Rams Offense Ice Cold Against Saint Louis

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Chris Austin (above) was the lone bright for a struggling Fordham offense against Saint Louis. (Mackenzie Cranna/The Fordham Ram)

Andrew Posadas, Managing Editor Emeritus

Fordham Men’s Basketball could not get into a rhythm this past Saturday, shooting 28% from the floor on their way to being defeated handily by Saint Louis University, 68-40.

The Rams have now dropped two straight games after earning their second win of the season back on Feb. 6 against La Salle University. Fordham falls to 2-11 overall this season and 2-11 in Atlantic 10 conference play. Saint Louis’ overall record improves to 10-3 on the season, with a conference record of 3-2 following the Billikens third consecutive win in the A-10.

Saint Louis senior guard Jordan Goodwin recorded his 10th double-double this season, scoring 12 points and 10 rebounds, while dishing out a game-high five assists. Fellow senior guard Javonte Perkins enjoyed a proficient day from the floor, shooting 8-of-14 on the day to lead all scorers with a game-high 19 points. Senior forward Hasahn French grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds to go along with five points, three assists and two steals. The senior trio of Goodwin, Perkins and French were at the forefront of an early blitz that Fordham could not adjust and recover from to keep the game competitive.

Senior guard Chris Austin was the only Ram to score in double-figures on Saturday, netting a team-high 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting along with four rebounds. Junior guard Jalen Cobb added nine points, three rebounds and two steals. Sophomore forward Joel Soriano was limited to just 18 minutes due to foul trouble, finishing with six rebounds and a season-low four points.

From the opening tip, Saint Louis set the tone by using their physicality to control the rebounding advantage and on the other end, suffocating Fordham with an aggressive man-to-man defense. The Rams could only muster two points through the first five minutes of the first half as the Billikens raced off to an early 15-2 lead. Unable to get the proverbial lid off the basket, Fordham did not enter double-figures in scoring until the 6:38 mark. By then, Saint Louis had already built an 18-point that grew to a 37-17 advantage heading into halftime.

The rim was not any kinder to interim head coach Mike DePaoli and his offense in the second half. Whether it was because Saint Louis played stifling defense or just not being able to connect on open looks, the Rams stagnant play offensively resulted in multiple scoreless droughts throughout Saturday’s game. Saint Louis did not trail at all in the game and led by as many as 30 points midway through the second half.

Fordham’s offense has not been able to build upon the season-high 76 points they dropped on La Salle in their last win. Including Saturday’s loss, the Rams have shot just 30% from the floor as a team and are showing a woeful 19% from beyond the arc in their last two contests.

Coach DePaoli assumed full responsibility for the loss and put the blame squarely on the coaching staff for not having the players adequately prepared. “We didn’t come out and do what we needed to do, and that’s on myself, on the coaches that we didn’t have them ready to go,” DePaoli said. “We have to respond from this and learn from this.”

The Rams planned on responding by adding an additional game on the road against St. Bonaventure University on Wednesday, Feb. 17 in the Reilly Center. However, due to a spike in COVID-19 cases at the Rose Hill campus, Fordham Athletics has paused all competitions and practices for two weeks. Fordham Men’s Basketball will return to team activities on Feb. 28 before the A-10 Championship takes place from Mar. 10-14 in Richmond, Va.