Rams Can’t Outlast Minutemen on the Road


Navarro’s (above) 17-points was not enough to take the Rams above UMass. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Despite shooting a season-high 46% from the floor on Wednesday night, Fordham Men’s Basketball was unable to capitalize down the stretch against a shorthanded University of Massachusetts team, losing 60-54 at Mullins Center in Amherst, Mass.

Senior guard Josh Navarro led all scorers with 17 points, tying a previous career-high as 14 of his points scored came in the second half. Sophomore center Joel Soriano registered his second straight double-double, going for 12 points and 13 rebounds in the loss. It is Soriano’s sixth double-double this season and the 11th double-double in his last 16 games dating back to last year.

On the other side, freshman guards Javohn Garcia and T.J. Weeks Jr. combined to score 27 points to pace the Minutemen on offense. Weeks Jr. also grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds and five assists for his first career double-double. Senior guard and team captain Carl Pierre added ten points on a night where UMass came in severely compromised.

UMass entered Wednesday’s contest without two of their starters due to injury, including their best player, sophomore star center Tre Mitchell, while also coming off more than a week between games for the fourth time this season. Mitchell came into the week leading the Atlantic 10 Conference in scoring, averaging 20 points per game this season.

However, the Rams were unable to take advantage of the undermanned Minutemen as both teams struggled shooting the ball early. Although Fordham’s defense held UMass to 33% shooting from the floor, the Rams had nine first half turnovers which resulted in only 23 shot attempts. Stagnant play offensively on Fordham’s part allowed UMass to go on a 6-0 run and take a double-digit lead heading into halftime, 33-23.

The second half paid homage to the popular belief that basketball is simply “a game of runs” between two teams. Fordham outscored UMass 10-4 in the opening five minutes of the half after a made layup by Navarro cut the deficit back down to four, 37-33. The Minutemen promptly responded with a 9-1 run of their own over the next four minutes to recapture a double-digit lead.

Heading into the final five minutes, Fordham proceeded to use a 7-0 run to make it a two-possession game at 55-51 with 1:31 left in regulation. Unfortunately, the Rams could not string together a few more stops on the defensive end to get any closer. Fordham’s attempt at using the proverbial back door for a comeback road win was thwarted, leaving the Rams out in the cold with their seventh straight loss this year.

Fordham’s defensive efforts limited UMass’ high-powered offense to 60 points, tying a season-low for the Minutemen who came in averaging over 80 points per contest. The difference in this game ultimately came down to turnovers and offensive rebounds. UMass was able to cash in for 16 points off 17 Fordham turnovers Wednesday night. The minutemen also grabbed 12 offensive rebounds that facilitated 10 second chance points, whereas the Rams managed five offensive rebounds but zero second chance points.

This loss drops Fordham to 1-9 overall record this season and 1-9 in A-10 play. UMass improves to 6-4 overall alongside a 5-2 conference record, giving the Minutemen their best start in the conference since the 2011-12 season.

Fordham Men’s Basketball will be back in action this Saturday, Feb. 6 when the Rams welcome La Salle University to the historic Rose Hill Gymnasium. The game replaces the originally scheduled Fordham-Davidson College game as the Wildcats have currently paused team activities. Tip-off is scheduled for 12:30 P.M. and will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network, as well as broadcasted live on 90.7 FM.