Saturday, December 5, 2015

Fordham 86, CCSU 54: Quotes, Takeaways & Nuggets

Fordham head coach Jeff Neubauer's opening statement:
"For most of the game, our defense was very solid. We did have a lapse there late in the game when we gave up a couple of shots that we didn't want to, but again, the other team's point guard, (Khalen) Cumberlander, was the best player. We've seen that theme here for the last four games where we felt taking the point guard out of the game was real important, so we did guard Cumberlander better after he did get six points on us early, but then for the last 30 minutes, he only had three points and five turnovers. I thought we rebounded well also, and we got some big bodies in there that are doing a good job on the glass."

On whether this was Fordham's best defensive effort:
"I would say there were portions of the game that this was our best defense. For example, the first four minutes of the game was definitely not our best effort. They had eight points at the first media, (timeout) but the final 15 minutes of the first half was terrific, and I think probably the first eight minutes of the second half, our guys really defended."

On the effect success has had on returning players:
"It's a great question. I think part of the challenge right now is just to develop some momentum. That's what the preseason schedule is about, so with a team that has struggled in the past, I think it is important to feel some success. Our guys are playing well, they understand the effort that is needed to win, they understand we've got to get better. We're going to be a heck of a lot better a month from now than we are today. We're going to be really, really good two months from now, so they understand that, and while we're doing that, while we're improving, we've also won some games."

On transition offense and its improvement:
"Good question. I need to watch the film on that to see. I think we did have some good transition situations, there was one in the first half where Ryan Canty did a terrific job of sprinting to the rim. I did talk to Mandell, (Thomas) that should have been Mandell's dunk, and so it's not just the big guys running the court, ALL our guys have got to sprint to the rim, so we definitely have room for improvement there."

Mandell Thomas (12 points, 5 assists) on taking care of business in a potential "trap game" at home:
"It's always important to take care of business. The last two games are in the past, it's a new game every day, so we've got to come out and have a fresh mindset for our next opponent: Go out and win."

Neubauer on program support and what it will take for it to grow:
"I definitely have felt a sense of pride that has emerged here in the last week, and obviously when you play local teams and are able to win games, it creates that sense of pride. I think that's something our players are proud of, they feel it, and as far as what we need to do to really have New York City appreciate this basketball team? We're going to have to win in the Atlantic 10. This is early season, preseason, nonconference, these wins are great and this is where we develop a team, is right here playing tonight, (and) playing again Tuesday. With that said, we're preparing for our Atlantic 10 schedule and we need to win Atlantic 10 games, which has been a real struggle for Fordham in recent history."

Thomas on Fordham's balanced scoring:
"It's just fun basketball, sharing the ball, sharing the wealth. We've got multiple people in double figures scoring, a lot of assists, so I think people want to see fun basketball, and it's fun for us too. You don't want to see one person getting all the shots and scoring, all of that, so sharing the basketball and getting everybody involved? All of that's fun."

On Fordham fans' desire to see a winner:
"I know how bad we want to win, but it will take a lot more to see how bad other people want to win, too. I know we definitely, as a team, coaching staff, want to win, so hopefully those wins keep coming and more fans start showing appreciation."

Neubauer on managing playing time, with 11 players in double-figure minutes:
"That's who our team has to be, and I'm not saying it's got to be eleven guys that play that many minutes, some games it's nine or eight, I don't know. But we've got to have a lot of contributors, and what we talk about with our team, over and over, is we need more. So if you're one of the five guys that's in the starting lineup and you're doing a good job, well, we're going to need more. More importantly, we're going to need more from our bench, and the guys that come off the bench are going to have to continue to improve, find ways to play harder, find ways to help this team."

On alleged postgame exchange with St. John's head coach Chris Mullin, and whether anything was said:
"I think you should ask Chris Mullin."

Nuggets of Note
- The 54 points surrendered by Fordham were a season-low, and the 86 scored were one off the high-water mark of 87, which was achieved a week ago today in the Battle of the Bronx against Manhattan.

- In addition, the Ram defense held Centeal Connecticut State without a double-figure scorer, and took advantage of a young Blue Devils roster by forcing 26 turnovers and converting the miscues into 34 points.

- Fordham's six-game winning streak is the Rams' first since the 2000-01 season, when former NBA head coach Bob Hill patrolled the bench at Rose Hill Gymnasium. In that stretch, Fordham has defeated their opponents by an average of 23.17 points per game, including a season-high 32-point margin of victory today.

- Five Rams ended the evening in double figures for the third time this season, and second in the last three games. Three more tallied seven or more points, including an encouraging seven from freshman David Pekarek, who also amassed three rebounds.

- Finally, as Central Connecticut fell to 0-7 on the season, the Blue Devils do have a glimmer of hope in freshman forward Malik Toppin, whose nine points and four rebounds tied the team lead in both categories. CCSU will not have Ken Horton and Robby Ptacek walking through the door in New Britain anytime soon, but if the potential of the young roster has continued flashes of brilliance, it could be a welcome change for embattled head coach Howie Dickenman, a true good guy of the business that is really impossible to root against, especially given his team's struggles in recent years.

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