Fordham Men’s Basketball Succumbs to Shooting Woes In Loss to Duquesne, 48-45



Josh Navarro, FCRH ‘21, dribbles through Duquesne defenders in the midst of a scoreless performance.


Coming off a tremendous win against Dayton earlier this week, the Fordham men’s basketball team struggled offensively the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 9, and fell to the Duquesne University (DU) Dukes 48-45. The defeat brings Fordham’s regular season record to 1-3.  

Guard Chris Austin, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’23, carried the momentum from his game-winning three-pointer last game into Saturday’s effort, leading the Rams in scoring by a wide margin with 17 points while shooting 5-for-11 from the field.  

Coming into this game, Duquesne’s head coach Keith Dambrot held a 5-1 record against Fordham. Despite this, the odds were stacked against the Dukes. Duquesne had to host this game in La Roche University’s Kerr Fitness and Sports Center due to renovations to its actual home court.  

To make matters worse, the Dukes came into the game extremely short-handed. Starting guard Lamar Norman Jr., formerly DU ’22, entered the transfer portal, opting on Jan. 5 to begin searching for a new program rather than continuing his basketball career at Duquesne. In addition, starting guards Sincere Carry, DU ’22, and Austin Maceo, DU ’23, left the team indefinitely prior to Saturday’s game due to undisclosed personal reasons.

chris austin from the fordham team squats while attempting a shot
Chris Austin, FCRH ’23, turned in another strong performance against Duquesne, scoring 17 points on 11 attempts. (COURTESY OF FORDHAM ATHLETICS)

The Rams sought to replicate the strategy that led them to an upset victory less than a week ago: turning staunch defense into offense. On the defensive end, Fordham was largely successful. Duquesne only shot 34.0% from the field and a dreadful 5-for-25 from behind the three-point arc.  

Offensively, however, Fordham struggled to produce. The Rams shot an abysmal 29.4% from the field, making only 15 of 51 field goal attempts. Even more shocking, they shot 2-for-22 from three, with their only two successful attempts coming from Austin.  

The game was largely defined by periodic runs by both teams. After neither team scored for the first two minutes of the game, Fordham started the game on a 10-2 run. The lead did not last long, as the Dukes went on an 8-0 run of their own until a short jump shot from Austin halted the spurt.  

The Rams struggled with foul trouble from the opening tip. With 15 minutes left in the first half, Fordham star forward Joel Soriano, FCRH ’23, already accumulated two fouls, prompting a substitution. His substitute, guard Kyle Rose, FCRH ’23, then gained two fouls of his own in his first two minutes of play.  

After collecting six team fouls in the first nine minutes of the game, the Rams doubled down defensively. This revitalization could not have come at a better time, as the Rams mustered only six points in the final eight minutes of the first half.  

Despite scoring only 18 points in the first half, Fordham found itself down a mere six points at the halfway mark. The Rams’ defensive success throughout the game can be attributed to the neutralization of Duquesne’s leading scorer Marcus Weathers, DU ’21, who came into the game averaging 15.0 points. 

The Rams managed to hold Weathers to a measly four points throughout the game, all of which came in the second half. In his defense, Weathers dealt with foul trouble for much of the game. Regardless, the Rams’ success in limiting Weathers’ scoring played a large role in their defensive effort.  

Offensively, the second half nearly mirrored the first for the Rams. Even with their shooting woes (24.0% from the field in the first half, 34.6% from the field in the second half), the Rams’ defense kept them in the game.  

Forward Onyi Eyisi, FCRH ’22, played a large role in the Rams’ comeback efforts. Making his first start of the season, Eyisi capped off a 6-0 Fordham run by making two foul shots before hitting a baseline jump shot to tie the game with 11:30 left.

fordham player attempting to shoot over a duquesne player
Onyi Eyisi, FCRH ’22, attempts a dunk during a tough shooting day for Fordham. (COURTESY OF FORDHAM ATHLETICS)

Later in the half, the Rams dug out of a three-point deficit by launching a 7-0 run. Fordham stretched the lead to three with a put-back layup by Rose. After an Austin free throw, Fordham held a four-point lead, 40-36, with only 5:45 left in the game. 

From that point on, the Dukes ended the game with an 11-5 run. The catalyzing series in the final five minutes featured Duquesne center Michael Hughes, DU ’21, blocking a Soriano layup on the defensive end, then grabbing an offensive rebound on the opposite end of the court. This nullified any momentum the Rams may have hoped to build to climb out of a four-point deficit in the late stage of the game.  

The final dagger for the Rams came at the hands of Duquesne guard Tavian Dunn-Martin, DU ’21, who hit a three-pointer with 30 seconds left and extended the Dukes’ lead to five points. Ultimately, Fordham’s defensive efforts were not enough to overcome its widespread offensive struggles.  

This defeat is especially painful following such an improbable victory in Fordham’s prior game against Dayton. If anything, Saturday’s loss illustrated the potential for Austin to play a large role in the Fordham offense. However, it also painfully highlighted the necessity for offensive improvement across the board.  

The Rams’ defense has made noticeable improvements since their first two games in which they allowed 71 and 89 points. The Rams will look to turn things around on Wednesday, Jan. 13, when St. Bonaventure visits Rose Hill for an afternoon game, one in which Head Coach Jeff Neubauer and his players will hope to show improved effort on the offensive end.