By Andrew Posadas
The Fordham men’s basketball team found itself on the wrong side of a close score again, this time falling to George Mason University on Saturday evening. After starting the season auspiciously at 9-3, the Rams have lost six straight games, including their first five conference games, to fall to 9-9 on the season. Fordham’s growing pains continue as the young team tries to finish games.
The Rams took an early 12-11 lead over George Mason, despite quick foul trouble for fresman forward Onyi Eyisi. Neither team took a lead larger than four points in the first half, with both squads exchanging made baskets. George Mason found open looks in Fordham’s zone defense, draining five three-pointers to tie the game at 30 apiece with under four minutes remaining. Luckily for Fordham, freshman Nick Honor broke out of his recent slump since A-10 play began.
Honor led all scorers with 11 first half points, capped off by a three-pointer from nearly 30 feet away. Seemingly finding consistent rhythm on both sides of the court, Fordham took a four-point lead at halftime, 38-34.
Fordham began the second half uncharacteristically, turning the ball over three times in the first three minutes. A slow start for Fordham resulted in George Mason tying the game once again, prior to the under 12-minute media timeout, 51-51.
Coming out of the timeout, Fordham played its best stretch of the night, going on a 9-0 run that featured back to back three-pointers from Honor and fellow freshman guard Jalen Cobb. The Rams maintained a nine point lead with a little over five minutes remaining. However, Fordham’s run would be gone in the blink-of-an-eye.
George Mason answered quickly with a 10-0 run of their own. Even so, Fordham still found itself in position to win with a one point lead in the final two minutes. A shooting foul by the Rams gave the Patriots three free throws and a two point lead. Jalen Cobb was fouled shooting a three on the very next possession. He would make two of three to tie the game for the final time.
After a Patriots timeout, George Mason left the ball in the hands of guard Otis Livingston. Livingston would let the clock run before launching and making the go-ahead three-pointer with less than a second remaining. An inbounds heave to Honor for a game-tying three was broken up, and Fordham saw a close game slip through its fingers again as they fell to George Mason, 71-68.
The Rams are now 0-5 in the Atlantic 10 conference, joining the University of Massachusetts as the only two teams yet to win a conference game. Regardless, there is cause for optimism. After the blowout loss to Virginia Commonwealth University, Fordham has played admirably in their last four outings. All were decided by single-digits and could have gone the Rams’ way.
All things considered, these close losses can only benefit Fordham’s underclassmen moving forward in gaining experience against fellow conference competition. Rome was not built in a day. Give them some time. They have shown flashes of a team that will be no pushover in the Atlantic 10.
Fordham is back in action this Wednesday evening, Jan 23, in Rose Hill Gym at 7 p.m., as it looks to pick up its first conference win against La Salle University.