By Tyler Freire
After suffering back to back losses at the Rose Hill Gymnasium against conference foes Davidson and Dayton, the Rams traveled to Philadelphia to face Saint Joseph’s University and came away with a thrilling double overtime victory. Red shirt junior Antwonie Anderson nailed his second buzzer beater of the year and his third of his career, burying a three as the second overtime horn blew.
The last time the Rams beat Saint Joseph’s, most of these Rams players were still in diapers as Fordham defeated the Hawks 74-73 in a nail-biter back in December 1990. But the Rams were determined to get the victory and that is what they came out and did.
The Hawks seemed to have a tight grasp on this one at the end of regulation as Saint Joseph’s held a 15-point lead, 52-37, with nine minutes remaining. But a lay-in from junior forward Christian Sengfelder with 3:22 left on the clock ignited a 12-0 run from Fordham and before you could even blink, that 15-point lead for Saint Joseph’s disappeared. The Hawks now found themselves trailing by one, 62-61, with 19 seconds left in the game but Saint Joseph’s answered with a three with seven seconds remaining.
After a timeout from head coach Jeff Neubauer, sophomore guard Joseph Chartouny took the inbounds pass at half court and drove hard to the left, finessing a layup as time expired, forcing the first session of extra time. In the first overtime period Fordham led for most of the time until Kimble from the Hawks nailed two clutch free throws with five seconds left forcing a second overtime with the score tied at 75.
After a back and forth affair in the second overtime period, which saw a lot of physical play from both sides, the Rams struggled without some of their key players. Freshman forward Chuba Ohams, sophomore forward Prokop Slanina, Chartouny, and graduate student guard Javontae Hawkins all had fouled out, and the Rams found themselves trailing 81-77 with 1:35 left in the game. On the next possession, sophomore forward Jesse Bunting laid it in under the basket with 1:15 on the clock to make it a two-point game. Thirty-one seconds later, Bunting rebounded a Saint Joseph’s miss and was fouled. He sank both free throws to tie the game at 81.
On the ensuing possession, Anderson swiped the ball away and took the ball to the rack and made a contested layup with 13 seconds left, giving the Rams an 83-81 lead. Buntingwent on to foul Saint Joseph’s Lamar Kimble with just under six seconds left in the game. He sank both free throws, re-tying the game at 83.
After the free throws, Fordham found itself in possession of the ball with the game tied. Who else would have the ball in his hands with the game on the line other than cold-blooded Antwonie Anderson? He raced down the left side of the court and rose up for the deep three that hit nothing but net as time expired, giving Anderson his second buzzer beater of the year, and the Rams the 86-83 victory against conference foe Saint Joseph’s.
Anderson finished the game with a team high 20 points while adding six assists and three rebounds. Slanina added a season high 15 points and five rebounds. Also netting double figures for Fordham was Chartouny, who finished with 12 points, sevenrebounds, six assists and three steals, while Sengfelder had 12 points and seven boards and junior guard Will Tavares chipped in with 10 points.
The contest was Fordham’s second overtime contest of the year (the Rams have won both) and the first double overtime game since a win over St. Bonaventure on Jan 21, 2006. This is also the second straight year that Fordham has won two overtime games and the third Atlantic 10 road victory this year, matching last year’s total.
The Rams outscored the Hawks 34-14 on points in the paint and 23-14 on points off turnovers. They also shot more efficiently, going 43 percent from the floor as opposed to 38 percent for the Hawks. Fordham pulled down a season-high 40 rebounds in the game (previous high was 39 at Davidson), while Chartouny’s three steals brings his season total to 76, two shy of Jason Harris’ 1999-2000 school record of 78.
With the win, Fordham improves to 10-13 overall and 4-6 in the Atlantic 10. The Rams return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 8, as they host the La Salle University Explorers for an A-10 showdown in the historic Rose Hill Gym at 7:00 p.m.