Men’s Basketball Drops Three Straight in Non-Conference Play

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Men’s Basketball Drops Three Straight in Non-Conference Play

Antwoine Anderson pulls up for a jumper against Sacred Heart. (Andrea Garcia/The Fordham Ram)

Antwoine Anderson pulls up for a jumper against Sacred Heart. (Andrea Garcia/The Fordham Ram)

Antwoine Anderson pulls up for a jumper against Sacred Heart. (Andrea Garcia/The Fordham Ram)

Antwoine Anderson pulls up for a jumper against Sacred Heart. (Andrea Garcia/The Fordham Ram)

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By Tyler Freire

Antwoine Anderson pulls up for a jumper against Sacred Heart. (Andrea Garcia/The Fordham Ram)

Antwoine Anderson pulls up for a jumper against Sacred Heart. (Andrea Garcia/The Fordham Ram)

After starting the year off 5-1, the Fordham men’s basketball team fell to 5-4 after three straight losses to non-conference opponents. This past Wednesday, the Rams hosted Sacred Heart University in the last game of a nine game home stand.

Sophomore standout Joseph Chartouny would leave the game against Sacred Heart with an undisclosed elbow injury. This would prove to be a major factor in the game as the Rams missed his leadership and ball control down the stretch.

Fordham led by 11 with 6:14 remaining in the game after a pair of free throws from Hawkins, but Sacred Heart would follow that up with 11 unanswered points to tie the game up at 66 with 2:31 left.

On the following possession, Fordham’s sophomore forward David Pekarek was fouled attempting a three pointer and Sacred Heart’s bench was called for a technical foul, giving the Rams five free throws. Hawkins would connect on one of the two technical free throws, while Pekarek converted on all three of his free throws to give Fordham a 70-66 lead with just over two minutes remaining.

The next couple possessions would see a missed three from Fordham, a turnover from Sacred Heart and a turnover from the Rams. Sacred Heart would take advantage of the Fordham turnover as a Barnett and-one layup and free throw would make it a one point game with 43 seconds remaining.

Fordham would turn the ball over once again on the following possession with 17 seconds left. Sacred Hearts’ Charles Tucker drove the ball and made a beautiful pass to Barnett who laid it in with just two seconds left, giving the Pioneers a 71-70 lead.

On the final possession, the Rams inbounded the ball at half court and were forced to call a timeout immediately. On the next attempt, Fordham would turn the ball over once again, as the inbound pass was stolen by Sacred Heart as the time expired.

Fordham forced Sacred Heart into 25 turnovers and recorded 14 steals, making that the seventh straight game with double digit steals. But the Rams turned the ball over their fair share of times, totaling 16 giveaways and three late turnovers in the final two minutes that sealed the victory for the Pioneers.

The Rams fell despite a game-high 23 points from graduate transfer Javontae Hawkins, who shot 9-11 from the field and added two steals while junior guard Antwoine Anderson netted 15 points and added four assists and four steals. Sophomore forward Christian Sengfelder and junior guard Will Tavares each added 11 points.

Fordham was outscored 23-13 from the free throw line, while the Pioneers only attempted 36 field goals in the game, a season low for a Fordham opponent. They also shot 61 percent from the field.

Despite the loss, head coach Jeff Neubauer was still happy about the way his defense performed. “I really felt good about our team because of our defensive effort.  Not only because of the steals but the fact that we were taking stops from people.”

As for Neubauer’s impression of Sacred Heart he stated, “They’re the fastest offense that we have played so far. And they scored 27 points in transition, and to me that’s the game right there.”

With the loss the Rams fell to 5-3, and would travel to Cambridge, Massachusetts to face Harvard over the weekend, which would be their first road game since Nov. 11.

Joseph Chartouny celebrated his 22nd birthday on Saturday as Fordham was set to face Harvard, but he would have to contribute off the bench due to an injury he suffered against Sacred Heart.

Heading into the game, both teams proved to be a threat from behind the arc, averaging eight three-pointers per game, but it was Harvard who would take advantage of the long ball, hitting nine threes to just five from Fordham.

The Rams got off to a good start defensively, holding Harvard to just 42 percent from the field in the first half, but trailed 29-25 heading into the locker room.

As the second half got underway, the Crimson scored the first four points to extend their lead to 33-25, but a layup from the Rams would cut Harvard’s lead to six, making it 33-27 three minutes into the half.

At the halfway mark in the second half, a Sengfelder three and a Hawkins lay-in made it a one point game, 41-40 with 10:51 left in the half.  But Harvard would follow Fordham’s run with one of their own, as the Crimson went on a 9-0 run and lead 50-40 with 7:33 left in the game.

The Rams would go on a 7-2 spurt to cut the deficit to five, but Harvard responded with eight unanswered points to secure the 64-52 victory for Harvard.

Fordham had an awful day on offense, shooting just 33 percent from the field and 26 percent from three on the day. Javontae Hawkins led the Rams with a game high 17 points and added nine rebounds.

The Rams registered double figure steals for the eighth straight game, and grabbed a season high 14 offensive rebounds and scored 12 second chance points. This was Harvard’s third straight win over Fordham, and they now lead the all-time series 8-6.

The Rams are now 5-4 on the year with three straight losses. The Rams will have to make some adjustments quick as they travel boroughs to face St. John’s University Thursday night at Madison Square Garden at 7 p.m.