Men’s Basketball Blown Out by La Salle


The Rams are off to a sluggish start to begin Atlantic-10 play. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

After their season-opening loss to George Washington University, head coach Jeff Neubauer admitted that major adjustments and improvements were in order following his team’s performance. Unfortunately, the struggles for Fordham Men’s Basketball continued on Saturday evening, suffering a 89-52 blowout loss against La Salle University.

La Salle dissected Fordham’s defense by shooting nearly 58% from the field and making half of their three-point attempts (16-of-32). The Explorers’ 16 three-pointers were their most in a game since 2017. La Salle’s 37-point win is the largest margin of victory over Fordham in the all-time series, which now stands at 43-17 in the Explorers’ favor.

As for the Rams, they had an uncharacteristic 19 turnovers throughout the night. This allowed La Salle to cash in with 26 points off turnovers. Fordham’s offense was only able to manage 17 made field goals for the entire game on 32% shooting. Defensively, the Rams were on their heels all night trying to stop La Salle’s ball movement and well-balanced offensive strategy.

The lone bright spot for Fordham was sophomore forward Joel Soriano, who notched his seventh double-double in his last eight games dating back to last season. Soriano finished Saturday’s game with 16 points on an efficient 5-of-7 shooting to go along with 13 rebounds. Outside of Soriano, the rest of the team shot a combined 12-of-46 as players continue to shake off the visible rust.

La Salle scored the game’s first five points before Fordham cut the lead down to 7-4 with 16:35 left in the half. However, that was ultimately as close as the Rams got to evening the score with La Salle. The Explorers then used a 14-0 run over the next four minutes to gain control and head coach Ashley Howard’s team never looked back.

Fordham drops to 0-2 overall on the year, 0-2 in the A-10 and for the third straight season, the Rams have opened up conference play by losing their first two games. Neubauer is now 2-9 all-time against his alma mater. While the team’s offensive woes warrant considerable concern, Fordham’s defensive effort through two games may be even more alarming. After leading the A-10 in scoring defense last year with 61.7 ppg, the Rams are currently allowing 80 points per game so far this season.

Considering the fact that Fordham had not played a meaningful basketball game in 293 days and were one of the final Division 1 schools to start their season, one could surmise that this was to be expected. However, as Neubauer explained after the loss to George Washington: “There are no excuses in competition.”

Every college basketball program around the country has been dealt the same proverbial cards in terms of navigating COVID-19 throughout their respective seasons. Obviously, rust and lack of live-game action plays a major factor early on in the season. This is a Fordham team that had gone through a 14-day pause back in early December, and saw the cancellation of their entire non-conference schedule. Yet Saturday’s loss to La Salle had more to do with a lack of effort on both sides, something that cannot be the case moving forward in what is a good A-10 conference.

Fordham Men’s Basketball will look to bounce back at home on Tuesday Jan. 5, when they welcome the University of Dayton. The Flyers lead the all-time series, 31-5, and have won the past 16 matchups against the Rams. The game can be seen exclusively on ESPN+ and heard on WFUV 90.7 FM.