Men’s Basketball Rolls Past Dartmouth to start Keith Urgo Chapter


Graduate Student Khalid Moore goes for two of his 18 points, a stellar debut for Fordham. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Questions surrounding the Fordham Rams have clouded them all offseason: Kyle Neptune’s departure, the impacts the freshman could have and if Keith Urgo was ready to be a head coach. 

On Nov. 7, for at least one night, those questions were answered as Fordham dominated Dartmouth College in a hellacious second half to tally a final score of 88-74 for a 1-0 start to the year.

The Rams didn’t make it easy by any means going down 10-0 in the opening minutes, but the calming presence of junior Antrell Charlton began things for the Rams with a layup after two and a half minutes of no scoring. The proverbial “lid on the basket” had been removed, and Fordham started pounding the rock.

Graduate student transfer Khalid Moore had the debut of his life, notching a near-personal best 18 points to go along with seven rebounds on the night. He showcased his athleticism with a block that pinned the ball to the backboard, and had a dunk driving through the lane to inject life into Fordham’s zombie offense.

Fellow graduate student Darius Quisenberry got off to a slow start, but found success in the second half. His 7-18 shooting is not ideal after a 3-10 first half, but Fordham will take his 20 points any time. Quisenberry’s damage came mostly from driving the paint for layups, thus resulting in him getting knocked down and going to the free throw line. He did come up hobbling a few times, but pushed through for 36 minutes. 

Charlton was also all over the place on Tuesday, dumping 16 points on 7-9 shooting and splitting two of his four threes. He also added three rebounds and assists with a steal plus a rejection. This was the sort of production that the Rams have come to expect from him, plugging holes in areas that are vital to the team’s success. 

Fourth year junior Kyle Rose had one of his most efficient games as a Ram with 11 points on 4-5 shooting from the field overall. He included two steals but was limited due to foul issues, regardless, playing his role exceptionally well on Tuesday.

Junior Abdou Tsimbila also started the evening off on the wrong foot but played a much better second half. Defensively, he had six rebounds and two blocks in key spots for Fordham while showing the important offensive steps he must make to have a real impact. Senior Rostik Noyvitskyi was another anchor in the middle for Fordham, adding three blocks and four points on the night.

The freshmen were also a question for the team this year in terms of their productivity right out of the gate, but tonight they provided a spark for the team. The first to enter was Romad Dean, who snatched screws from the ceiling to sky for a rebound and drew a foul in his first college sequence. His second half also included a late tip-in and a dunk to help seal the deal for the Rams.

Freshman Elijah Gray saw limited action, but scored his first college point at the free throw line. Will Richardson’s first three went in, and he added three rebounds while taking good care of the ball in his 17 minutes of burn.

There were some lapses on defense for Fordham, especially early at the defensive end. Dartmouth came into the game with a reputation of being very efficient from three, which the Big Green made known very quickly as they shot an impressive 45.6% from beyond the arc on the night. Dusan Neskovic went 5-6 from range for Dartmouth with five others hitting at least one three.

Fordham’s three-point defense in the first half was porous, and some flubbed rotations left players wide open. The general concept for Fordham is they want to be extremely physical, which they are capable of doing inside the arch. Urgo and the staff designed the defense to not allow easy scores at the rim and play off of what they see as “incapable” shooters.

Dartmouth, as Fordham assistant coach Dave Paulsen said post game, is an “extreme example” of what Fordham would see from three point happy teams. Dartmouth’s early shot making from distance and crisp ball movement was giving Urgo’s team nightmares.

But thanks in part to a 17-5 run, they climbed back into the game to reclaim the lead with 4:21 left in the first half. They would end the first half with a five-point cushion, then enter the second half and roll forward for Urgo’s first win as a college head coach. A win that directly followed Candice Green, the first year head coach for the women’s team, earning her first win as a first time college head coach. 

The Rams made sloppy mistakes, and the freshman looked like freshman at times, but most of these were butterflies in their stomachs for the first real game. Tuesday’s environment included a capacity crowd compared to the two closed scrimmages the team played, which may have played a bit into the mistakes, but nonetheless are “oopsies” that are very much correctable. 

The Rams are back in action Friday against the Arkansas Razorbacks, a team who is garnering national attention in the Southeastern Conference as a potential national championship contender, in Fayetteville against a hostile crowd. It will serve as a stern test for the young Rams and the team as a whole in a power-five environment, but it should have positive long-term effects.