Fordham Men’s Basketball Loses Sloppy Game to Robert Morris

Rams Committ 21 Turnovers and Allow 40 Points in the Paint En Route to a 72-66 Loss


Following their defeat to Robert Morris University 72-66 on Dec. 2, the Fordham University men’s basketball team defeated the New Jersey Institute of Technology 88-44 on Dec. 8th. (Luke Cusimano/The Observer

Published: December 13, 2007

The Fordham University men’s basketball team lost its second straight home game of the 2007 season to the Robert Morris University Colonials, 72-66 at the Rose Hill Gym on Sunday, Dec. 2, bringing the Rams to 5-4 on the season

The Rams showed a lack of consistency throughout the game on the defensive end, allowing Robert Morris multiple easy lay-ups. Fordham gave up 40 points in the paint and a 57 percent shooting percentage to Robert Morris, while committing 21 turnovers.

“Mentally, we are just not there,” Fordham head coach Dereck Whittenburg said. “We are not thinking defense or team. Our focus is not here at home for some reason. On the road, where there are no distractions, we play better.”

Fordham jumped out to a five-point lead during the first three minutes of the game on a three-point play by guard Brenton Butler, FCRH ’10.  But every time the Rams tried to get separation from the opposition, Robert Morris forward Jeremy Chappell would make a big shot.

Robert Morris did not allow Fordham to get more than a five-point lead at any time during the first half. Forward Sebastian Greene, FCRH ’08, scored ten of his 12 points in the first half to help spark the Rams offense. He was aided by two three-pointers from freshman guard Mike Moore, FCRH ’11.

It was Chappell, though, who stole the show in the first half with 16 points, including a buzzer-beater that ended the first half with both teams locked in a 37-37 tie.

In the second half, Fordham’s turnovers became even more costly, as the Rams could not pull away. A three-pointer from Jimmy Langhurst gave the Colonials their first lead since early in the first half.  The Rams would eventually regain a 60-59 edge on a three-pointer from Butler, but Chappell would answer once again for the Colonials with a jumper of his own.

With three minutes left, Fordham narrowed the gap to 67-64 on a three-pointer from Moore. With under a minute left, Greene missed a go-ahead three-pointer with the Rams down 68-66. Chappell answered with a lay-up on the other end, sealing the game for the Colonials.

Chappell had a game-high 25 points for Robert Morris. For the Rams, forward Bryant Dunston, FCRH ’08, had 15 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots. Butler had 14 points and Moore added 11.

After the game, Whittenburg expressed his displeasure with the five seniors on his team.

“Some seniors are not showing up,” Whittenburg said. “There is lack of leadership from them on this team.”

As for the future, Whittenburg will make changes to get his team motivated.

“For the next game, I’m starting a different lineup,” he said. “The team was very quiet at halftime…[they] should be upset when I walk in. Why is the coach always the one who is upset? If they are all a bunch of competitors, they should all be upset.”

Greene recorded a double-double for the Rams with 12 points and 11 rebounds. His strong interior play kept the crowd, who repeatedly lept to its feet and applauded, involved in the team’s first half.

While he played well in the first half, Greene’s late turnover in the second half with the Rams down by only two points proved to be costly. As he tried passing the ball in the paint to Dunston, Greene turned the ball back over to Robert Morris. The Rams played catch-up for the remainder of the game, which proved to be too much for Fordham.

“We have to get our heads in the game next time,” Greene said. “I think today we did not have the urgency on the court. We have to make a commitment to the team and play with more energy.”

The Rams will next host the University of North Carolina at Greensboro on Dec. 22.