Men’s Basketball Makes Easy Work of Maryland-Eastern Shore

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Andrew Posadas, Assistant Sports Editor

Fordham Men’s Basketball went into the 2019 Paradise Jam on the U.S. Virgin Islands undefeated, but the team experienced some growing pains in its three games on St. Thomas. The Rams went 1–2 at the Jam, ultimately losing a close game to the University of Western Kentucky 69–64 in the fifth place game.

However, Sunday’s non-conference game against the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore would be just what the doctor ordered, with Fordham dominating UMES on its way to a 66–45 blowout win.

In the span of a week, the Rams went from playing in the blissful utopia that is the Virgin Islands to seeing a mix of snow and rain cascading over the historic Rose Hill Gymnasium on Sunday afternoon. Considering the fact that UMES came into the Bronx winless at 0–8 and having traveled nearly 3,500 miles on its current road trip, the Rams could have easily fallen prey to overconfidence and complacency.

But head coach Jeff Neubauer’s message to the team after its performance in the Paradise Jam was simple: “It’s time for us to start playing better basketball.”

And better basketball is exactly what the Rams displayed for Neubauer and the Fordham faithful’s viewing pleasure on Sunday.

UMES did what it could to stay competitive and hang around early on in the first half, finding themselves tied with the Rams at 5–5 heading into the first media timeout at the 16-minute mark. From there, the Rams ramped up the defensive pressure and started executing on the offensive end. Fordham went on a methodical 18–0 run in the following eight minutes, flexing its muscles on an under-manned Hawks team that had no response for the Rams’ size advantage in the frontcourt.

Fordham controlled the painted area and outrebounded UMES 24–12 in the first half. Redshirt junior forward Chuba Ohams led all scorers with 11 points. The Rams defense held the Hawks to a woeful 25% shooting from the field and, at halftime, enjoyed a comfortable 34–15 lead.

The second half began with UMES going on a quick 4–0 run as they attempted a potential comeback bid. Fortunately, the Rams responded with a 4–0 run of its own, and never relinquished its double-digit lead throughout the rest of regulation. Ohams earned his second double-double of the season with a game-high 18 points and 11 rebounds and was the driving force in the Rams 21-point win over the Hawks.

Talking post-game, Neubauer admitted he does not have to tell Ohams to be aggressive on offense, saying, “All of Chuba’s aggression and choice of shot-selection is all him. I don’t have to tell him to shoot the ball, he’s just eager to shoot the ball.”

Sophomore guard Jalen Cobb also stuffed the box score on Sunday, tallying nine points, six rebounds and five assists. Junior guard Josh Colon and freshman forward Joel Soriano both enjoyed season-highs, contributing eight points each off of the bench. The team also had season-highs with seven blocks and 16 assists in a balanced performance.

With the impressive win, Fordham Men’s Basketball improves to 5–2 on the season as it continues to take advantage of a favorable non-conference schedule.

Up next, the Rams host the Manhattan College Jaspers in the annual Battle of the Bronx this Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. The Jaspers lead the all-time series 57–54, but the Rams have taken the last two contests, including a thrilling 57–56 Fordham win on the road at Manhattan last December. The game can be seen on ESPN+ and heard exclusively on WFUV 90.7 FM.