The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

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The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

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Men’s Basketball Escapes with Victory in Opening Round of A10 Championship

The Rams defeated the Davidson Wildcats, 71-63, following a buzzer-beater to tie the game and a dominant overtime effort to advance to the next round
A+determined+effort+from+the+Rams+helped+them+overcome+an+8-point+deficit+at+halftime%2C+pushing+Fordham+into+a+second+round+matchup+against+VCU+on+Wednesday.
COURTESY OF FORDHAM ATHLETICS
A determined effort from the Rams helped them overcome an 8-point deficit at halftime, pushing Fordham into a second round matchup against VCU on Wednesday.

“I think we can beat anybody,” said Will Richardson, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’26, resolutely following Fordham’s game against Davidson.

The Fordham men’s basketball team began its Atlantic 10 (A10) Championship run with a hard-fought victory on Tuesday, March 12 against the Davidson College (DAV) Wildcats, 71-63. Entering the tournament as the 12 seed, the Rams required a second-half push at the Barclays Center to overcome their conference foes and move past the opening round. 

Fordham opened the opening round slowly, connecting on only two of their first 15 field goals. The Rams’ intense defense kept the game close, however, and at the 11-minute mark, the score was knotted at 7-7. 

Still, Fordham’s shooting woes hindered the de facto home team. Davidson maintained a narrow lead throughout most of the first half while the Rams attempted to find their footing on the offensive side of the ball. 

Over time, the momentum shifted. Trailing 17-10 with 8:22 to go in the half, the Rams embarked on a 9-2 run to tie the game. The streak was capped by a 3-pointer from Richardson, Fordham’s first of the game.

Neither team seemed to want to pull away. Davidson failed to capitalize on Fordham’s poor shooting throughout the first half by turning the ball over, while the Rams’ floundering offense squandered their hard work on defense. 

This dynamic manifested a grueling end to the first half, as the two teams combined for 6 points in the four minutes before halftime. Three of those points came from free throws and the remaining points came from a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Bobby Durkin, DAV ’27. Fordham’s final field goal of the half was made with 4:31 remaining, allowing Davidson to close the period on an 8-0 run and claim a 27-19 lead.

After a bleak first half, the Rams headed to overtime with a chance to grasp a win from the jaws of defeat.

With the season on the line, the Rams needed a hero. Richardson emerged as the one who would lead the charge back. The resilient Rams, led by Richardson’s 14 points in the period, hung around for just long enough to remain competitive, despite Davidson holding a lead for much of the second half.

The Rams turned the heat up in the final quarter of the game. Davidson held a 10-point lead with 10:29 remaining before back-to-back layups from Richardson and Joshua Rivera, FCRH ’26, and a 3-pointer from Rivera shrunk the lead to three. 

From that point on, every basket made by the Wildcats was matched with a response from Fordham. Eventually, Fordham’s persistence was rewarded. Rivera banked a short hook shot in to tie the game, 52-52, with 3:34 remaining. 

The team overcame extremely poor shooting statistics with hard-nosed defense and competitive spirit, crawling back into a game that seemed out of reach at many points (COURTESY OF FORDHAM ATHLETICS)

It did not take long for the Wildcats to regain their lead. Davidson’s leading scorer in conference play, Reed Bailey, DAV ’26, added seven points in the final three points, with one of his dunks giving the away team a 60-56 lead at the 1:38 mark. 

Richardson drew a shooting foul following a hard drive on Fordham’s ensuing possession, nailing both of his free throws to cut the deficit to two. Now with under a minute remaining, the Rams forced a much-needed turnover — Kyle Rose, FCRH ’24, poked the ball away from Bailey to gain possession once again.

It was then passed down to Abdou Tsimbila, FCRH ’24, in the paint. The reliable Fordham center missed his first layup, but corralled the offensive rebound and was fouled on his second attempt. At the line, Tsimbila made the first free throw but missed the second, leaving the score at 60-59 with 26 seconds on the clock. 

“I know, at the very least, we’re going to give you every ounce of energy on the defensive end and rebounding.”Keith Urgo, head coach

The Rams were forced to foul, sending Bailey to the line. Following Tsimbila’s lead, Bailey made the first attempt and missed the second, giving Fordham a final breath to extend its season. At this point, Head Coach Keith Urgo called a timeout to plot the Rams’ attack.

The play coming out of the timeout fell apart rather quickly, as the Wildcats smothered each of Fordham’s ball handlers. As the Rams grew desperate, the ball made its way to their all-time games played leader, Rose. He bolted toward the rim as the clock approached zero, darting through Davidson defenders before arriving at the hoop with a glimmer of daylight. With the season on the line, he laid the ball off of the backboard and through the net, tying the game at 61 with two seconds left. 

After a bleak first half, the Rams headed to overtime with a chance to grasp a win from the jaws of defeat. The momentum had shifted palpably, and Fordham came out flying for the 5-minute overtime period. 

Fordham buried their conference foes from the jump, leaping out to an immediate seven-point lead. On defense, the Rams held the Wildcats to two points in the entire period. Ultimately, the Rams handled their conference foes with ease, emerging with a 71-63 victory. 

The road to victory was not easy for Fordham. The team overcame extremely poor shooting statistics with hard-nosed defense and competitive spirit, crawling back into a game that seemed out of reach at many points. The win also came despite lackluster performances from Japhet Medor, FCRH ’24, and Rose, who had powered the Rams coming into the playoffs but combined for only 14 points on 4-23 from the field. 

“All you can ask as a coach is to have your guys give it up for each other as much as they can,” Urgo said after the game, reflecting on the effort put forth by the Rams. “I know, at the very least, we’re going to give you every ounce of energy on the defensive end and rebounding.”

While Fordham lives on in the A10 Championship, the path only gets harder from here. Next, the Rams will face the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Rams today, March 13. Once again at the Barclays Center, the fifth-seeded VCU squad will be heavily favored following a 15-point victory against Fordham earlier this season.

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About the Contributor
CHRIS MURRAY
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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