In their Wednesday night matchup against St. Francis, Fordham’s offense looked as solid as ever. Their ball movement was fluid, they were getting some open looks, and their transition play looked pretty solid. Despite the relatively consistent performance, there were plenty of moments where Fordham found themselves struggling against a pretty versatile St. Francis offense. Luckily for the Rams, in those moments, there was one solution that always seemed to get them out of a jam.
Feed Chuba Ohams.
In a historic night for the graduate forward, Ohams scored 20 points and grabbed 22 rebounds. With his sixth double-double of the season, Ohams has been the cornerstone of Fordham’s offense so far in non-conference play. According to Coach Neptune, once Ohams got hot in the first half, dishing the ball to him was a no brainer.
“We weren’t really calling it, there were just a lot of opportunities on that where they were unselfish and gave him the ball,” Coach Neptune explained. “I didn’t even realize until later on that he had 20 and 20. That has to be a record.”
Coach Neptune was right on that last part. Ohams’ performance marks the first 20-20 performance for a Fordham player since Damon Lopez in 1991. In terms of just rebounds, the last Fordham player to grab 20 boards in a game was Chris Gaston in 2010. Ohams’ dominance in the paint definitely helped a Rams offense that played slightly below what we’ve seen so far this season. After scoring at least 80 points in their last two wins, Coach Neptune definitely recognized his team’s shooting slump.
“In a game where you only get 68 points, you only go 4-for-15 from three, I thought a lot of those threes were pretty wide open,” Neptune said. “But you also only go 12-for-22 from the line, so you’re losing a bunch of buckets. 2 or 3 of those makes and we can easily get 80.”
That being said, the decline in shooting wasn’t much of a problem for Neptune, as his team’s identity has run mainly through their defense this season.
“We didn’t shoot the ball great, but that’s gonna happen. I really don’t care about offense as much as I do about getting stops and making sure the other team isn’t scoring,” Neptune said. “We practice our free throws all of the time, we practice our three pointers all of the time. Sometimes you’re gonna make them, sometimes you’re gonna miss them. No one goes 100 percent for the whole season. We can’t worry about that, we have to worry about getting stops.”
Aside from Ohams, plenty of Rams made some major contributions to last night’s win. Antonio Daye Jr. continued his 9-game streak of scoring in double figures with 22 points. Antrell Charlton recorded 3 steals. Ahmad Harrison, a player Coach Neptune describes as a “spark plug of energy,” recorded 7 minutes in which he kept his team’s spirits high with his on-court intensity. Overall, Fordham played one of their most complete games of the season, something that Coach Neptune described as a key to long term success.
“We talk to our guys about playing a full 40 minutes. Whatever play it is, we want to play hard for 40 minutes,” Neptune described. “If that’s defense, we have to try and get a stop. If it’s offense, we want to run our sets to the best of our abilities.”
Fordham’s next challenge will take place in Queens on Sunday, where they face the St. John’s Red Storm.