BRONX, N.Y. – Iconic college basketball enthusiast Dick Vitale learned at an early age that the object of the game is to score more points than the opposition. And it really doesn’t matter in the moment how that is achieved – as long as at the end of the day the goal is achieved.
It’s a really good thing for Fordham that style points are not part of the equation.
Fordham did just enough of the little things to eek out a 61-55 win over visiting Rhode Island on Feb. 2 at historic Rose Hill Gym in A10 men’s basketball action.
The victory snapped a five-game losing skid by Fordham which improved to 3-5 in conference and evened its record at 10-10. Rhode Island, meanwhile, fell to 3-5 in A10 and 12-8 on the year.
The homestanding Rams managed to increase a seemingly comfortable 36-19 halftime lead into a 43-24 advantage when Darius Quisenberry connected on a 3-pointer and it seemed the beginning of the end was in sight.
Rhode Island had other plans and began to slowly whittle away at the 19-point Fordham advantage.
The visitors closed to within seven points a short time later before Josh Colon-Navarro’s 3-pointer pushed the Fordham lead back to double digits.
That was when the visiting Rams went on a 10-0 run to tie the game at 48-48 with 5:04 remaining in the contest. It was as close as the two teams would be since being tied 2-2 early in the game.
Fordham put an end to the scoring drought by connecting on another long-range shot with 3:12 to go to allow his team to regain a temporary advantage. Rhode Island’s Makhi Mitchell tied the game for what turned out to the final time on a traditional three-point play just 16 seconds later.
Chuba Ohams’ layup at 2:39 gave Fordham a 53-51 lead that the Rams would not relinquish the rest of the way and a pair of field goals from Abdou Tsimbila, who managed to get behind the Rhode Island defense for easy baskets in the late going, allowed the Rams to push the lead to 59-53 with 38.5 second left in the game. Antrell Charlton’s two free throws with 26 seconds remaining put Fordham on top 61-55 and closed the scoring.
Both teams had a massive struggle in finding consistency on offense in the first half as the result of cold field goal shooting and turnovers aplenty.
Fordham shot just 41 percent (12-29) from the floor in the first 20 minutes while turning the ball over 13 times. Rhode Island, which committed seven turnovers in the first half, was a frigid 23 percent shooting from the floor was connecting on just six of 26 field goal attempts.
At games’ end Fordham had shot 40 percent (22-55) from the floor and finished with 17 turnovers. Rhode Island was successful on 14 of 28 field goal attempts in the second half and ended the contest 37 percent (20-54) from the floor and was whistled for 14 total turnovers.
Fordham placed three players in double figure with Quisenberry leading the way with a game-high 15 points and adding seven assists along with three steals in the game. He has now scored in double figures in 19 of Fordham’s 20 games this season.
Ohams added 14 points in the winning effort. He also pulled down 13 rebounds to secure his second straight double-double and his 12th of the season. Behind Ohams’ efforts, Fordham had a 40-38 rebounding advantage in the game.
Colon-Navarro also reached double figures with 12 points.
Makhel Mitchell and Jalen Carey were the only two players to reach double figures in scoring for Rhode Island. Mitchell finished with a team-high 13 points and added nine rebounds. He also tallied four blocks and three steals in the game. It was the 10th game with at least three blocks this season for Mitchell.
Carey posted 12 points for the visitor.
Fordham returns to action on Feb. 5 when the Rams travel to Philadelphia to take on Saint Joseph’s. The game is scheduled to tip off a 1 p.m. Rhode Island is schedule to return to action on Saturday by playing host to Massachusetts.
A native of Bismarck, N.D., Ray is a graduate of North Dakota State University where he began studying athletic training and served as a student trainer for several Bison teams including swimming, wrestling and baseball and was a trainer at the 1979 NCAA national track and field championship meet at the University of Illinois. Ray later worked in the sports information office at NDSU. Following his graduation from NDSU he spent five years in the sports information office at Missouri Western State University and one year in the sports information at Georgia Tech. He has nearly 40 years of writing experience as a sports editor at several newspapers and has received numerous awards for his writing over the years. A noted sports historian, Ray is currently an assistant editor at Amateur Wrestling News.