes' 20 marked an all-time peak for the senior forward as the Rams left Rose Hill Gym with a four-game winning streak for the first time since 2010, Tom Pecora's first season. Finally, the 23-point margin of victory was the third-largest for Fordham in the 108-game history of the Battle of the Bronx, and largest since defeating Manhattan by the final of 93-57 on February 4, 1986.
  • Stopping Shane Richards was priority No. 1.
    The Rams kept the senior from making his presence known, holding him to nine points and forcing him into an uncharacteristic 2-for-14 shooting night, his worst effort since scoreless outings last year against both Rutgers and Quinnipiac. "He was the focus of our defense," Jeff Neubauer remarked, "and he certainly was a key for us."
  • Fordham's role players still had solid nights despite rough patches.
    Antwoine Anderson's four turnovers will stand out on the final stat line, but the point guard's four-point swing at the conclusion of the first half was arguably what won Fordham the game, as he flushed an alley-oop from Nemanja Zarkovic before burying a jumper just before the buzzer. Joseph Chartouny also recovered from an erratic game to post 11 points and nine rebounds, furthering his status as a pleasant revelation in the month of November. For the season, the Canadian freshman is averaging 10.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 2.0 steals per game, while shooting 48 percent from the field and 41 percent from three-point range.
  • Offensive balance.
    Neubauer has preached it from his first moments on the Fordham campus, and his team has heeded his instruction through the first five games. In each contest so far in this young season, Fordham has had at least four players post double-figure scoring efforts. Five Rams ended the evening with ten or more points Saturday night for the second time this year, with the other occurrence coming on November 21 against Fairleigh Dickinson, which was; coincidentally, also a 23-point Fordham win.
  • In-game coaching and adjustments.
    This is something Fordham fans have spent years clamoring for, as the Tom Pecora regime was marked by what longtime spectators viewed as indifference bordering on negligence. The Rams improved their ball handling against Manhattan's pressure defense to the tune of committing just five turnovers in the second half, as opposed to 14 miscues before halftime, a fact not lost on their head coach. "In the second half, we played more like who we've been and who we're going to be," said Neubauer, who lamented the lack of hustle for a rebound with 1:47 remaining in regulation even though Fordham held a 20-point lead at that juncture.

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