By Tyler Freire
With conference play well underway in collegiate basketball, the Fordham Rams men’s basketball team welcomed the Davidson Wildcats for a Saturday showdown at the Rose Hill Gymnasium.
Both coaching staffs wore sneakers as part the NABC Coaches vs. Cancer awareness week. The Fordham coaches also wore special gold laces to honor Lacey Holsworth, an eight-year-old basketball fan who died of cancer. It was certainly a wonderful gesture from both teams,
as two conference foes got ready to square off.
The first matchup between these two teams saw Fordham’s defense hold Davidson to just 29 percent shooting from the field, including just 19 percent in the first half. The Rams went on to win that game 60-54 in Davidson, North Carolina, and held the Wildcats to a season low points and field goals made.
That certainly was not the case on Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats came out firing, shooting 57 percent from the field in the first half (12-21), while holding the Rams to just 32 percent (8-25). What proved to be a vital weapon for the Wildcats throughout the game was the three-point shot, as they connected on 17 of their first 29 shots from behind the arc, finishing the day shooting .586 from three.
Davidson used that hot shooting to jump out to a 20-8 lead seven minutes into the game and would build that lead all the way up to 22, but a Hawkins three just before the buzzer made it a 40-23 game heading into the locker room for halftime.
However, the Rams offered little resistance as the second half got underway, and the closest they got to the Wildcats was 11 points, soon after, Davidson responded with 10 unanswered points to get its lead back up to 68-47 with 7:42 left in the game.
Down the stretch, Davidson closed this game rather handily, with a final score of 84-66. The Rams fell despite 21 points, four rebounds and three steals from sophomore guard Joseph Chartouny, who had a great day shooting with 8-16 from the field and 3-4 from behind the arc. Three steals from Chartouny, it brought his season total to 71, the fifth best single season total in school history and just seven behind the school record of 78 set by Jason Harris in the 1999-2000 season.
Redshirt junior guard Antwonie Anderson added 16 points, while graduate student guard Javontae Hawkins added 10 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore forward Prokop Slanina rounded out the Rams in double figures as he added 10 points.
The Rams tallied 10 steals on the day making it the 15th out of 21 games that the Rams have recorded double digit steals. But the 17 threes from Davidson mark the highest for any Fordham opponent this season and proved to be the x-factor in this matchup.
At the end of the day, the Rams were unable to limit the stars for the Wildcats. “Davidson is a terrific team, especially when Jack Gibbs and Aldridge can get it going,” said Neubauer. “Those two guys just showed why they are two of the best players in this conference.”
For Davidson, Jack Gibbs, a 1st team All-Conference selection last season, tallied 28 points and seven assists while going 5-5 from behind the arc, proving to be a pest to Fordham’s defense throughout the game. Peyton Aldridge added another 28 points, going 6-10 from three.
“We did try a few different things defensively, but did not find the right combination,” Neubauer said. “Our focus has to be maximized every game, especially against these guys.”
With the loss, the Rams fall to 9-12 on the year, and 3-5 in the A-10. The Rams return to action on Tuesday, Jan. 31st when they host the University of Dayton Flyers for another A-10 showdown. Tip-off is at 9:00 p.m..