Fordham Basketball Drops Three Straight to Rhode Island, St. Joe’s and Temple

Rams Now Ranked 12th in Atlantic 10 Conference


Published: Febrary 14, 2008

Despite a frantic final minute that included a combined 15 points and two key turnovers by the visiting team, the Fordham University men’s basketball team dropped a 65-63 contest to the University of Rhode Island at Rose Hill on Feb. 10. The loss, Fordham’s fourth consecutive one, drops the underachieving squad’s mark to 8-12 on the season, 2-6 in Atlantic 10 play.

After surrendering what was once a 15 point lead, the Rams from the Bronx found themselves trailing the Rams from Rhode Island by seven points with 37 seconds remaining.

Guard Marcus Stout, FCRH ’08, responded for Fordham by sinking a clutch three-pointer, and his teammate Bryant Dunston, FCRH ’08, picked off the ensuing Rhode Island inbounds pass and sunk a lay-up to narrow the deficit to two.

Fordham was then forced to foul Rhode Island guard Jimmy Barron, a 96-percent free throw shooter, who stretched the lead to four.

With six seconds remaining, Stout came through again, looking for a perimeter shot before driving inside for a lay-up.

Rhode Island gave Fordham yet another break when Dunston grabbed the tipped inbounds pass and came up with the ball in a scrum in front of the Fordham bench. He managed a contested three-pointer for the win at the buzzer, but his shot fell just short as time expired.

Fordham’s defense had stymied a Rhode Island offense that came in averaging 82 points a game for most of the afternoon, holding Barron scoreless in the first half. A long three-pointer with 11 minutes in the game opened the floodgates, however, as Barron would eventually unleash eight straight points and erase Fordham’s lead.

“Our game plan was to work the ball inside, so my role was changed,” Barron said. “But in the second half they left me open a couple times and I was able to hit a few shots for a good stretch for us.”

“Sometimes we had a hand in their face and they still made the shots,” Fordham head coach Dereck Whittenburg said. “Really, it came down to toughness, and they made more plays at the end of the game than we did.”

Whittenburg also questioned his offensive’s selectivity.

“We got 65 shots up…we shot 26 three-point shots, a lot of them were ill-advised, just chucking them up,” he added.

The Rams now find themselves ranked 12th in the 14-team Atlantic 10.

Fordham dropped their seventh road loss to St. Joseph’s University 70-55 on Feb. 2 in Philadelphia, despite 19 points from Stout and 18 points from Dunston.

Six Fordham turnovers in the first half allowed the Hawks to hold a lead for the entirety of the period, stretching the gap to 21 points with two minutes to play.

In the second half, Fordham chipped away at the deficit, and for a few minutes, it looked as though the Rams would have a chance to recreate the last second heroics of last year’s match-up with St. Joe’s.

The Hawks would have none of it, though, as yet another poor Fordham shooting performance dashed any hopes of a comeback.

The Rams dropped a 58-50 contest against Temple University on Jan. 31 at the Rose Hill Gym, their fourth home loss of the season.

Fordham looked strong defensively all night against a Temple team averaging nearly 70 points a game, while the Rams pulled down a season-high 42 rebounds.

Fordham’s offense lagged, however, shooting just 31 percent from the floor and a mediocre 55 percent from the free throw line.

“If you’re at home and you hold a team under 60 points, you’re in a position to win,” Whittenburg said. “We didn’t. We didn’t shoot the ball well enough.”

Stout and Brenton Butler, FCRH ’10, the Rams’ first and third leading scorers, respectively, combined to hit two of 15 three-point shots.

The Rams entered the game intent on stopping Temple guard Dionte Christmas, the A-10’s leading scorer, but it was diminutive sixth man Chris Clark that stung Fordham for 16 points in 26 minutes of play.

“I was worried about the little kid all day, because I thought he was making some key shots that really hurt us,” Whittenburg said.

Fordham held a narrow lead through the beginning of the second half, but with 12 minutes remaining, Temple started an 8-0 run that gave the Owls the lead for good. Fordham would go on to score just 11 points in the rest of the game.

“Part of it is confidence, and part of it is toughness,” Whittenburg said. “I don’t think we played with any type of urgency. We didn’t compete like I thought we could.”