Men’s Basketball Annihilated at Arkansas; Dominates New Hampshire


Darius Quisenberry and Fordham rebounded in a big way with a home win against New Hampshire. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Everything that you see in college basketball is unordinary, where the abnormal is normal. That phrase couldn’t have been further from the truth for the Rams when they traveled to the University of Arkansas last Friday. 

Going into a Southeastern Conference (SEC) environment is enough added pressure for a team that plays in a 3,200 capacity gym. The fire only grows when the Razorbacks just so happen to be the 10th ranked team in the nation heading into the game with 19,000 crazy fans.

Headlined by two of their three top 20 recruits, Jordan Walsh and Anthony Black, the Razorbacks rolled over Fordham 74-48 at Bud Walton Arena. Fordham got out to a very brief 7-2 lead in the opening minutes thanks to junior Antrell Charlton, but Arkansas stole the lead and didn’t let Fordham get a sniff of a single digit deficit.

Arkansas’ Ricky Council led the way with 15 points and a monster dunk, as he gave the Rams all sorts of problems. Beyond those three, 10 Razorbacks scored in the contest which was highlighted by a huge second half run to balloon the lead to over 20.

Fordham’s efforts were led by graduate student Darius Quisenberry and freshman Elijah Gray, both of whom posted 10 points each. Gray played his best game as a Ram thus far, unlike the rest of the team. 

The Rams chalked up 30 turnovers in the game, which obviously isn’t ideal, but those things happen against a team where they were clearly overmatched. Charlton didn’t play his best, which was highlighted by nine turnovers. Arkansas’ overwhelming length and physicality disrupted any chance for Fordham’s main facilitator to distribute for open shooters. 

Khalid Moore only tallied seven points on 3-7 shooting, grabbing one board and dishing out two assists. Freshman Romad Dean played another decent game off the bench, adding five points and two rebounds in 21 minutes. Fellow freshman Will Richardson dropped one assist and stole two rebounds, but came up empty with his scoring numbers.

Not everything was horrible for Fordham; they held Arkansas to 12.5% from three, were only outrebounded on the defensive end by two and didn’t allow one guy to man-handle the team with a big scoring night. 

The team also played 40 minutes at full speed, not throwing in the towel at any point, which is something head coach Keith Urgo stresses to the players every day.

The first half was punctuated by a 30-11 run for Arkansas, but Fordham showed some life with a 10-2 run to end the first half to go down 11. The final result is obviously not what Urgo and the Rams drew up, but as associate head coach Tray Woodall said in the post game interview, “we beat ourselves with the turnovers, we have to clean those up.”

As aforementioned, rolling into an SEC environment against a top 10 team in the country is not easy for a team still in “rebuild” mode. It marked a stern test of mental will for the Rams, but big picture this game was a learning experience to have positive effects when the Rams travel to places like Virginia Commonwealth University, Davidson College or any other hostile environments in the Atlantic 10.

A trip home to regroup for the Rams was desperately needed to right the ship when Fordham welcomed New Hampshire to the Rose Hill Gym, a team they had not seen since 2008.

Fordham began Tuesday night with a 14-2 opening run thanks in large part to a bombardment from three. They never relinquished the lead after that despite letting New Hampshire get within three points.

The Rams had four players in double figures: Quisenberry (17), Moore (16), Rose (12) and Charlton (15). Quisenberry and Charlton opened the game with multiple threes, both of whom were incredibly efficient from the field. Percentages of 3/6, 2/4 and 2/4 from three-point land are promising sights for Urgo and the staff, which totaled a 79-61 destruction of the Wildcats.

Fordham’s overall splits were by far the best they’ve seen under the new regime (including Kyle Neptune last year). Fordham shot 20-27 on free throws, 11-26 from range and 24-54 overall from the field. If they can keep splits like those at above average percentages, the Rams will be more than equipped to keep up with the best of the A-10.

The rebounding was paramount for the Rams as well. Junior Abdou Tsimbila and senior Rostik Noyvitskyi held down the glass grabbing nine and six boards, respectively. The team won the rebounding battle against a smaller, faster New Hampshire team. 

We also saw a signature game for Richardson in his young career, as he totaled seven points and a rebound. His impact however, came on defense, picking up players at 94 feet with hounding on ball defense. 

Contrary to their performance in Arkansas, the Rams committed only 15 turnovers against New Hampshire. 15 still is a large number, but the team took better care of the ball in a game where they went full speed the whole night. The pace intensified offensively, and the Rams were also extremely physical both on the perimeter and in the paint.

The last two games produced mixed results, especially in Arkansas with 30 turnovers, but Fordham’s domination of New Hampshire lifted the team’s spirits back up to get ready for the Tom Konchalski classic, which starts on Saturday.