City Sports Report

Loss to St. John’s a reminder of the road ahead for Fordham


Fordham tried their best to hang with St. John’s Sunday, which lasted for about 15 minutes. The Red Storm overwhelmed the young Rams, 74-53, in the ECAC Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden.

Fordham came out trying to trade punches with a better, more experienced team in St. John’s, and for awhile, it looked as if it was working, as the Rams surged to an early 19-13 lead. However, the Johnnies responded with an 11-0 run that Fordham was unable to recover from, and it was all St. John’s from that point.

“I thought we played well for about 15 minutes,” Fordham head coach Tom Pecora said after the game, “and then after that we looked like a young team playing against a veteran team, which is what we were.”

This was more about a reality check than it was anything else for Fordham. This is a maturation process for a team with seven freshmen, who are going to be exposed every night by more experienced teams. An example of this came toward the end of the first half.  The Red Storm lost Chris Obekpa to an ejection after picking up his second technical foul, however Fordham could not capitalize. St. John’s went on an 11-3 run to close out the half after losing Obekpa.

St. John’s came out in the second half and proceeded to dismantle Fordham one play at a time,  scoring 20 of the first 25 points in the half, extinguishing any thoughts of the Rams getting back into the game. The Red Storm benefited from a big game contributed by Rysheed Jordan, coming off the bench to score 24 points. D’Angelo Harrison chipped in with 22 points for the Red Storm, which improved to 8-1 on the season.

“I thought Rysheed played with poise,” St. John’s coach Steve Lavin said. “Played with the right pace. Near perfect game.”

Poise is something the young Rams are still learning. Freshmen Eric Paschall  (14 points, 8 rebounds) and Chris Sengfelder (11 points) continued to show flashes of the talent that has Fordham fans expecting better days ahead, something that Pecora also touched on after the game.

“Paschall, you know, you can see flashes of it, and as I’ve told a number of you prior to the game, we’re really used to working on getting him in better shape, because in preseason, he was banged up. so he didn’t get the full gist of our conditioning program, and we’re still working on that, but he could be a special player. He’s got a chance, and Christian Sengfelder was coming off a big game (21 points, 11 rebounds vs Momnouth) and I thought he really competed for a freshman too, so those are two big bodies and two cornerstones, along with Anderson, that we can build off, I believe.”

Quick Points:

Turnovers helped seal Fordham’s fate on Sunday at the Garden, with the Rams committing 20 turnovers while shooting only 39% from the field.

St. John’s backcourt of D’Angelo Harrison and Rysheed Jordan are a big reason why expectations for the Red Storm playing meaningful basketball in March are rising. The duo combined for 46 points in the win over Fordham.

Obekpa’s ejection in the first half was the lone negative that stood out after the game for St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin. He was disappointed with the “lack of composure and poise” that ultimately resulted in Obekpa picking up his second technical foul with 3:48 left in the first half, however Lavin was pleased with how his team responded going forward.


What’s Next

Fordham  (3-5) will host Manhattan at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on December 22.

St. John’s hosts St. Mary’s (Ca) on December 19.

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