Jeff Neubauer and Antwoine Anderson meet the media after Fordham's win over George Mason. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)
First Half: Fordham was going man, but double-teaming everything on the perimeter. Even the ‘bigs’ will help out on the double. At the 12-minute break, it was 19-11 Fordham. The perimeter shots were falling for the Rams. As disruptive as the double-team is, with good, crisp, ball movement, a perimeter shot was available. It turns out to be ‘fool’s gold,’ as George Mason was cold beyond the arc. Antwoine Anderson’s 18-footer (they shoot those occasionally) at the seven-minute mark gave the Rams a 28-17 lead. The half came down to this: George Mason looking to run on opportunity, and Fordham stopping transition. The Rams defended very well in the half court. On offense, Jeff Neubauer’s club showed good ball movement and patience with production coming from several players.
Halftime: Fordham 37, George Mason 28
Possessions: George Mason 32, Fordham 33
Offensive Efficiency: George Mason 88, Fordham 112
Second Half: The Rams ‘won’ the first four minutes, 4-3. Fordham went inside early in the half looking for Chris Sengfelder, using his 6-7 size well on the blocks. George Mason at times, over-dribbled, did not make the best decisions, and was guilty of forcing a shot on occasion. Chalk it up to youth, as coach Dave Paulsen has three freshmen in the starting lineup. Give the visiting Patriots credit. Each time Fordham threatened to pull away, George Mason responded. At the 11-minute mark, it was still a three-possession game. The Rams got the lead back to 10 on Anderson’s ‘traditional’ three-point play, and immediately pressured full court. The Patriots, though, found their range. Three-pointers pull George Mason within four with five minutes to go. It is 62-56 Fordham at the four-minute media timeout in your proverbial ‘crunch time.’ Anderson’s three with 90 seconds left increased the Fordham lead to seven. Mark that down as the ‘dagger.’
Final: Fordham 73, George Mason 62
Possessions: George Mason 65, Fordham 68
Offensive Efficiency: George Mason 95, Fordham 107
eFG Percentage: George Mason 43, Fordham 50
Free Throw Rate: George Mason 50, Fordham 25
Offensive Rebound Percentage: George Mason 33, Fordham 14
Turnover Rate: George Mason 26, Fordham 7
Leading Scorers and Effectiveness Factors:
George Mason: Marquise Moore (18 points, 27 EF)
Fordham: Antwoine Anderson (23 points, 27 EF)
What George Mason did well: Rebound. The Patriots owned offensive rebound percentage, and led 41-27 in ‘raw’ numbers. The wealth was spread, as four players had six rebounds and one five boards for the Patriots.
What Fordham did well: Force turnovers while avoiding them. Part of the defensive effort keeping George Mason below the century mark in efficiency was forcing 17 turnovers and a very high 26 percent turnover rate. On the other side, the Rams committed only five miscues in turning out a superb 7 percent rate.
Added notes: Fordham freshman Joseph Chartouny (6 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) rushed some shots, but contributed overall. Courtside neighbor Scott McGuire, an NBA scout, predicted Chartouny, a 6-3 guard, “will become a very good player in this league.” Marko Gujanicic hustled and played well for the Patriots. The 6-8 senior came off the bench to score 15 points, adding six rebounds.
George Mason showed the ability to get to the line, as their free throw rate displays. In fact, the Rams did not visit the charity stripe over the first 20 minutes. Ryan Rhoomes led Fordham with eight rebounds. Rhoomes scored 10 points without a turnover for a tidy effectiveness factor of 21.
Fordham coach Jeff Neubauer postgame: “Good for our program. We lost a few games here, a lot on the road to VCU and St. Joe’s teams we wanted to compete with, but didn’t. We forced turnovers tonight and Antwoine (Anderson) played the best I’ve seen.”
On turnovers: “Something we will work on continually and get better. We defend very well, but must value the ball better and will.”
On defense: “Held George Mason to 62, turned them over and gave a good effort on defense.”
Antwoine Anderson noted: “Keep a defensive mentality and offense will come to you. It starts on defense. Get energy deflecting balls, getting steals that leads to easy baskets on the offensive end.”
General thoughts from Neubauer: “We're improving and I was pleased with our poise. We have to get Joe (Chartouny) back in game rhythm. He shot 1-of-8, but helped us in other ways.”
Neubauer was informed by yours truly about the good and bad. Bad first, Fordham has an A-10 high 29 percent turnover rate. The good? The Rams lead the conference with a 93 defensive efficiency. The Fordham mentor enjoys and has an avid interest in tempo-free statistics. Neither rate came as a surprise, but he did add, “turnovers are just killing us. One of five possessions (20%) ending that way (turning it over) is just not acceptable.”