By Tyler Freire
In the final two games of the season, Fordham lost a heartbreaker against George Washington in the final moments of the game and lost handily to La Salle in Philadelphia.
Starting with the matchup against George Washington, the Rams fell 67-66 in devastating fashion. GW only led the game for 2:17 minutes of action and struggled most of the game due to the Rams swarming matchup zone. Fordham tallying 11 steals on the game, bringing their season total 299 on the year, good for third-best in school history.
The Rams jumped out to a 10-2 lead over the first 4:30 before the Colonials battled back, eventually taking a 20-19 lead with 9:03 left in the half. But a few minutes later, Fordham trailed by just three, until the Rams turned that swarming defense into offense going on a 16-0 run.
The run was led by sophomore guard Joseph Chartouny, who nailed three three-pointers as well as a couple break away layups during that run, giving him 15 points and four steals at the half. His outburst also gave the Rams a 41-28 lead at the half.
Fordham shot 63 percent from the field, including shooting 6-11 from long range in the frame, and were outscoring GW in the paint despite being undersized. But this was a game of two completely different halves for both teams, as GW stormed back in the second half.
The Rams went on to shoot just 36 percent (9-25) over the final 20 minutes, while George Washington shot 58.3 percent (14-24). The Rams also committed 12 second-half turnovers, which the Colonials converted into 17 points.
The Rams found themselves down one with just 11.2 seconds remaining after both teams went back and forth with buckets, until a three from freshman guard Cavit Havsa erupted the crowd and put the Rams up 66-64. The Colonials then called a timeout to advance the ball up court. George Washington controlled the ball at the top of the key when Tyler Cavanaugh got open and lofted a three-pointer that was going to be far right.
But junior forward Christian Sengfelder did not let Cavanaugh land after his wild jump shot and was whistled for a foul on the play. This gave Cavanaugh three free throws with 0.9 seconds remaining and the ice-cold Cavanaugh buried all three, giving the Colonials the 67-66 road win.
The Rams connected on 11 three-pointers in the game to bring their season total to a school-record 245, surpassing the former mark of 243 set by last year’s squad.
The loss overshadowed the play of Chartouny, who scored a game-high 20 points to go with six steals and five assists. Havsa’s contributions were buried in the loss, despite single-handedly keeping the Rams in the game by hitting three three-pointers in the final two minutes, each time giving the Rams the lead.
“This is the type of game you expect once March comes around…GW made one more play than us and executed well in those last two plays of the game,” head coach Jeff Neubauer said. “We didn’t pass or shoot the ball well in the second half, but you got to give GW a lot of credit they executed down the stretch.”
After that grueling loss, Fordham traveled to Philadelphia to face La Salle in the Rams’ regular season finale. The Rams were not at full strength, as they were bit yet again by injury bug. Their leading scorer, graduate student guard Javontae Hawkins, missed the game with a sprained ankle.
This was the second trip back to his alma mater for Neubauer, who graduated from La Salle in ’93. The game started out slowly for both teams but La Salle would eventually pull away, winning the game 66-54.
Chartouny led Fordham with 17 points to go with four rebounds, three assists and three steals, while freshman forward Chuba Ohams tallied a season-high 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked a pair of shots.
With the two losses, the Rams finish the year 13-18 with a 7-11 record in the A-10. Fordham has earned themselves the #10 seed in this upcoming Atlantic-10 Tournament in Pittsburgh, PA and will face the #7 seed George Mason.
The game will be Thursday, March 9 at 6:00 p.m.