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The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

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The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

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February 21, 2024

Four Wins, Four Losses: Four Weeks Until Atlantic 10 Play

The Fordham men’s basketball team sits at .500 through eight games as it continues to define itself ahead of its Atlantic 10 conference schedule
Fordham is gearing up for its Atlantic 10 (A10) conference schedule, which begins in early January.

The men’s basketball program has now made its way through eight regular season games. The Rams sit at an even 4-4. After splitting its first two games at home against Wagner College and Cornell University, Fordham traveled down to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands to participate in the Paradise Jam tournament. 

The Rams beat Norfolk State University in its first game, 77-64 before dropping its next two against Abilene Christian University and Kent State University. You may remember Abilene Christian University from the 2021 NCAA Tournament and Kent State from last year’s iteration of March Madness. Fordham lost the first game against ACU, 59-45, and the second against KSU, 79-72. 

Upon returning to the Bronx, Fordham faced Manhattan College in the “Battle of the Bronx.” Coming off of back-to-back losses, the Rams played with a vengeance. Fordham dominated its cross-borough rival, winning 93-61. This marked the Rams’ largest margin of victory in the series since 1986. The team carried its momentum into its next game, as the Rams trounced Fairleigh Dickinson University, 80-52. 

“You wish you learn in a win, but that’s part of the process.”Keith Urgo, head coach

That brings us to the Rams’ most recent game against Tulane University (TU), a top-100 ranked team in the country according to KenPom rankings. The two teams met last year, with Fordham winning the high-scoring affair 95-90. The Rams would not have such luck this time around in the Rose Hill Gymnasium. Although the Green Wave was playing without its leading scorer, rebounder, and assister, Kevin Cross, TU ’24, the home team sent Tulane to the free throw line for 42 shots, including 33 in the second half. Fordham attempted only 10 free throws in the entire game.

Additionally, Fordham’s leading scorer Japhet Medor, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’24, failed to record a point. Despite these setbacks, the Rams trailed by single digits down the stretch. The Green Wave finally pulled away, however, to emerge from the Bronx with an 89-81 victory. 

“Those are some big time refs, it is what it is,” Head Coach Keith Urgo noted in the postgame press conference when considering the discrepancy in free throws between the two teams. “It wasn’t the fouls, I mean we still had plenty of chances.” 

Urgo specifically referred to the fact that the game’s specific crew of referees was extremely experienced, having worked many Power 5 Conference games throughout their careers. He also had a measured take on the loss. 

“We’re a young team in a lot of respects, not as much experience … So these games, these tight situations, I really feel good that we’ll learn a lot from them,” Urgo mentioned as a key takeaway for his team. “You wish you learn in a win, but that’s part of the process.”

The men’s team has received contributions from both newcomers and returning players. Its top two scorers are both new players, Medor and Joshua Rivera, FCRH ’26. Rivera is also second on the team in rebounding and has started all eight games so far. The man he trails in rebounding is returner Abdou Tsimbila, FCRH ’24, who is snatching 8.1 rebounds per game while adding 9.1 points per game. Fellow forward Elijah Gray, FCRH ’26, has also emerged as a scoring threat, averaging 8.8 points in an elevated role. 

Other key contributors have been Antrell Charlton, FCRH ’24; Kyle Rose, FCRH ’24; and Will Richardson, FCRH ’26, while the rest of the team continues to define their roles. With that being said, Urgo has not been afraid to use his entire bench when the situation calls for it, as 11 players are averaging over nine minutes per game. 

Fordham is gearing up for its Atlantic 10 (A10) conference schedule, which begins in early January. The non-conference schedule leading up to A10 games serves as an opportunity to establish roles and gain valuable experience against opponents of various skill levels. The Rams will look to move above the .500 mark when they take on the New Jersey Institute of Technology Dec. 6 at Rose Hill. The university will also be hosting its SANTApalooza Event, with students encouraged to wear festive attire to the game. 

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About the Contributor
CHRIS MURRAY, Sports & Health Editor
Chris Murray (he/him), FCRH ’24, is a sports & health editor at The Observer. He is a political science and humanitarian studies double major with a minor in psychology. He is a Mets, Knicks and Rangers fan and spends his time trying new food or enjoying the outdoors.

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