Less than 48 hours since Antonio Daye’s departure from Fordham University was announced, the Rams tipped off against Saint Louis at the Chaifetz Center Saturday Afternoon. Despite little time to readjust their game plan without their leading scorer, Fordham was holding their own against a program that historically they have had a lot of trouble with.
Josh Colon-Navarro, a major piece of Jeff Neubauer’s Fordham teams, returned to the starting lineup for the second time this season. A very defensive minded player, Colon-Navarro brought some much needed intensity in a game where the Rams’ offense would definitely be taking a hit without Daye. Aside from increased minutes from Navarro, Coach Neptune looked to be experimenting with several other guards in the rotation, as younger players like Kam’Ron Cunningham and Ahmad Harrison checked into the game a lot earlier and a lot more frequently than has been seen so far this season.
Early on, Fordham was able to have some control of the game’s tempo, getting off a few quick threes and jumping to an 8-2 lead. Despite falling into several 3-minute scoring droughts, Fordham was able to limit Saint Louis’ own offense early on, creating a lot of pressure along the perimeter and force very tough shots inside the paint. On several plays, Fordham triple teamed top Billikens scorers such as Gibson Jimerson and Yuri Collins, allowing guys like Kyle Rose to force some tough turnovers. As both teams tried and failed to get things going under the basket, the Chuba Ohams-Francis Okoro matchup set itself up to be one of the more exciting aspects of the game.
However, as Saint Louis adjusted and upped their intensity against Fordham, the Rams couldn’t seem to match it. As Saint Louis broke out into a 7-0 run to take a 16-15 lead, Fordham panicked, and couldn’t respond from deep. Fordham would shoot just 7-for-26 from the field in the first half, including 2-for-11 from three-point range.
As the second half opened, Fordham was able to get off a decent shot or two, but Saint Louis just kept hammering. Defensively, they locked down Ohams and Quisenberry, limiting both players to just 8 and 15 points respectively, as they shot a combined 9-for-26 from the floor. Without a third bonified scoring option in Antonio Daye, Fordham’s scoring efforts in the second half largely consisted of lessening the impact of the deficit rather than working on getting a lead of their own.
Finishing the game with 45 points, Saturday’s loss at Saint Louis was their lowest scoring performance of the season, and the first game where they failed to break 50 points since their 53-49 loss to George Washington in the opening round of last year’s Atlantic 10 tournament.