Men’s Basketball Wins Fourth Straight on Senior Day

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Men’s Basketball Wins Fourth Straight on Senior Day

The Rams head into the A-10 Tournament as the #8 seed and will play Richmond on Thursday at noon. Andrew Esoldi/ The Fordham Ram

The Rams head into the A-10 Tournament as the #8 seed and will play Richmond on Thursday at noon. Andrew Esoldi/ The Fordham Ram

The Rams head into the A-10 Tournament as the #8 seed and will play Richmond on Thursday at noon. Andrew Esoldi/ The Fordham Ram

The Rams head into the A-10 Tournament as the #8 seed and will play Richmond on Thursday at noon. Andrew Esoldi/ The Fordham Ram

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By Jack McLoone

The Rams head into the A-10 Tournament as the #8 seed and will play Richmond on Thursday at noon. Andrew Esoldi/ The Fordham Ram

The Rams head into the A-10 Tournament as the #8 seed and will play Richmond on Thursday at noon. Andrew Esoldi/ The Fordham Ram

A sellout crowd at the historic Rose Hill Gymnasium honored senior forward Ryan Rhoomes, senior guard Mandell Thomas and graduate student forward Ryan Canty in their last home game as Fordham Rams. This Senior Day matchup was against the University of Rhode Island and, thanks to a career day from Rhoomes and last second heroics from sophomore guard Antwoine Anderson, the Rams were able to secure a 64-61 victory.

Neither team was able to take a large lead in the first half or hold one for very long. It was a battle of good defense paired with an equally good offense breaking down the defense. At the end of the half, URI led 32-29.

The Rams had problems containing the URI backcourt of Jarvis Garrett and Four McGlynn. Despite aggressive tactics from head coach Jeff Neubauer, Garrett was able to drive to the paint and facilitate the offense, and McGlynn went 3-3 from deep, adding another basket for 11 first half points.

For Fordham, it was all Rhoomes. While he had trouble early on with URI center Earl Watson, his opponent picked up two quick fouls and was replaced by Andre Berry. Berry was unable to keep up with Rhoomes’s quick feet, allowing the senior to easily get to the rim for 12 points.

The second half unsurprisngly opened with a Rhoomes bucket, but then URI went on a 13-2 run to make the score 45-33. However, Fordham refused to lie down, and a layup from Rhoomes and a three from Thomas (his only points of the day) sparked a 14-2 run that tied it up just three minutes later.

The back and forth play from the first half resumed, leading to a hectic closing minute. Fordham had a chance to keep URI from winning with one shot, up 59-58 with 1:04 left. That possibility seemed to overwhelm Chartouny, who overthrew Rhoomes down low. However, Watson pushed Rhoomes when the pass was en route, sending him to the line, nullifying the turnover and bailing out the Rams. Rhoomes hit both free throws, making it 61-58.

After a long possession, a touch foul was called while McGlynn tried to cut to the basket. McGlynn did not realize that this foul reset the shot clock, so he rushed and missed a fade away three from the corner. Naturally, Rhoomes pulled it down.

However, a turnover again almost threatened to bury Fordham. URI pressured Anderson and Chartouny in the backcourt leading to a backcourt violation and giving URI another shot to tie the game. With 20 seconds left, McGlynn — who had not made a three in the second half — hit one from two feet behind the three-point line to tie the game.

Anderson got the inbounds, and waited for his moment to strike. With five seconds on the clock, he drove to the basket, spun in the paint, flipped up a layup and sunk it while being fouled with three seconds left. The sold out Rose Hill Gym erupted. After Anderson hit his free throw, the best URI could do was tie the game.

“This is what a college basketball environment should be like,” said Neubauer after the game.

A desperation half-court heave from McGlynn hit back iron and was no good. Fordham had won its most exciting game of the season — an incredible send off for the seniors.

“This group of seniors really has been a terrific group to coach,” said Neubauer. “These guys have been really eager this season to go out on top, to be winners, to be the group that turns this program around. Ryan Rhoomes exemplifies what we’ve been trying to accomplish.”

Rhoomes scored 27 points, a career high, and also nabbed 11 rebounds. This was his 11th double-double of the season, and his third in a row. He was clearly emotional at the end of the game, crying after the final whistle.

“I didn’t really sleep last night so I didn’t know how I was going to play,” said Rhoomes. “I just wanted to go out there and win. I didn’t really care if I did well or not. I was a little nervous. I’ve never been through anything like this before. My emotions just spurred at the end of the game.”

Fordham has hit its stride as of late, winning four in a row, which has coincided with the Thomas’s return.

Fordham will miss its seniors, but the season is not done yet. When asked about whether a 17-win season was expected, Rhoomes had only one word: “More.” Neubauer elaborated, “We’re not finished.”

The Rams are hot at the right time. They play their first game in the A-10 Championship Tournament at noon on Thursday, March 10 in Brooklyn.