Fordham head coach Jeff Neubauer's opening statement:
"Our team did a very good job competing tonight. We talk about all the time having a defensive mentality, and the fact that we held St. John's to 25 points in the first half, I mean, that's the type of thing we're after, where we're really focused on guarding, we don't care how many points we have, all that. That was very good. Also, we rebounded very well. Ryan (Rhoomes) had nine offensive rebounds, which is terrific against any team, but especially when you're playing against really large, athletic guys, so just overall, I'm proud of the effort and I think the defense is making strides. We're getting better."
Ryan Rhoomes (26 points, 12 rebounds) on his game reaching midseason form:
"I'm just trying to do what's best for my team and my coach. Coach wants me to go out there and play as hard as I can. He's a phenomenal coach, he wants the best out of his best players, so I give him the praise for everything."
Neubauer following up:
"Ryan's really made a lot of progress over the last eight months. We got here about eight months ago, and we've really spent a lot of time working on his post game and his patience in the post, so you can see he's really unselfish. He's looking to pass probably too much out of there, which is fine. We want all of our guys to be unselfish players, but this is what he's been doing consistently, meaning not necessarily the 26 points, but his field goal percentage is well over 70 percent, and he's taking the right shots, he's getting to his spot on the floor and he's scoring the ball."
Rhoomes on first six games and how things are different:
"It's been fun. It finally feels good to be a Ram. All these years I've been here, year after year, I'm happy. Every morning, I want to practice, I want to play games, it's been real fun."
"We're more of a team, we have a system, the defense, it just feels like a good basketball team. I don't think about losing. My team has my back, my coach has my back, and we have a lot more confidence this year."
On how he has improved this season:
"I think I've just been trying to score every time I get the ball. My defense has improved as well, so overall I think it's just scoring and defense."
Neubauer on defending St. John's guard Federico Mussini:
"We just felt like Mussini was the key to their team, because first of all, he's their leading scorer. Second of all, he takes the most shots. Third of all, he has the most assists. He's the key to their squad, and I think the most important thing is the difference between the two programs right now is the fact that when I got to Fordham, we inherited some really talented and experienced players, and St. John's is a whole new team. So we felt like if we could make Mussini less of a factor, then it gave us a better chance."
On Rhoomes defending Yankuba Sima:
"We thought Ryan would do a good job inside, (but) I never imagined he would have a career-high 26, I didn't think he'd have nine offensive rebounds, but he certainly stepped up. This is the first shot blocker that we've played against this year, and every time you go to a new game, every game is unique and you're challenged. This was a game where we had to learn about playing against a shot blocker, and I think our team did very well."
Rhoomes on crowd atmosphere:
"It's fun to have the crowd there. We want them to be heard and everything, but at the end of the day, I've got to win for my team and my coach. I don't care if there's one person here or 1,000 people here, I don't care. I just want to get the 'W.'"
Neubauer on Joseph Chartouny contributing despite just two points:
"As far as how guys play, we don't even look at scoring, and when I say that, I know Ryan had 26 just because it mentions on here that it's his career high. But we don't care if Joseph scores. We don't care if Jon (Severe) scores. We don't care who scores, it's about our defense, and Jon's making great strides defensively., Joseph picked up a couple of cheap fouls, but in general, he's guarding much better."
On whether or not Fordham has something to prove:
"Our mentality's not about that at all. Our mentality's about, 'can we improve?' 'Can we get better?' We ask these guys to be great teammates every day, and we ask them to improve every day. I think our team is getting better, and now we're into December, this is our first December game. This team is better than it was two weeks ago, so hopefully we can make another stride tomorrow morning with our film session and get better, and we've got another challenge on Saturday."
On what exactly guys need to buy into:
"People use that 'buy in' phrase all the time. I don't know what it means, I don't like it, whatever. All I know is these guys are playing for each other. They're playing together, they're sharing the ball defensively, they're there for each other. We have to improve, we've got to get better at these things, but they are trying to support each other at both ends of the court."
On crowd atmosphere:
"I thought it was really loud. I thought it was great to have the students back on campus, I don't know how many students came through the door, but that was a great student crowd and it was very loud."
On Mandell Thomas:
"Mandell, he's a really talented player, so when I talk about the fact that we inherited some really talented basketball players, one of them is sitting right here, (Ryan Rhoomes) another one is Mandell Thomas. He's got a lot of game, and offensively, he's as good an offensive player as I've ever coached. He is really talented, and he picked some good spots to score the ball."
Rhoomes on his offensive aggression and how he has improved:
"I think it's the confidence. Coach Neubauer and (assistant) Coach (Rodney) Crawford came in here and forced me to be a better player than I am. He wanted more out of me than I wanted from myself, so I think it's more of a confidence thing."
"We were in here busting our butts every day. I didn't go home for either of the summer sessions. I was here working on my post up game, getting better every day."
Nuggets of Note
- Fordham led wire-to-wire against St. John's for their fifth straight victory, the longest streak for the Rams since the 2006-07 season, when Dereck Whittenburg patrolled the bench at Rose Hill.
- Ryan Rhoomes has set career-high point totals in each of his last two games. Only four days removed from 20 points and 10 rebounds in the Battle of the Bronx against Manhattan, the senior forward not only amassed 26 points and 12 rebounds tonight, but shut down 6-11 freshman center Yankuba Sima of St. John's, rendering the shot-blocking phenom scoreless.
- In Fordham's first matchup on campus against the Red Storm since their magical 84-81 victory December 11, 2010, the Rams took the fight to their rivals from the other side of the Whitestone Bridge early, scoring the first six points and holding serve every time St. John's threatened to take the lead. The Red Storm pulled within one, but a 19-4 Fordham run erased any chance of the game being close going into the locker room, as the Rams led 41-25 at the intermission and never looked back from there.
- Although he only had 14 points, Jon Severe looked better offensively than he did at any point since the Battle of the Bronx in his freshman season, when he scored 30 points at Draddy Gymnasium on a night where Fordham picked up a road victory against Manhattan. Severe displayed his shooting touch on multiple occasions, and also showcased a veteran instinct to create the best possible opportunity in lieu of firing away, something he had done at will when former coach Tom Pecora gave him a perpetual green light with the ball in his hands. The discipline exercised by the junior guard has really improved his game in ways that no amount of words can truly describe.
- Finally, as the Rams remain undefeated on their nine-game homestand, it looks like Fordham has a realistic chance to possibly win ten games before Atlantic 10 play begins at George Washington on January 3. Their neutral site meeting with Boston College is a winnable game that could possibly get them to 10-1 if all goes well the rest of the way, and their lone loss is a respectable five-point defeat against a UT-Arlington team that has come back to score victories against both Ohio State and Memphis.