Men’s Basketball Woes Continue in Home Loss to Dayton, 75-52

Men%E2%80%99s+Basketball+struggled+to+score+against+the+Flyers+defense+in+their+double-digit+loss+to+Dayton.+%28Mackenzie+Cranna%29
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Men’s Basketball Woes Continue in Home Loss to Dayton, 75-52

Men’s Basketball struggled to score against the Flyers defense in their double-digit loss to Dayton. (Mackenzie Cranna)

Men’s Basketball struggled to score against the Flyers defense in their double-digit loss to Dayton. (Mackenzie Cranna)

Men’s Basketball struggled to score against the Flyers defense in their double-digit loss to Dayton. (Mackenzie Cranna)

Men’s Basketball struggled to score against the Flyers defense in their double-digit loss to Dayton. (Mackenzie Cranna)

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By Andrew Posadas

Fordham Men’s Basketball welcomed the University of Dayton this past Saturday afternoon in hopes of finally earning its first conference win of the year. Having experienced three straight losses each decided by one possession, the Rams seemed due for a much needed-win. Unfortunately, that win would not come into fruition as the Flyers earned a convincing road victory against Fordham, 75-52.

The Rams held a three-point lead seven minutes into the first half before the Flyers decided to shift into another gear. A 14-0 Dayton run in five minutes behind two three-pointers from forward Frankie Policelli gave the Flyers a double-digit lead, 20-9. Fordham battled back valiantly in the first half, eventually cutting Dayton’s lead to six with under two minutes remaining.

Just like clockwork, Fordham’s positive momentum was met by a sudden Dayton run. The Flyers ended the first half on a 7-0 run, essentially taking the air out of the Rams and its fans at Rose Hill Gym. Dayton took a 33-20 lead at the break and never looked back.

Dayton’s forwards Josh Cunningham and Obi Toppin both had their way against Fordham’s big men on Saturday. Cunningham nearly had a double-double in the first half, scoring 10 points and grabbing nine rebounds to set the tone. Toppin took advantage in the second half, leading all scorers with 13 points. Their dominance in the paint led to 46 Dayton rebounds, the most by a Fordham opponent this season.

Fordham saw itself down by as many as 31 points in the second half. Offensively, the Rams have yet to find a consistent rhythm since conference play began earlier this month. Scoring 20 points in the first half is a season low for the Rams. Freshman guard Nick Honor and Junior guard Antwon Portley scored 10 points each, yet neither shot particularly well from the court.

As a team, the Rams took tough shot after tough shot, finishing an abysmal 25 percent from the court. Head coach Jeff Neubauer used the word “helpless” when describing Saturday’s game. Neubauer said postgame, “You feel helpless, not only as a player out there where you’re really struggling to score and you can’t stop the other team, but as a coach as well.”

The final score was never in doubt. The Flyers were in cruise control in the second half and won decisively on the road, 75-52. The Rams’ free fall continues with Saturday’s loss, extending its current losing streak to eight. Now, Fordham remains the only winless team in the Atlantic 10 conference at 0-7.

Ironically, Fordham’s record now stands at 9-11. The team’s struggles this last month certainly warrant the basketball equivalent of a 9-1-1 call. The Rams are in desperate need of help to jumpstart an offense, which frankly, appears lost much of the time.

However, Coach Neubauer is still optimistic about his team’s mindset moving forward. Neubauer was adamant post-game that his players are still buying in. “It’s hard to differentiate in the locker room which guy is more bought in, ‘cause they really are trying their tails off.”

The Rams’ journey for their first conference win continues this evening at 7 p.m. as Fordham goes on the road to take on George Washington University.