Men’s Basketball Now 1-6 After Losing to Manhattan, Harvard

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Sophomore Ryan Canty goes up for a shot.


Branden Frazier fights off a defender during last Thursday’s game against Manhattan College.

The Fordham men’s basketball team continues its disappointing start to this season. After losses at home to Manhattan and on the road to Harvard, the Rams are 1-6.

In Thursday’s matchup against Manhattan in the annual “Battle of the Bronx,” Fordham fell by a score of 65-58.

“I’m not making excuses,” Fordham head coach Tom Pecora said after the game. “I told these guys in the locker room, ‘We’re not young, we’re not inexperienced.’ I don’t want to hear that garbage. We’re six games into a season, we have to find a way to win basketball games.”

The first half was either a defensive masterpiece or display of offensive ineptitude, depending on how you want to look at it. The Jaspers led the low-scoring affair 26-23 at the half. They shot 35 percent in the half, while the Rams were 24 percent.

Manhattan employed a full-court press right from the opening tip, stifling Fordham’s transition offense. In the half court, the Jaspers did a good job mixing man and zone defense. Against the zone, the Fordham offense seemed passive, content with passing the ball around the perimeter and taking contested three-point shots late in the shot clock.

Fordham regained the lead early in the second half, and led until the 4:07 mark, when Manhattan took a 53-52 lead. The Jaspers hit their free throws down the stretch, ending any chance of a Fordham comeback.

Sophomore center Ryan Canty anchored the Fordham defense, blocking four shots in the game. He was also the team’s leading scorer, with 18 points on 8 of 10 shooting.

“I thought Ryan was one of the [few] guys who played well, and competed, and played hard and physical basketball,” Pecora said. “I thought everybody else played to the crowd instead of playing hard.”

Canty also led Fordham in rebounding with five. The Rams had only 22 rebounds as a team, compared to 42 for Manhattan. Canty was also one of several Fordham players in foul trouble, fouling out with 1:56 left in the game. The Rams committed 28 fouls as a team, allowing Manhattan to attempt 33 foul shots, while Fordham only got to the line 21 times.

“The two things I look at are rebounding and free throw attempts,” Pecora said. “You want to know which team played better — or harder rather? Look at those stats.”

Fordham had a chance to bounce back against Harvard on Saturday. The Rams’ upset of the 22nd-ranked Crimson last year in the Rose Hill Gym was the signature moment of Fordham’s season.

It seemed early on as though the result might be similar when the teams met in Cambridge, Mass. on Saturday, as Fordham took an early lead.

The Rams led by as many as 11, when they held a 21-10 advantage with just over 10 minutes remaining in the first half. But a 12-0 Harvard run put the Crimson up 22-21 only two minutes later.

Harvard took a 36-33 halftime lead and never looked back. The Crimson led for the entirety of the second half, eventually winning 73-64.

Fordham will be in action again on Tuesday night against Lehigh. The Rams will play St. John’s on Saturday, Dec. 8 at Madison Square Garden and Princeton on Dec. 15 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The team hopes senior forward Chris Gaston will play against Princeton. He has been out since undergoing knee surgery on Nov. 16.