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Postgame Report: UMass 80 Fordham 76

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Fordham Falls in First Game in A-10 Play

Fordham’s first loss in four tries had some eerily similarities to the last time the Rams dropped a contest. A few weeks back against St. John’s in Madison Square Garden, the Red Storm went on an 18-0 run midway through the game to build a lead that proved insurmountable in the end. Last night in Amherst, Massachusetts, UMass, leading by just one at the intermission, rattled off a 14-0 tear in just over three minutes early in the second half. Although Fordham put up an impressive comeback effort and trimmed the deficit back to one late, the Rams never lead again, eventually falling 80-76.

Despite a slow first half that saw Chris Gaston shoot only 2-8 from the field, the Fordham junior bounced back in the second stanza to have yet another dominant performance, netting 16 points and pulling down a season-high 18 boards for his NCAA-leading 13th double-double of the year.

Sophomore guard Branden Frazier poured in a team-high 19 points for the Rams, including a 3-4 performance from beyond the arc. Unfortunately for the Rams, Frazier’s hand that had been so steady at handling the ball in wins over Georgia Tech and #22 Harvard proved a little shakier than normal, surrendering a game-high five turnovers. Most notably, Frazier turned it over on a sluggish pass in his own backcourt with 2:50 remaining that ended a 7-0 Fordham run and allowed the Minutemen to extend their lead back to seven points after Jesse Morgan converted on an and-one.

Kervin Bristol also added a double-double for the Rams, scoring 11 points and grabbing 12 boards, ten of which came in the first half. Bryan Smith also reached double figures in scoring for Fordham, contributing 14 points in the losing effort.

Chaz Williams, a redshirt-sophomore who played under coach Tom Pecora his freshman year at Hofstra, stole the show last night in the Mullins Center. Williams scored a game-high 20, including the last three points of the game from the charity stripe to extend UMass’ lead from one to four. The Brooklyn native and Bishop Ford product also pulled down seven rebounds and dished out a game-high eight assists while only turning the ball over three times.

The Rams have not won an A-10 opener since the 2005-2006 season, when they defeated Dayton 66-56 in the Rose Hill Gym on January 4. Since joining the Atlantic 10 for the 1995-1996 season, Fordham has never won an A-10 road opener.

Tune into our next basketball broadcast tomorrow when Fordham hosts Xavier at the Rose Hill Gym at noon. The One on One pre-game report begins at 11:55am on 90.7 FM and

Listen to the post-game report with Kyle Kesses and I by clicking below.