Fordham Men’s Basketball Falls 69-66 to Davidson Despite Quisenberry’s Big Day

Despite stellar defensive effort, Rams fail to secure massive upset as Wildcats win 15th in a row



Darius Quisenberry, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) ’22, scored many times during the game against Davidson, but even his efforts could not prevent the Wildcats from adding to their winning streak.


It could’ve been a statement game.

The Fordham men’s basketball team played to the final buzzer against the Davidson College (DC) Wildcats but ultimately lost in frustrating fashion, 69-66. As massive underdogs in the contest, the Rams led by as many as 13 points early in the second half, but a 36-point performance by Darius Quisenberry, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) ’22, could not quell the Wildcats’ furious comeback.

Head Coach Kyle Neptune seemed disappointed with the result after the game, but was still quick to commend his players for their solid effort.

“I’m proud of the way our guys competed, but unfortunately, we just fell a little short.” Kyle Neptune, men’s basketball head coach

“I’m proud of the way our guys competed, but unfortunately, we just fell a little short,” Neptune said. “They’re (Davidson) a really good team; they execute their stuff, and they never panicked. I thought we really got into them, but they were just a little too much for us in the end.”

Going into the contest, momentum between the two teams could not have been more lopsided. Davidson was riding a 14-game winning streak that included five wins in Atlantic 10 (A10) conference competition and an upset win over the University of Alabama on Dec. 21, ranked 10th in the country at the time. Once considered an average A10 team, the Wildcats are now firmly in the running for an NCAA Tournament bid.

Meanwhile, the Rams’ matchup against one of the best teams in the conference could not have come at a worse time. Though Fordham has overachieved this season, the team faced the Wildcats after a pair of losses in conference play to Duquesne and Saint Louis University.

Neptune recognized his stars’ absences as well as the strategy to replace them.

If the recent skid was not enough, the Rams also had to compete without team leaders Antonio Daye Jr. and Chuba Ohams, GSAS ’22. Daye, the team’s lead scorer, left the program on Jan. 13, and the team has struggled since his departure. Ohams was ruled out due to an unspecified injury.

With 10 different team members receiving playing time during the game, Neptune recognized his stars’ absences as well as the strategy to replace them.

“I mean, we got guys out,” Neptune said. “We’ve got a lot of flux in our roster right now, so we’ve got to rely on other guys, so we figured we would do it by committee.”

Though the Rams hung in against the likes of the University of Miami and St. John’s University earlier this season, they had never been so shorthanded against an opponent of this caliber. This wasn’t a game Fordham was supposed to win; in fact, the team probably could have been forgiven for being uncompetitive. 

The contest began with a Davidson miss and a two-pointer by Antrell Charlton, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’24. The Wildcats missed again on the following possession, and so it went. In the first 10 minutes of play, Davidson only managed to score three times on 13 shots. With 10:06 remaining in the half, Quisenberry hit a free throw to put Fordham ahead 12-6.

Davidson’s scoring drought was no fluke; Fordham’s defense was dynamic and stifling in the early stages and continued to give the Wildcats trouble until the very end. Going into the game, the Wildcats were one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country, but only managed to convert three shots from the perimeter on 13 attempts throughout the game.

“I think our guys played pretty hard, and I think that’s been their identity from the beginning since we got together,” Neptune said. “I wish I could take credit for it, but that’s actually who they are as a team. Really proud of the way they competed.”

Davidson was up against the wall when Fordham’s shots started falling. With 9:16 remaining, Quisenberry hit the first three-pointer of the game to give Fordham a 15-8 lead. For some time thereafter, Davidson players could do little more than watch as a lone show-stealer threatened to snap the longest win streak in college basketball this season.

Over the rest of the half, Quisenberry seemed to be the only player worth watching on either side of the court. The senior scored 14 points in seven minutes, 12 of them coming on shots from beyond the three-point line. As Davidson’s defense adjusted, the shots became progressively more difficult for Quisenberry, but it didn’t seem to matter. Any attempt to stop him proved futile as he kept Fordham in front at halftime, 31-24.

With his team suddenly in danger, Quisenberry stepped up again to delay the inevitable.

Early in the second half, it seemed like a break in the locker room did little to help the Wildcats, as the Rams maintained momentum and went on a 9-3 run in the first three minutes. Ahead 40-27 with 17:14 left, the 13-point lead was the largest of the game, but it didn’t last long, as Fordham’s offense finally stalled soon after. Davidson went on an 11-0 run in the ensuing three and a half minutes and only trailed by two with 13 minutes to go.

With his team suddenly in danger, Quisenberry stepped up again to delay the inevitable. After a three-pointer by the guard with 11:06 left, he immediately stole Davidson’s inbound pass and made another jumper to put the Rams back up by seven, 45-38. But even that wasn’t enough, as the Wildcats regrouped and rallied again, wearing down Fordham and eventually taking a 51-50 lead with 6:25 remaining.

Though the Rams never held the lead again, they played the final six minutes with as much tenacity as the previous 34. Though Davidson led by as many as seven on two occasions, Fordham continued to stay in the game, and with just six seconds remaining, Quisenberry hit yet another three-pointer to cut the lead to one, 65-64. 

The Wildcats made both free throws on the ensuing trip to the free throw line and wisely fouled Quisenberry intentionally on the Rams’ next possession to prevent a game-tying score. They did not do so on Fordham’s final trip down the floor, however, allowing Quisenberry to shoot a last-second three. Though he made contact with the defender that prevented him from completing the shot, no foul was called as the buzzer sounded. Fordham went on to lose by three, 69-66.

Beyond Quisenberry’s logic-defying 36-point day, Fordham’s offense did little of note without two of the team’s leaders on the floor.

Following their 15th straight win, Davidson was finally awarded a place in the latest Associated Press Poll. The team remains undefeated in the conference and is ranked 25th in the country. Fordham fell to 2-3 in the A10, tying them for ninth in the standings despite a 9-8 overall record.

Beyond Quisenberry’s logic-defying 36-point day, Fordham’s offense did little of note without two of the team’s leaders on the floor. It is impossible to avoid visualizing a scenario in which the Rams had Ohams or Daye, which may have proven to be just enough to topple the white-hot Wildcats. The two combined for nearly 30 points per game this season before Daye’s departure and Ohams’ injury.

Ohams’ absence was also felt on defense, especially down low. Though the Rams did well to contain Davidson’s lead scorer, Hyunjung Lee, DC ’23, on the perimeter, they allowed forwards Luka Brajkovic, DC ’22, and Sam Mennenga, DC ’24, to control the paint and score 21 and 16 points, respectively.

Although hindsight suggests that there were ways for Fordham to win, it is also important to remember that this game was chalked up as a certain loss for the team by every measure before the tip-off. For the Rams to come so close under the circumstances must also be a sign of their potential in games to come. The schedule doesn’t get much easier from here, as they will play the University of Dayton Flyers on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m.

Kristina Stevanovic contributed additional reporting to this story.

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