One last time, Fordham played in a battle of the Rams.
In the second round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament, Fordham fell to VCU 63-57. Head coach Tom Pecora’s team finishes the season with a 10-21 record.
“They always say if you lose by less than five its the coaches fault, but I’ll take it,” Pecora said. “I can see the talent, I can see them moving in that direction.”
Fordham valiantly hung in against a superior VCU team. It was a tie game, 30-30, at halftime thanks to Fordham’s brilliant three-point shooting. Fordham made six of eight attempts from behind the big line in the first half to overcome turning the ball over 12 times.
“Gotta give a lot of credit to Fordham,” VCU head coach Shaka Smart said. “They’ve gotten better and better over the course of the year.”
“Every time we play Fordham they play us real tough,” Smart added.
Fordham simply failed to keep pace in the second half. VCU dominated on the offensive glass, racking up 20 offensive rebounds and getting the better of Fordham inside. Fordham’s hot shooting disappeared and Pecora’s team struggled to handle VCU’s rebounding ability.
The Rams played stellar defense the entire game, holding VCU to just 30 percent shooting, but struggled on the glass. In total, VCU missed 41 shots, but got 20 of those misses back and scored 18 second chance points.
“If you said to me ‘hey, you’re gonna hold VCU to 30 percent from floor and you’re only gonna have 16 turnovers,’ I’d have said we’re gonna win the basketball game,” Pecora said. “The difference maker was them on the boards.
“Their 20 offensive rebounds hurt us a great deal.” Pecora added.
The loss marks the end of senior Bryan Smith’s career. Smith, a Brooklyn native, finished with 14 points, including a trio of huge three-pointers, playing his final game just 10 minutes from his home.
“Me and my brothers left it all out on the court,” Smith said.
Pecora was very proud of his team’s effort, but said he was sad the season was over.
“I’m bummed I’m not going to practice tomorrow,” Pecora said. “I’ll be lost from 11-1.”
Max Prinz is a Staff Writer for the Fordham Ram.