Rams on Upswing, Win Five Consecutive A10 Contests

The Fordham men’s basketball team toppled St. Louis University in a tremendous 75-65 performance



The student section was at maximum capacity, a rare showing that emphasizes the Rams new-found success.


It was a night to remember: a sold-out crowd erupting, referees drowned out by the cheers, “Lets Go Rams” painted on bare chests, and “Urgo 4 Prez” scrawled across a poster. At halftime, University President Tania Tetlow, J.D, danced the salsa with Ramses; by the closing minutes of the game, the Rams were dancing with the Billikens. These are just a few scenes from the Fordham men’s basketball team’s tantalizing 75-65 victory over the St. Louis University (SLU) Billikens on Tuesday, Jan. 31. 

The atmosphere in the gym was otherworldly, and the pressure was astronomical, but the Fordham fans never relented. For three hours, the stands were trembling with anticipation and excitement, and this tension was only heightened in the final minutes of the game. After the buzzer, Head Coach Keith Urgo rushed to the student section and was quickly surrounded by overjoyed supporters. 

“It was a thank you, just to let them know that we appreciate them,” Urgo said after the game. “We need that (energy). It makes a world of difference.”

It could be said that the Rams’ pre-conference schedule was engineered to be easy; multiple games were weighed overwhelmingly in Fordham’s favor. For the fans, it was obvious that this didn’t matter: Winning feels good. 

The game saw eight lead changes, each one more dramatic than the last. The student section was ablaze with emotion; every St. Louis free throw was fraught with anxiety as the noise in the arena reached a crescendo.

The start of conference play was bumpy, but it could hardly be characterized as a slump. However, a high-caliber team such as St. Louis, one at the top of the Atlantic 10 (A10) conference rankings, was expected to be a test of Fordham’s mettle well before the tip-off. And so, as throngs of people made their way into the Rose Hill Gymnasium, with music blasting across the historic steps, the stage was set for an electric contest.

The whistle could barely be heard over the noise of the crowd as the ball was quickly tipped-off into the Billikens’ hands. Fordham’s defense ran in uncontrolled spurts for the first few minutes, which allowed the Billikens to commandeer a 12-5 lead in the first five minutes. It wasn’t until a timeout that the Rams were able to reorganize and control the pace of the game.

With that run, the Billikens put themselves in a prime position to fight off the Rams’ counterattack until the last few minutes of the game. Khalid Moore, Gabelli Graduate School of Business ’23, set the tone for the Rams with an acrobatic layup in the sixth minute to liven up Fordham’s offense. 

By the 11-minute mark, the game was back in control, although the Billikens still held a slim 16-12 lead. The margins would remain similar until the last 10 minutes of the second half, where Fordham and St. Louis exchanged haymakers. The game saw eight lead changes, each one more dramatic than the last. The student section was ablaze with emotion; every St. Louis free throw was fraught with anxiety as the noise in the arena reached a crescendo.

The offensive ignition for the Bronx hoopers laid squarely on the shoulders of Moore and Darius Quisenberry, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences ’23, both of whom took the mantle of leadership with care that night. Quisenberry scored 27 points, and Moore had a quick 20 by the final buzzer. 

But good offense comes from strong defense, and the Rams delivered on that front as well, to the tune of 14 steals. Although the turnovers weren’t productive at first, the Rams managed to score 18 points off of St. Louis miscues by the end of the game.

Before the Rams’ winning run began, the crowd saw a taste of their capabilities. At the 16-minute mark, Abdou Tsimbila, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’24, stole the ball and slammed it down on the other end, bringing the score to 38-32, with St. Louis still in control, and the crowd to their feet. He then blocked a St. Louis floater, towering over his opponent with a look of fury.

Shortly after, the Rams played pressure defense to force a five-second violation. Urgo, with a grimace on his face, adjusted his jacket.

With 11 minutes remaining in the game, Rostyslav Novitskyi, FCRH ’23, dunked the ball off a fast break. It brought the Rams to 49-48, within one point of the lead. Will Richardson, FCRH ’26, hit a corner three at the 10-minute mark to tie the game at 51 after a quick retort from the Billikens. It was the start of a back and forth that would bring the energy in the arena to a boiling point.

“How about Rose-Thrill. They have no idea how intense of an atmosphere that really is.” Keith Urgo, head coach

At the six-minute mark, the Rams got their big break. Elijah Gray, FCRH ’26, was left unguarded in the dunker’s position. He slammed the ball and gave Fordham its first lead since the first two minutes of the game, 56-55.

The Billikens fired back and took the lead again, only for Quisenberry to ruin their night soon after. Pulling up well behind the 3-point line, the starting guard launched the ball and drained it, 59-58. He held his follow-through, to the delight of Fordham fans.

The lead would again swivel back and forth until Fordham managed to stabilize it at the three-minute mark off of a pair of Quisenberry free throws.

The Rams’ defense locked up in the final two minutes, squashing any hope of a St. Louis comeback. The Billikens missed shot after shot, and the Rams’ tenacious rebounding secured a run that would last until the end of the game. 

“To have that kind of atmosphere shows that we are building something special here.” Kyle Rose, FCRH ’23

They finally pulled away in the last minute of play as St. Louis fouls sent Quisenberry to the charity stripe multiple times. In a poetic summation of the Rams performance, as Quisenberry took his final free throws, a fan called out to him: let’s go dancing! 

The contest ended in Fordham’s favor, 75-65, to the sound of deafening applause. Urgo spoke about the environment that night.

“How about Rose-Thrill,” Urgo said. “They have no idea how intense of an atmosphere that really is.”

Kyle Rose, FCRH ’23, echoed his coach’s thoughts.

“To have that kind of atmosphere shows that we are building something special here,” Rose said. He scored only three points, but his defensive impact was enormous. 

The Rams may finally warrant consideration as an elite team in the A10. A historic win streak only set the mood for Fordham fans, but it took the victory against St. Louis to truly convince them that this team was worth backing. Sold-out games may no longer be a rarity, but for Rose the focus is internal.

“I take pride in my defense,” Rose said, “But I also try to come out and give 110% and execute the game plan.”

The Rams will play at the University of Richmond (UR) on Feb. 5. The UR Spiders have had a mixed bag in the conference schedule, but the Rams will not count out any opponent after so many years of mediocre A10 performances.

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