Men’s Basketball Splits First Two Games of Season

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Men’s Basketball Splits First Two Games of Season

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ric Pashcall’s postserizing dunk late in the first half was the highlight of the Rams’ 94-77 win over NYIT. Neil Tennant/The Ram

Eric Pashcall’s postserizing dunk late in the first half was the highlight of the Rams’ 94-77 win over NYIT. Neil Tennant/The Ram

By Max Prinx

The Rams started their 2014-15 schedule as expected, with a victory and a strong performance against NYIT and a disappointing loss on the road to Penn State.

Their first contest of the year came on Friday night at Rose Hill Gym. Head coach Tom Pecora’s team al- lowed NYIT to hang around a little longer than was preferable, but still easily dispatched the Bears, 94-77.

“The game served its purpose,” Pecora said after Friday’s game. “I wanted to play a home game — the schedule worked out that way. I wanted us to have some success and we had that, and to work out the kinks with seven freshmen.”

The play of the Rams’ underclass- men was the story of the season opener. Pecora started three true freshmen against the Bears, but none were better than Eric Paschall. Paschall, a highly-touted recruit from Westchester, was spectacular in his Rose Hill debut, putting up 31 points and breaking the record for the most points by a freshman in a debut.

“I did not expect to have a night like I did,” Paschall said.” I just came out and it happened. My teammates did a great job finding me.”

Paschall had the play of the night when, late in the first half, he got out in front on the fast break, caught a pass from redshirt freshman Antoine Anderson and posterized a poor NYIT defender with a slam dunk.

“Coaches always tell me to finish strong. They hate when I lay it up,” Paschall said of his highlight play. “So when I saw the opportunity, I took it.”Christian Sengfelder and Nemanja Zarkovic were the other two freshmen who joined the starting lineup, at forward and point guard, respectively. Sengfelder displayed a nice shooting touch for a player his size, going six of 11 from the floor and making a trio of 3-pointers.Pecora also highlighted the strong decision-making skills of Sengfelder and Zarkovic, the latter of whom finished with six assists and no turn- overs.“They’re puppies, but they’re big puppies,” Pecora said. “They’re going to have their nights, obviously being freshmen, where there might be some issues, but I think that everyone did good.”

The Rams also got a boost from the strong play of junior forward Ryan Rhoomes, who was a force on the interior. Rhoomes recorded his first double-double of the year, scoring 12 points and grabbing 13 rebounds against NYIT.

Another interesting trend against NYIT was the way the Rams began each half strongly. Fordham scored 11 unanswered points to start the first, and its 7-0 run to start the sec- ond period helped put the game out of reach.

Things did not go as well in the Rams’ second game. Fordham’s lack of experience was put on full display against Penn State, and the Rams fell 73-54.

The Rams again started three freshmen, while the Nittany Lions had two seniors and a junior in their starting five.

Continuing a trend from its first game, Fordham started strong out of the gate, taking a 10-5 lead into the first media timeout. The hot start cooled off considerably over the next four minutes, however, as Penn State scored 11 unanswered points to take a lead it would not relinquish.

Paschall followed up his strong debut with a less impressive per- formance against Penn State. The young Ram fouled out with 13:41 remaining in the second half and scored just seven points.

Zarkovic put up a much higher scoring total in his second game, scoring a team-high 14 points in 32 minutes.

The Rams’ next contest comes Thursday, Nov. 20 against the Uni- versity of Maryland. After that matchup, the Rams return home to take on the UMass Lowell on Sun- day.

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Max Prinz is the Sports Editor for The Fordham Ram.