Fordham head coach Jeff Neubauer's opening statement:
"Steve Pikiell has done a great job with the Rutgers program so far. For them to be 11-1 right now is really a tribute to him and how they've been able to recruit and really instill a defensive mentality, very similar to what we tried to do last season. We got off to a similar start. They are huge, they're the second-best offensive rebounding team in the country, and that really was a problem for us. For us to be more successful, we've got to become a better shooting team, and we certainly did not shoot the ball great today."
On preparation following a weeklong layoff after the loss to Manhattan:
"Our biggest problem, and we handled exam week much different than I ever have simply because our bodies are not healthy, so it wasn't a full week to prepare. We literally have just been limping through practice, and we limped through this game. That's not an excuse. Rutgers deserved to win. Rutgers defends at a high level, they have physicality, they have big bodies, they're well-coached. But preparation-wise, we're simply trying to get healthy."
On having Joseph Chartouny and Javontae Hawkins come off the bench:
"Again, the only reason we did that was to get the most out of our bodies. Both those guys have been battling injuries, they've been limping up and down the court. We really thought to get the most out of David Pekarek and Will Tavares, we'd put them in the starting lineup and really try to squeeze some minutes out of them, and we did get 27 minutes out of David."
On consistent offensive struggles, highlighted by Christian Sengfelder shooting 2-for-15 from the floor:
"Part of it is we're playing guys too many minutes. Chris is out there 35 minutes, and that really does affect him; but also, that's a really good defensive team. They're not going to give him the clean looks that maybe he's gotten in other games. Rutgers did defend him very well, they stayed very close to him. I would guess that several of his ten looks (from three-point range) were good shots, but they were well contested by Rutgers."
"I think what they've done this year is similar to how we did last year, and what I mean by that, we took over a program at Fordham that had won 14 Atlantic 10 games over a seven-year period, and that's two a year for seven years, and we won eight Atlantic 10 games. Our formula last year was we really were able to get our team confidence early in the season, we started out 9-2 and I believe Rutgers is now 11-1, so very similar starts and that confidence really can lead to playing well against really good basketball teams. I actually think they'll do well. Will they win every game in the Big Ten? Absolutely not, but they're going to compete at a high level because of their defense."
Nuggets of Note:
- Fordham's shooting struggles, which Jeff Neubauer partially circumvented, were on full display once again while dropping their sixth straight game by shooting 32 percent from the floor. Today's 19-for-59 effort, coupled with the 8-for-39 finish against Manhattan last week, gives the Rams a 28 percent clip over their last 69 minutes and nine seconds of basketball.
- Joseph Chartouny got back on track after consecutive games against St. John's and Manhattan where he simply could not get anything going. The sophomore point guard led the Rams with 17 points off the bench, missing only two of his eight field goal attempts, and contributed seven steals to an ancillary stat line that also featured a pair of assists without a turnover.
- Aside from Chartouny, though, the Fordham offense was mired in what has become a month-long funk. The rest of the roster shot just 13-for-51 from the field, with Antwoine Anderson putting forth a pedestrian effort by tallying 11 points and seven assists.
- Finally, the lack of a steady post presence once again came back to burn the Rams, as Rutgers was able to use seven-footer C.J. Gettys as a decoy for Deshawn Freeman, who is slowly turning into a Jameel Warney clone with his double-double tendencies. Freeman fed off a mismatch and a weaker Fordham front line to score 16 points and secure 11 rebounds. There are not many solid options down low for Neubauer without Ryan Rhoomes, but the Rams will need to work on developing the likes of David Pekarek and Prokop Slanina if they have any hope of succeeding in Atlantic 10 play.