Mandell Thomas led all scorers with 26 points as Fordham cruised past Manhattan, 87-64, in Battle of Bronx where five Rams ended night in double figures. (Photo courtesy of Vincent Dusovic via Fordham University Athletics)
BRONX, NY -- In rivalry games, records are put aside more often than not due to the unpredictable nature of bragging rights at stake between the two teams on the floor.
As it so happened Saturday night, Fordham came close to setting a record of their own.
Five players scored in double figures for the Rams, (4-1) who shot 56 percent (31-for-55) from the field in a commanding 87-64 victory over crosstown rival Manhattan in the 108th Battle of the Bronx, Fordham's fourth straight victory of the young season.
The win, the second in three years for the Rams against Manhattan, was also the third-largest margin of victory over the Jaspers (1-3) in the rivalry's 108 contests, and largest since a 93-57 triumph on February 4, 1986, also at Rose Hill Gymnasium.
"I think we're headed in the right direction," said Mandell Thomas, whose 26 points led all scorers and earned him the Mike Cohen Most Valuable Player award. "This has always been intense, Fordham-Manhattan, a rivalry game. The crowd gets into it, and it's even better when we win."
Ryan Rhoomes took advantage of an undermanned Manhattan front line to record a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Christian Sengfelder registered 16 points before fouling out. Joseph Chartouny (11 points, 9 rebounds) came within a rebound of his second straight double-double, and Antwoine Anderson tallied 10 points off the bench, four of them coming in the final 25 seconds of the first half as the Rams seized momentum going into the locker room, using an 18-7 run to take a 42-33 advantage at the conclusion of the opening stanza. In the second half, the Rams were a more disciplined unit, only committing five turnovers after Manhattan's pressure forced them into 14 miscues in the first 20 minutes.
Limited to just seven players because of the injuries that continue to ravage the Jasper roster, Manhattan was led by Rich Williams' 24 points, while Tyler Wilson fought his way to 13 points and eight assists. Shane Richards, the Jaspers' leading scorer, was rendered into a non-factor for the majority of the evening, finishing with just nine points on 2-for-14 shooting before fouling out with 2:06 remaining in regulation.
The game could very well have gone off the tracks for both sides at the 10:35 mark of the second half, when Zane Waterman appeared to come down hard on Thomas on the right baseline as Thomas was driving down the floor, opposite the Fordham bench. The Jaspers' sophomore forward was assessed a flagrant-2 foul, resulting in his automatic ejection from the contest. However, since the foul was not a consequence of a fight, Waterman will not be suspended for Manhattan's next game, which takes place Friday evening on the road against Siena.
Following the foul, which occurred with Fordham leading 62-48, the Rams went on a 17-6 run to stretch their lead to 25 points, and did not let it get within 20 for the remainder of the game.
Fordham continues their nine-game homestand on Wednesday, welcoming Chris Mullin and St. John's to Rose Hill for the first time since 2010, when the Rams erased a 21-point deficit with two separate 16-0 runs to upset the Red Storm, prompting a sellout crowd to storm the court.