Rams Lose Two More; 2-9 in Conference with Five to Play

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Fordham’s next matchup comes on the road against St. Joseph’s. The Rams return home to play VCU on Feb. 27. (Photo by Andrew Esoli/The Ram)

By DAN GARTLAND
STAFF WRITER

Fordham’s next matchup comes on the road against St. Joseph’s. The Rams return home to play VCU on Feb. 27. (Photo by Andrew Esoli/The Ram)

Fordham’s next matchup comes on the road against St. Joseph’s. The Rams return home to play VCU on Feb. 27. (Photo by Andrew Esoli/The Ram)

Usually this would be the point in the season where one would say that Fordham’s chances of qualifying for the Atlantic 10 tournament were quickly dwindling, only this year, every team qualifies for the March tournament. At 2-9, after losses to St. Bonaventure and Richmond, the Rams are tied with Rhode Island for last place in the conference.

Coach Pecora was blunt in his assessment of the Rams’ 76-65 loss to the Bonnies on Feb. 12.

“That’s as disappointing a loss as I’ve had since I’ve been here at Fordham, in my opinion,” Pecora said. “We had guys looking like they were playing in quicksand defensively; they weren’t moving their feet… This one’s going to sting for a while — with me, anyway.”

St. Bonaventure simply outmuscled Fordham on the glass all night long. The Bonnies won the rebound battle 40-28, including 17 offensive rebounds.

“They had 44 points in the paint — a good number on offensive rebounds, but also a good number on layoffs after guys penetrated, and, in a couple cases, guys just getting all the way to the rim,” Pecora said.

Pecora blamed his guards for not rebounding well enough. Branden Frazier, Mandell Thomas and Bryan Smith all average better than 4.6 rebounds per game, but against the Bonnies they combined for only nine total boards.

“They’re all capable of having good rebounding nights, and they’ve done it in the past,” Pecora said. “Mandell Thomas is as big-time an athlete as I’ve coached and in 37 minutes he has two rebounds. It’s not just him, it’s all of them.”

The only Fordham player who really rebounded well was junior center Ryan Canty, who had nine boards in 21 minutes.

“We have a night where Canty gives us good minutes and has nine rebounds, and other nights where he doesn’t and [Ryan] Rhoomes does,” Pecora said. “We haven’t had a night yet where our starting five has all played their ‘A’ game, maybe with the exception of Manhattan, and that was Thanksgiving. That’s a while back.”

Things did not get much better for Fordham on Saturday against Richmond, when the Rams traveled to take on the Spiders. When the two teams met in the Bronx in January, Richmond prevailed in overtime, but the Spiders prevailed on their home court in less thrilling fashion, 82-70.

In the teams’ first meeting, Richmond senior guard Cedrick Lindsay scored 19 points, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this month. In Lindsay’s absence, the Spiders had four different players score in double figures. For Fordham, only Jon Severe (28 points) and Branden Frazier (24 points) scored more than four points.

With Richmond’s victory, the Spiders improved to 17-8 on the season and 7-3 in the A-10. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has the Spiders as one of his last four teams into the NCAA Tournament. Also on that list is Saint Joseph’s, the team Fordham faces this Saturday in Philadelphia. Fordham has not beaten the Hawks since January of 2007.