Fordham Men’s Basketball has gotten off to a pleasing start despite dropping the season opener. After losing 77-72 on the road to the University of Texas at Arlington, the Rams have strung together four straight wins.
Queens College, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Colgate University and Manhattan College all share the title of Fordham’s most recent victims, and offense has been a huge strength in these victories. The Rams put up 76 points against Queens College, 85 against FDU, 84 against Colgate and most recently, 87 points against the crosstown rival Jaspers. The offense has been bundled with decent defense, as Fordham has won by an average of about 23 points in its first four wins. Their only loss, the five point loss to Arlington, also shows that when they have been on the wrong end of the score sheet, it wasn’t by all that much.
Though there’s no “I” in team and everyone contributes, some big offensive numbers have come from three of the Rams’ top players. Forward Christian Sengfelder has scored 69 points in his first five games, while Ryan Rhoomes, also a forward, contributed 74 points thus far, and senior guard Mandell Thomas dropped 88 points through his first five contests.
Fordham’s most recent win against Manhattan College in the so-called “Battle of the Bronx” is a good sign given the Jaspers’ previous strength and record against Fordham. Manhattan took the Battle of the Bronx last year and they lead the all-time series against Fordham 56-52. Despite the Jaspers’ currently unimpressive 1-3 record in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, they’ve been a strong team as of late, making appearances in the NCAA tournament in both 2014 and 2015. The rivals from Riverdale aren’t slouches, so that’s just one extra reason for Ram fans to indulge just a little bit more in Fordham’s current performance.
Coming up next on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. is another big game for Fordham as the Rams take on St. John’s University, another rival. SJU are always formidable opponents, and Fordham is looking to end its recent win-drought against them. The game usually receives a bigger venue such as the Barclays Center, but this year it will be played in the Rose Hill Gym.
Currently, the Rams sit in fifth place of the 14 teams in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Only Davidson (4-0), George Washington (6-1), Duquesne (5-1) and Dayton (5-1) place higher than Fordham at the moment. No one’s ever been crowned top dog in the first five games, but a team can certainly put itself in a good position with a good foundation.
Fordham’s new head coach Jeff Neubauer seems to be on a good course, but five games is an awfully small sample size and only time will tell where the Rams will end up. Neubauer led his old team at the University of Eastern Kentucky to two NCAA tournament appearances, and it would be nice to see Fordham maroon thrown in the mix this year. Conference games are still yet to be played, and those games always test a team’s abilities. But there’s still a great deal of the season left, and the only way to take it on is game-by-game.