Fordham Basketball: The New Cinderella in Town


Fordham currently holds the eighth seed in the Atlantic-10 basketball tournament. (ANDREA GARCIA/THE OBSERVER)


The months of January and February were not the most fruitful for the Fordham men’s basketball team. They lost 10 out of the 16 games they played, which is not the track any team would want to be on when heading into the Atlantic-10 Championship this month. However, this same team has managed to win its last four games, all of which were conference matchups, and therefore has a realistic chance of performing well at the Atlantic-10 Tournament this week.

The past four games have each highlighted some new hope for Fordham fans. On Feb. 24, the Fordham Rams defeated the La Salle University Explorers 56–53. Defensively, Coach Neubauer’s team limited La Salle to shooting 39.6 percent for the entire game. The Explorers also shot 26.7 percent from three-point territory. Fordham dominated the glass by outrebounding their opponents 38–25. Offensively, the Rams were led by Christian Sengfelder, David Pekarek and Joseph Chartouny, scoring 16, 12 and 11 points, respectively. This victory marked Fordham’s first at La Salle since 2007. With this win, they improved their standing to 14–12 overall and 5–10 in the Atlantic-10. This series sweep was Fordham’s first against La Salle and its second this season.

On Feb. 27, the Fordham Rams hosted the Davidson College Wildcats and easily soared to a 91–82 victory. In fact, all five starters scored in double digits, which is fairly rare in college basketball. Joseph Chartouny led the pack by scoring 24 points, racking up 13 assists and seven rebounds. Ryan Rhoomes recorded his ninth double-double of the season with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Christian Sengfelder, Antwoine Anderson and David Pekarek scored a combined 38 points. Davidson is renown for being an offensively driven team that protects the ball on each of its possessions—but that wasn’t the case in this matchup. After the win, Coach Neubauer commented, “Davidson never turns the ball over. We had nine steals. It’s very unusual against them. I think our guards did a good job on the ball.” The 91 points scored by Fordham were the most in an Atlantic-10 contest since 2010, when the Rams notched 100 at Duquesne.  With this win, Fordham improved to 15–12 overall and 6–10 in the Atlantic-10.

On Mar. 2, Fordham University travelled down to Steel City to play Duquesne University. The Rams secured the win with a final score of 78-69. Fordham shot 52 percent from downtown, and outrebounded the Dukes 34-21. On the offensive end, Coach Neubauer’s team was led by Rhoomes, who recorded his second straight double-double and his fifth in the last six games, scoring 15 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. Sengfelder and Chartouny added 13 points each, while Mandell Thomas and Antwoine Anderson chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively. With this win, Fordham improved its record to 16-12 overall and 7-10 in the Atlantic-10. It is also the first time since 2007 that the Rams have won in three straight games.

On Mar. 5, Senior Day was held at the Rose Hill Gym. It was a “Ram Faceoff,” as the Fordham Rams hosted the University of Rhode Island Rams. The home team took the win and was led by Rhoomes, who recorded another double-double with a personal career-high of 27 points and 11 rebounds. Chartouny added 13 points and nine assists of his own. Fordham closed out the regular season 17–12 overall and 8–10 in Atlantic-10 play. However, Fordham’s 64–61 victory was a message to the fans in the soldout crowd that the seniors were not ready to say goodbye yet. It was a statement that Coach Neubauer and his team would take their four-game winning streak to downtown Brooklyn the following week at the Barclays Center.

Currently, the Fordham Rams have the eighth seed in the Atlantic-10 men’s basketball tournament. There is no way to tell whether Coach Neubauer and his squad will win the tournament and earn an automatic bid to the 2016 NCAA Tournament. They have proven themselves capable and have won a few marquee matchups throughout the season, such as the games against Davidson and the University of Rhode Island.

For Coach Neubauer, the biggest obstacle may be trying to compete against higher-caliber teams, such as Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Dayton, St. Bonaventure, Saint Joseph’s and George Washington, all of which have won 20-plus games this season. No one knows what the outcome will be until Mar. 10 at noon, when Fordham begins the tournament by facing off against ninth seed Richmond.

Coach Neubauer won the Ohio Valley Conference twice as a coach at Eastern Kentucky University and earned two bids to the NCAA Tournament. One can only hope that he will bring similar results to Fordham at the Atlantic-10 Tournament.