By Tyler Freire
After a thrilling double overtime buzzer beater victory last Saturday against St. Joesph’s, the Fordham Rams suffered two tough losses against conference foes La Salle and George Mason.
There was some good news in those two losses. In the first game of the week, Wednesday against La Salle, sophomore guard Joseph Chartouny recorded four steals, bringing his season total to 80. This surpasses the previous record of 78 set by Jason Harris back in the 1999-2000 season.
Fordham struggled most of the game against La Salle, as the Explorers led for the first 11:34 of the game. A layup from junior forward Christian Senglfeder knotted the game up at 15 with 8:26 left in the first half, but La Salle responded with a 9-2 run over the next five minutes to take a 26-21 lead with 1:43 left in the half.
After a three and mid-range jumper from Chartouny the following possessions, the Rams were within two, 28-26 with under a minute left in the half. But the Explorers scored the final four points of the half to take a 32-26 advantage heading into the locker room.
The Explorers saw little resistance in the second half and would score ten un-answered to go up 16, 42-26 just four minutes into the half. Fordham began to chip away as back-to-back threes from graduate student guard Javontae Hawkins and junior guard Will Tavares trimmed La Salle’s lead to just ten with 13:39 remaining.
A 14-2 run from the Explorers sealed the game, as La Salle took a commanding 56-34 lead with 7:38 left in the game. The closest the Rams got from that point was within 15 points, and Fordham would end up losing 67-52 at the Rose Hill gymnasium.
The 52 points ties Fordham’s season low, which they set against Harvard earlier in the year. The four made free throws also ties a season-low for the Rams.
Leading the Rams in the scoring department was Hawkins, who netted 18 points, shooting 4-9 from behind the arc while adding three steals. Joseph Chartouny added 14 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals.
“Our team did a good job at competing…but tonight we had trouble, first of all on the defensive end,” said head coach Jeff Neubauer.
The Rams had to make adjustments quickly, as they traveled to Fairfax, Virginia to face George Mason on Saturday evening. Right from the jump ball, the Rams came out lacking energy and struggled to get stops defensively. Fordham was down 15 heading into halftime.
As the second half got underway, the Rams continued to struggle and were down 14, 59-45, midway through the half. But Fordham would not go away quietly, as the Rams went on a 15-2 run lead by Chartouny to make it a one point game, 61-60, with 2:15 left in the game.
After both teams exchanged a pair of free throws to make the score 63-62, George Mason’s Jalen Jenkins missed a layup but was able to grab the rebound and put it back giving the Patriots a 65-62 lead with a minute on the clock.
The Rams then worked the ball around the perimeter, finding Sengfelder who got off a three that bounced in and out. The Patriots grabbed the rebound and Fordham was then forced to foul George Mason over the final 30 seconds.
George Mason went on to hit all eight free throws over that period, while the Rams could only manage a Chartouny three with four seconds remaining, making the final score 73-67 in favor of George Mason.
Chartouny led the way for the Rams with a game-high 21 points to go along with eight rebounds, five assists and three steals. Redshirt junior guard Antwoine Anderson and Sengfelder also finished in double figures with 14 and 11 points respectively, with Anderson adding six assists and three steals.
The Rams fell despite having a 44-24 rebound advantage over George Mason as well as committing fewer turnovers than the Patriots. The Rams also recorded 16 steals, making it the 16th game in which they have recorded double digit steals.
With the two losses, the Rams fall to 10-15 overall, 4-8 in the Atlantic 10. The Rams return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 15, as they travel to Kingston, R.I., to face the University of Rhode Island Rams for an A-10 showdown.