Chris Austin’s Career Night Earns Fordham’s First Win


Chris Austin’s late three sealed the shocking win for the Rams. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Behind a career-high 20 points from sophomore guard Chris Austin, Fordham Men’s Basketball shocked the University of Dayton at Rose Hill Gymnasium for their first win this season, 55-54.

Oftentimes, the true measure of a team is not predicated on how they react to tremendous success, but how they respond following a demoralizing defeat. After being thoroughly outplayed by La Salle University last Saturday, the Rams looked destined for a procellous ride throughout Atlantic 10 Conference play. Only one question remained: how would the Rams respond with the reigning A-10 regular season champions coming to the Bronx?

The University of Dayton looked to make it 17 straight victories over Fordham in an all-time series they have dominated, 32-5, as the Rams entered Tuesday’s contest just 3-26 against Dayton since joining the A-10.

Although the Rams first possession on offense resulted in a shot-clock violation, it would not be a prelude for things to come. Fordham’s concerted effort to play hard from the opening tip on both sides of the court made it clear that a replay of their performance against La Salle would not be replicated against Dayton. Defensively, this was not the same Rams team that allowed the opposing team to net 80 points in two previous games this season. 

The Flyers, who came in shooting 50% from the floor and knocking down nearly 40% of their three-point attempts, were held to just 7-of-20 shooting in the first half (35%). The Rams active defense flustered Dayton into 11 first half turnovers, which included five offensive fouls drawn by the likes of senior guard Josh Navarro. Fordham never trailed by more than five points and found themselves only down 27-24 going into halftime.

Dayton scored the first four points early on in the second half to take a seven-point lead, 31-24, at the 18:28 mark. Yet, Fordham did not falter under the pressure put on by the Flyers. The Rams responded by outscoring Dayton 23-14 over the next 13 minutes of regulation, which included a four-point play from Chris Austin after getting fouled on a made three-point shot. Fordham used an 11-2 run to take a 50-45 lead with less than six minutes remaining, but Dayton showed their resolve, countering with a 7-0 run to retake a two-point lead in the final three minutes of regulation.

However, each time Fordham needed a crucial basket down the stretch, Austin was there to deliver with 15 of his career-high 20 points coming in the second half. Down by two points late in the game, Austin knocked down the biggest shot of his collegiate career when he drained his fifth three-pointer with 18 seconds remaining. Dayton had the ball with a chance to win on the game’s final possession, but Fordham’s defense held the Flyers to a contested jump shot that sealed the Rams first victory of the season.

When asked about what the win means to his team, Neubauer says it is an indescribable feeling. “From where we were, whether you want to call it 48 hours ago or even 24 hours ago, for some players 12 hours ago, to go out and beat a great team like Dayton, it totally changes everything,” Neubauer said. “For our team to get a win today: priceless.”

Neubauer believes Tuesday’s win can absolutely propel the team in a positive direction, but also stressed that “everything is going to be hard-earned” moving forward this season. Neubauer would go on to say, “We have a lot to overcome, and we are going to take on those challenges with renewed spirit, energy and pride after what we did tonight.”

Fordham improves to 1-2 on the season and 1-2 in the A-10 while Dayton falls to 5-3 overall with a 1-2 record in the conference. The Rams look to continue their positive momentum this Saturday when they go on the road to play Duquesne University at 1:00 PM. The Dukes won both meetings last season, albeit in two closely competitive contests which saw one of those games go into overtime. The game will be broadcasted on NBC Sports Network and WFUV 90.7 FM.