Charlton Misses Game Winner, Rams Fall to George Mason 64-58 in Overtime

The Fordham men’s basketball team faltered on the road, now ranked third in the A10 with a single game to go in the regular season




The Fordham men’s basketball team played their final away game of the season on Feb. 28 in Fairfax, Virginia against the George Mason University (GMU) Patriots. It was, by all accounts, an opportunity for the Rams to recoup some credit on the road after a mildly successful 6-4 record on that front.

Unfortunately for the Rams, George Mason hit like a freight train in the first half. The pressure got to Fordham in due course, and the Rams missed the game-winning shot. With the score tied at 48 at the end of regulation, the game went into overtime.

In the extra period, the Patriots successfully maneuvered to a 64-58 victory, sending the Rams home from the Capital Region bitter and unsatisfied. As a result, Fordham dropped from second to third place in the Atlantic 10 (A10) conference, surpassed by Dayton University following its 77-53 dismantling of LaSalle University on the same night.

Despite the setback, the Rams still hold an advantageous position in the conference — a top four seed guarantees two byes, meaning that whoever faces up against the Rams will have already played at least one exhausting match in the single-elimination tournament, which begins on March 5.

Exhausted, deflated and all out of fight, the Rams’ offense flopped.

The larger takeaway for any avid fan of Fordham basketball should be one of cautious optimism. After a thrilling and emotional 74-71 win against the University of Rhode Island (URI) on Feb. 25 at the Rose Hill Gymnasium, the Rams may have been a little too comfortable suiting up against the Patriots.

Against URI, the Rams demonstrated that even in poor-shooting form, defense can capitalize and push the team to victory. But, as guard Darius Quisenberry, Graduate School of Arts and Science (GSAS) ’23, jumped into the sold-out student section after the game, one couldn’t help but worry about a surge of overconfidence.

Those concerns were evidently well-founded, as atrocious shooting by Fordham against George Mason — 10% from the field in the first half — was not balanced with a good defensive effort. To illustrate the first half, the Rams hit just three field goals; the Patriots hit seven. Yes, that’s right, you could keep track of the offense with just your hands. Who needs statisticians?

However, that statistic can be read more accurately to say that George Mason hit more than twice as many shots as Fordham. The only silver lining for the Rams: The Patriots shot 40% from the free-throw line.

It was enough to set the stage for a wild second half, where George Mason avidly jumped out on Fordham shooters, allowing the Rams to shoot 13-of-17 from the line. In fact, the charity stripe tells the story of the second half. George Mason’s early trips allowed it to jump to an 8-point lead, holding the Rams at arm’s length until a series of fouls in the final three minutes gave the Rams a chance to kill the Patriots’ advantage.

With the bonus in effect, Khalid Moore, GSAS ’23, and Antrell Charlton, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’24, went nearly perfect from the line in four combined trips to tie the game at 48 with a minute and a half left — Moore dropped in a layup at the two-minute mark. The two went 6-of-8 from the free-throw line. Had any of the two missed attempts gone down, Fordham wouldn’t have had to bother trying to score at the buzzer, but who’s keeping track?

In those final two minutes, George Mason first missed a paint jumper. The Rams reeled it in, but Charlton turned it over — he averages 2.5 per game. As the Patriots rushed back down the floor, Ronald Polite III, GMU ’24, kindly missed a layup with six seconds left as Fordham’s defense collapsed on him.

Fordham Head Coach Keith Urgo immediately called a timeout, drawing up a full court play for Charlton. On the floor, he set his sights on the lane, barreling down for a wide-open paint shot. The ball sailed over two defenders and the backboard. The buzzer sounded, and the game went into overtime.

Exhausted, deflated and all out of fight, the Rams’ offense flopped. George Mason’s retort was emphatic; the Patriots returned to an 8-point lead in extra time. The final bucket came at the hands of Charlton and the game ended 64-58.

Although they dropped a slot in the standings, the Rams are still in a good position for the upcoming A10 tournament, starting on March 7. Fordham will first return to the Bronx to play its final game of the regular season against A10 competitor Duquesne University on March 4.