By Tyler Freire
After coming off two tough losses last week against conference foes, the Fordham men’s basketball team bounced back with a pair of victories against the University of Rhode Island and Saint Louis University. In the midst of Saturday’s victory against Saint Louis, Fordham junior forward Christian Sengfelder became the 37th player in Fordham history to score 1,000 career points.
But before the historic milestone for Sengfelder, the Rams traveled to Kingston, Rhode Island and picked up a huge win on the road, defeating Rhode Island 53-43. Fordham put on an excellent defensive performance, limiting Rhode Island to its lowest point total of the year, 43, and holding the home squad to shooting a season-low 30.4 percent (17-56) from the field, and just 10.0 percent from behind the arc (2-20).
This stellar defensive performance came after Fordham head coach Jeff Neubauer instructed his team to play as hard as they could, especially on the defensive end, given the subpar performance they displayed last week, and the Rams responded.
The game was tied 11 times, with the last tie coming at 40 a piece with seven minutes 38 seconds remaining. But for the remainder of the game Fordham buckled down on the defensive end, swarming Rhode Island’s guard and only allowing three points over the next seven minutes of action.
Fordham out-rebounded Rhode Island, 38-37, and are now 5-1 in games this year in which Fordham out-rebounds its opponent.
The Fordham offense was led by graduate student guard Javontae Hawkins, who scored a game-high 20 points to go with nine rebounds, while junior forward Christian Sengfelder recorded his second double-double of the year with 17 points and a season-high 13 rebounds.
But during morning walkthrough, the Rams were informed that they would be without sophomore guard Joseph Chartouny, who flew back home due to a family emergency. With Chartouny out, the Rams found themselves having to adjust their defense from a man to man to a zone.
This turned out to be a great decision for head coach Jeff Neubauer, as the Rams held Saint Louis to just 40 points, making it the second straight game the Rams have held their opponent to scoring in the 40s.
The Rams held Saint Louis to shooting just 37.5 percent (15-40) from the field and 26.7 percent from three (4-15). The Rams held the Billikens to just 19 first half points, the lowest for a Fordham opponent this year while the 40 total points scored by Saint Louis are the fewest by a Fordham opponent since a 42-40 win over Army West Point in 1993.
The story of the game came late in the second half as Christian Sengfelder scored his 1,000th career point on a jumper with 3:23 left in the game becoming the 37th player in Fordham history to do so. The hoop gave Sengfelder 13 points on the day to go along with seven rebounds.
“It means a lot, it’s a big milestone for anyone playing college basketball. But without my teammates, I wouldn’t have achieved this accomplishment,” said Sengfelder.
Certainly, the response you expect from someone who has always been a great teammate and is giving his blood sweat and tears to this program. Sengfelder went on to discuss how his team’s defense has been stout in their last two outings by saying:
“That has been our focus all year, and we haven’t really showed it in all our games this season. But we want to have a defensive mentality, and having these results makes us proud.”
This is the first time the Rams held back-to-back opponents to scoring in the 40s since the 2004-2005 season, while the 40 points is an all-time low for a Fordham opponent since 1993. Rounding out the scoring for the Rams was Antwonie Anderson, who connected on his first four three-pointers of the game, and finished shooting 8-for-13 from the field with a season high 20 points, adding three rebounds, two assists and two steals. While graduate student guard Javontae Hawkins tallied 17 points, shooting 5-for-7 from the field and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line, also blocking three shots.
Over the past two games, Fordham has held their opponents shooting 17.1 percent from behind the arc (6-35), and 33.0 percent from the field (32-96). A vast improvement from the previous week which seen the Rams suffer two tough losses against conference foes.
But nonetheless, the Rams gathered two solid wins this past week improving their record to 11-15 overall and 6-8 in the A-10 conference. The Rams return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 22, as they travel to Pittsburgh to face the Duquesne University Dukes in an Atlantic 10 game at 7 P.M.