Ryan Rhoomes and Jeff Neubauer meet the media following Fordham's win over UMass. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)
Wednesday evening, those fans were able to delight in a 76-66 Fordham victory over UMass. The Rams are now 4-9 in Atlantic 10 play, matching the record of the visiting Minutemen.
First half: UMass gets out to that much-needed good start, leading 14-7 eight minutes in. A good beginning is always vital on the road. It is especially important facing a team that beat you at home earlier this season. While UMass builds a three-possession lead, Fordham comes right back, using the three as the weapon. Antwoine Anderson’s try just before the eight-minute mark ties the score at 18. Fordham pressures after a score, then gets back in a zone half court. I liked what Fordham’s Nemanja Zarkovic did on a few possessions. The sophomore guard knocked a few treys down and was ‘in a zone.’ The next few times down, he received the ball on the perimeter, yet looked over his options rather than fire away. Speaking of fire, the Rams are white-hot, with a 29-18 lead with just over five minutes to play. From the eight-to four-minute mark, Fordham outscored the Minutemen 13-0. Three of their five field goals were from downtown. It is not all outside, as Ryan Rhoomes is too much for any UMass defender to handle on the blocks. Joseph Chartouny caps off the half starting to penetrate, then hitting Anderson with a bullet pass resulting in a buzzer-beating layup.
Halftime: Fordham 40, UMass 25
Possessions: Fordham 30, UMass 29
Offensive efficiency: Fordham 133, UMass 86
● Fordham shot an incredible 76% eFG percentage. That was largely due to shooting 8-of-13 (61.5 percent) from three.
Second half: The Minutemen get a good start over the first five possessions. The deficit was cut to seven, but after a Christian Sengfelder three, it went back to ten. Regardless, a respectable first four minutes for Derek Kellogg’s club. UMass is pressuring full court and trapping the guards in half court, not so much for a steal, but to get the Rams out of an offensive rhythm. Fans behind me are yelling for a walk on Donte Clark’s moves. Gentlemen, the UMass guard is executing a jump stop, not a travel. Despite the good start by the Minutemen, they still trail by 12 at the 12-minute mark. The Rams have not looked for the three very much this half, opting for more looks inside and dribble penetration. With just under six minutes to go, the Fordham led is ten, yet feels like twenty. On several occasions, UMass hits a three and gives a hint of an ensuing run. It never materializes. At the three-minute mark the Rams lead by 13, and at this point, it is about caring for the ball and making your free throws.
Final: Fordham 76, UMass 66
Possessions: UMass 68, Fordham 65
Offensive efficiency: Fordham 117, UMass 97
eFG%: UMass 47, Fordham 56
FT Rate: UMass 28, Fordham 56
O-REB%: UMass 25, Fordham 29
Turnover Rate: UMass 18, Fordham 17
UMass: Trey Davis (20 points, EF 31)
Fordham: Joseph Chartouny (16 points, EF 28)
What UMass did well: Stay with it. After getting blitzed by a 27-0 first half run that turned an 18-9 lead into a 36-18 deficit, the Minutemen slowly fought back and had the deficit to a very manageable seven early in the second half.
What Fordham did well: Defend. That run previously alluded to spanned a little over six minutes. Fordham coach Jeff Neubauer gives a great deal of credit to the defense, a defense, game-wise, limiting UMass to under 50 percent eFG and 97 in offensive efficiency.
Fordham had five players in double figures. Ryan Rhoomes led all with 13 points, while Trey Davis paced UMass with 10 rebounds from his guard position. Besides leading the Rams in scoring, Chartouny had an outstanding line of eight assists against just one turnover.
Fordham kept their turnover rate under 20 percent, and led 19-9 in points off turnovers. The Rams also shot 10-of-24 (41.7 percent) from three, and did hit 50 percent (13-for-26) from inside the arc.
UMass was in a late game catch-up fouling mode, which in part contributed to the Rams’ high free throw rate. On the other hand, Fordham's dribble penetration was effective in getting the Rams to the line. The Minutemen also utilized dribble penetration. They led 28-20 in points in the paint. Without a true post-up game, UMass relied on guards and wings getting in the lane.
The attendance was 2,341, and an enthusiastic crowd at that.
“The defense holding UMASS to 25 points in a half was the key (to a 27-0 run). Several possessions back-to-back converted several three-point shots.” - Fordham coach Jeff Neubauer
“Real fun, (on the spurt) fun to see everyone interact. We had a few games where we struggled.” -Fordham’s Ryan Rhoomes
“Making shots creates positive offense, which allows you to play good defense, it happens. (Jabarie) Hinds (12 points on 3-of-9 shooting) played great against Duquesne and VCU. Our defense focus on guys who can shoot, but also guys who can do a little of everything, not just shoot.” - Neubauer
“This was real good. The team is catching on offense. It's good to see everyone playing well. Five or six players in double figures is big. Defenses can’t double you.” - Rhoomes
“Jon Severe gave us a huge lift, complemented our bench after the game. I usually don’t single out players afterwards in the locker room. Balance, to me, is very important. A few games, three guys played great. When you have five guys, the defense can’t focus on one player. This is what we want to be. ” - Neubauer
“A lot of people out there yelling my name, it feels good. Nice to get more fans out to support us.” - Rhoomes
“Defense, rebounding, offensive execution, these are things I listed in my office trying to figure out how we can turn around some of our recent close losses and win those types of games.” - Neubauer