The Fordham Rams Defeat Rhode Island, 74-71, for their 11th Conference Win

In a close game, the Rams struggled but eventually rose to the occasion, moving to second in the A10



Darius Quisenberry, GSAS ’23, celebrates with the student section after posting 14 points in the victory.


In yet another high-flying outing, the Fordham men’s basketball team recorded a victory on Saturday, Feb. 25, 74-71, against the University of Rhode Island (URI). More than just another scratch in the win column, the Rams now hold a 26-6 record, including 11 Atlantic 10 (A10) conference victories. 

This is the highest number of conference wins for the Rams since they joined the A10 in 1995, and it was before a sold-out crowd at the Rose Hill Gymnasium. The Rams move to second in the A10, behind Virginia Commonwealth University, and are extremely close to making an NCAA bid.

At first glance, the box score was deceptive; Rhode Island performed with outright statistical efficiency. They successfully scored 40% of all shots from the field, an immaculate 56% from behind the arc and 84% from the charity stripe. 

The Rams fell far behind in each of these statistics. This was especially true of veteran leader Darius Quisenberry, Graduate School of Arts and Science (GSAS) ’23, who put up three-of-13 from the field. Despite this, the Rams excelled because of their pace throughout the game. Fordham converted two more field goals in total and put up six more attempts. 

The Rams’ final point was scored at the line by Quisenberry, making it a two-possession game with only 10 seconds remaining.

The Rams looked to continue their recent success. Starting the game at forward, Rostyslav Novitskyi, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’23, opened the competition with a clean layup. Rhode Island quickly responded with a 2-point conversion from Alex Tchikou, URI ’26. 

A large part of the first period was a slow patch for the Rams. From the 17-minute mark — when the Rams forced their opponent to take a timeout — until the 11-minute mark, the home team scored just four points. In that same time the Rams turned the ball over a staggering six times. A combination of inefficiency and unnecessary fouls meant that the Rams were facing a 19-13 deficit.

If there’s one thing to know about Head Coach Keith Urgo’s style of coaching, it’s that a fast pace, energetic defense and hustle are staples. The Rams furiously worked their way back into the game. 

Fordham weathered a few uncharacteristic errors, such as Abdou Tsimbila’s, FCRH ’24,  back-to-back missed dunks in the eighth and seventh minutes in the period, respectively. However, major scoring contributions from Kyle Rose, FCRH ’24, Novitskyi, and a last-second 3-pointer by Quisenberry put the team up 36-35 going into the second half. 

In the second half, the Rams needed to boost their efficiency from the floor. Novitskyi and Richardson were the answer, working in tandem to put the Rams up 44-39 with 17 minutes left in the game. The extra possessions secured by the Rose Hill residents through their rebounding prowess were key to Fordham’s victory. 

The Rams proved that if nothing else, effort will get you far. The abundance of talent on the roster goes without mentioning. In an extended burst of grit, the Rams reeled in four offensive rebounds in the starting minutes of the first period. Starting with a missed three from Khalid Moore, GSAS ’23, the Rams got to work on the glass, grabbing the board. 

Quisenberry then attempted a three of his own, with the rebound landing back in Fordham’s hands. Antrell Charlton, FCRH ’24, then drove for the layup but was blocked by Brandon Weston, URI ’26. Quisenberry was there to rebound, but with the second shooting opportunity, Charlton missed again. The shot was then recovered by Tsimbila who finally converted the basket. The Rams were up 46-39 with 16 minutes of play remaining.

Although grabbing four offensive boards is a statistically improbable feat, it does wonders for a team’s energy. The unity, fight and spirit on display in this single play may be enough to spur the team on for a real push toward NCAA basketball. 

The game came down to the wire. Each player on the Rams had an important offensive role. The Rams’ final point was scored at the line by Quisenberry, making it a two-possession game with only 10 seconds remaining. Rhode Island pushed up the floor and dropped the ball into the hoop. The Rams were up 74-71 with four seconds left on the clock. 

Charlton then bungled an inbounds play, turning over possession by stepping in and out of bounds before inbounding the ball. Rhode Island had a chance at a buzzer-beating shot — an event the Rose Hill gymnasium has recently acquainted itself with — but were unable to convert the 3-pointer to send the game into overtime.

The Rams are already playing their best basketball in years and are now close to securing a coveted top-four seed in the coming A10 tournament.  The scoring efficiency was not on display, but the victory was well-earned by Urgo and his team. The Rams will play sixth-place George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, on March 1.