City Sports Report

Fordham shows sense of urgency with big win over Siena

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Eric Paschall scored 19 points and blocked a last-second layup to help Fordham secure a 69-67 win over Siena at Rose Hill Gym on Monday night.

The Rams snapped a four-game losing streak in dramatic fashion, with seconds left to play, Siena’s Brett Bisping was denied on his layup attempt by Paschall to preserve the victory. Fordham improved to 2-4 on the season, picking up their first win over a Division I team.

This was a must-win game for Fordham, as they came into Monday’s game reeling off back-to-back disappointing losses at home to UMass Lowell and Maryland-Eastern Shore respectively. The Rams also were playing their second game since announcing sophomore Jon Severe has left the team on a leave of absence for personal reasons.

The Rams needed a wake-up call and perhaps their most recent loss to Maryland-Eastern Shore served as one for them. They came out against Siena with enthusiasm, intensity, and clearly a sense of urgency on defense that’s been missing so far with them this season.

Junior forward Ryan Rhoomes crashed the boards hard against Siena, pulling down 17 rebounds and blocking 5 shots. Junior guard Mandell Thomas and freshman guard Antwoine Anderson scored 18 points apiece, giving the Rams a much-needed lift on offense. Rhoomes stepped up big-time Monday night, the veteran is being counted on to provide much-needed leadership to the young Rams.

Thomas and Anderson provided the type of  solid guard-play for Fordham that they’ll need more of going forward this season. Head coach Tom Pecora made it clear in the post-game press conference he’s expecting Thomas to elevate his game in hopes it’ll also make things easier for the freshmen.

“I want Mandell to play at a higher level. He’s got more ability in his pinkie, he does some things in practice that we just go ‘Damn!’ We need that all the time, you know, and we’ve got to get him doing it on a high level as Ryan did, and that takes pressure off the freshmen and allows them to play a little bit.”

Paschall continues to emerge as the go-to guy for Fordham on offense. In one stretch, the freshman guard drained a three from the right corner, and on the next possession he nailed a three from the left corner, giving the Rams a 13-point lead at the time. Fordham benefited from running it’s offense through Paschall, which they did it much more often against Siena than in previous games.

Siena received a big-time performance from Marquis Wright.  The 6’0″ sophomore guard scored a career-high 31 points in the losing effort.

Head coach Tom Pecora on Wright:

“He’s a good little player, man. You know, we’ve played them the last few years, obviously, and he’s a tough little son of a gun … He was real good at getting into the lane and scoring the basketball. At the end, went up and just face-guarded him to try to keep the ball out of his hands, but he’s a fine player, he’s a very good player.”

When it mattered most, this time it was Fordham coming up with key stops on defense, capped off by Paschall’s big-time block in the closing seconds to seal the win over the Siena.

The Rams are a team that came into the season hoping to have senior center Ryan Canty and Severe in the starting lineup, however that’s no longer the case. In the meantime, they’ll have to continue to scrap and hustle for success every night.

What’s Next?

The win over Siena gives Fordham a positive start to the month of December. They get a few days to prepare for their next game, December 10 against Monmouth at Rose Hill Gym.

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