Men’s Basketball Bounced in First Round of A-10 Tournament

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Men’s Basketball Bounced in First Round of A-10 Tournament

Fordham Men’s Basketball saw its season end at the hands of George Washington in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

Fordham Men’s Basketball saw its season end at the hands of George Washington in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

Fordham Men’s Basketball saw its season end at the hands of George Washington in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

Fordham Men’s Basketball saw its season end at the hands of George Washington in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

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By Alvin Halimwidjaya

Fordham Men’s Basketball saw its season end at the hands of George Washington in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

Fordham basketball’s season of struggle came to an end on Wednesday, March 7, as the 14th-seeded Rams fell to 11th-seeded George Washington 78-72 in the first round of the A-10 Championship. Fordham ended their injury-laden 2017-18 campaign with a record of 9-22.

Junior guard Joseph Chartouny led the Rams with 18 points, eight assists and four steals, going 8-14 from the field to end his rough shooting season on a positive note. Freshman and junior forwards Ivan Raut and Prokop Slanina respectively, contributed with 15 points each, with Raut adding seven rebounds to his statline. Junior forward David Pekarek chipped in with 14 points to round out the majority of Fordham’s scoring.

On George Washington’s side, star forward Yuta Watanabe was held to 12 points on 3-8 shooting after burning Fordham with a 31-point performance a week before; however, sophomore guard Jair Bolden poured in 22 points, graduate forward Bo Zeigler posted 16 points and seven rebounds and sophomore forward Arnaldo Toro hung up 11 points and 15 rebounds on the shorthanded Rams.

Fordham was outrebounded 39-22 but countered with their traditional aggressive, ball-hawking defense by picking up nine steals and forcing 13 GW turnovers. The Rams also put in a serviceable offensive performance, racking up 16 assists and shooting 45 percent from the field, in addition to going 11-14 from the free throw line.

The Rams got off to a good start in the first half; already up 21-18 with 9:34 remaining. Fordham went on an 11-2 run to jump to a 32-20 lead on a Slanina layup with 6:03 to go in the first half. However, a 36-26 Fordham lead with 3:54 remaining was erased. George Washington ended the half on a 13-3 tear and headed into the break up a point, 39-38.

The second half was a much closer affair, as there would nine ties through the beginning 13:16 in the final half; however, head coach Jeff Neubauer pointed to the lack of rebounding in the second half, and the Rams would pay dearly for losing out on the glass. After a three-pointer from Pekarek pushed Fordham to a 68-65 lead with 5:18 to go in the game, the Colonials went on an 8-0 run to grab a 73-68 lead with 1:24 remaining in the contest. Another bucket from Pekarek cut the lead to 73-70, but a potential game-tying three from sophomore guard Cavit Havsa with 26 seconds left rimmed out, and George Washington put the game away with some made free throws.

Despite Fordham’s disappointing end to the season, Fordham showed resiliency in a season where numerous players were unable to play a large part of the year. With sophomore forward Chuba Ohams and junior forward Jesse Bunting being shelved early in the season, as well as junior transfer guards Erten Gazi and Antwon Portley unable to play the whole season, Fordham had to make do with the players they had. Neubauer admitted it was a “very difficult season with injuries. We will all learn from this experience. Our team will be humble heading into next season, and this will help us.”

However, Neubauer also pointed to the positives going into next season, saying that, “Prokop [Slanina] and Ivan [Raut] really improved during the season. They will be very important pieces next year. We had two transfers [Gazi and Portley] sitting out this year. We are determined to get it right here at Fordham.”