After a 17-14 campaign last season, the Fordham Rams men’s basketball team traveled to Tennessee to face East Tennessee State in the season opener.
The Rams got off to a fast start from behind the arc as sophomore forward David Pekarek hit the fourth of the four straight Fordham three-pointers to open the game and put the Rams up five, 18-13, with 12:03 left in the first. Yet, ETSU used a 12-3 spurt to take a 25-21 lead with 8:24 on the clock.
As the game progressed, the three point shot did not prove to be a viable option. The Rams hit just three of their final fifteen from behind the arc. ETSU went on to score nine straight points to take a double digit lead, 35-25, with 4:37 remaining in the first half.
The Rams managed to cut the ETSU lead to six twice over the next three minutes, but ETSU took a 47-37 lead into the break. As the second half got underway, ETSU built on the momentum gained at the end of half and scored the first eleven points of the half. ETSU jumped out to a commanding 58-37 lead three minutes into the half.
The closest the Rams got from that point on was with 10:51 remaining in the game as they cut ESTU’s lead to fourteen with the score of 65-51. The final score was a lot worse, 96-59.
David Pekarek and junior guard Antwonie Anderson each netted 11 points for Fordham while sophomore guard Joseph Chartouny added eight.
The Rams returned to action on Monday night, Nov. 14, hosting the New York Institute of Technology in their first game in the Rose Hill Gymnasium of the season.
As the game got started, it was clear that NYIT would be no match for the Rams. Fordham led by just seven at half with the score of 42-35 and in the first four minutes of the second half NYIT cut the lead to just four. However, that score was as close as it got, as Fordham began to pull away.
Fordham would outscore NYIT 18-4 over the next three minutes of action to take a commanding 82-61 lead with 6:08 remaining in the game. For the rest of the contest, the lead would not drop past 19 points. Fordham would go on to win the game, earning their first win of the season with the final score of 101-75.
The game marked the first time the Rams scored 100 points or more in a game since 2010 (a 111-100 loss at Duquesne) and the first time the Rams scored 100 or more points in a win since a 110-73 victory over Siena in 1999.
Chartouny led the way for the Rams, notching his third career double-double with 17 points and 14 assists. The 14 assists are a career-high for Chartouny, who also shot an efficient 7-for-11 from the field and added four steals.
Chartouny was one of six Rams to net double figures, including all five starters. They were led by graduate transfer guard Javontae Hawkins, who tallied 18 points. Junior guard Will Tavares finished with 13 points, shooting 3-for-4 from behind the arc, and Anderson added 13 points and five assists. Junior forward Christian Sengfelder and sophomore forward Jesse Bunting each finished with 12 points and seven rebounds for Fordham.
The Rams made 13 three-pointers in the game, two shy of the school record, while attempting a school-record 34 long distance shots.
Head coach Jeff Neubauer was pleased with his team’s performance on offense, particularly their good ball distribution, as they had a 25-8 assist to turnover ratio, but Neubauer feels there is room for improvement on the defensive side.
“We have a lot of places to improve defensively,” Neubauer stated. “What we did a lot better tonight was value the ball, our guards really passed the ball well and created for their teammates and got easy opportunities.”
The Rams, now 1-1 on the year, return to action on Friday, Nov. 18, as they open play for the first of three straight days by hosting Fairleigh Dickinson University at 6:00 p.m.