By Kevin Sweeney
Fordham raced out to an early 18 point lead and withstood a second half push by Rider to snatch a 73-62 win Wednesday in an afternoon matinee at Rose Hill Gymnasium in the Bronx. It’s the fifth straight win for the Rams after being blown out by East Tennessee State to open the season.
It was a sleepy start to the game for both teams, as it took nearly two and a half minutes for either team to get on the board. Once the Rams got on the board, however, they couldn’t be stopped. They opened the game on a 24-7 run, using pressure defense to force 7 Rider turnovers in the first 10 minutes. Those giveaways gave Fordham plenty of easy baskets at the other end. Rider began to figure things out offensively as the half went on, feeding senior forward Kahlil Thomas with regularity. Thomas dominated, nearly posting a double-double in the first half alone with 11 points and 9 rebounds in the opening stanza. Despite Thomas’s efforts, the Broncs were unable to provide much of a dent into their deficit, trailing 42-27 at halftime.
The second half was when the Broncs made their move. They were able to cut the Fordham lead to single digits early in the half on a layup by Xavier Lundy. A 7-0 run in just 50 seconds by the Broncs made it just a seven point game with 13:11 to play in the game. However, the Rams were able to keep Rider at bay, never allowing their lead to go below five at any point in the second half. Every Rider run seemed to be answered by a big play by Fordham sophomore point Joseph Chartouny, who posted 17 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, and 4 steals. Chartouny had 2 steals, an assist, and 3 points during a huge 7-0 run by the Rams to regain control of the game after Rider cut their lead to 5. Rider continued to fight, but were dealt a big blow when starting point guard Stevie Jordan, the MAAC Rookie of the Week, fouled out with 4:30 to go. Rider didn’t score for three minutes after Jordan’s departure, allowing Fordham to ice the win.
Thomas led the way with 21 points and 14 rebounds for the Broncs, who are back in New York City Saturday for a matchup with Wagner. Jimmy Taylor added 19 for Rider. Fordham will look to continue their winning streak Saturday with a home tilt with UT-Arlington. Today’s win is the 1500th in school history for the Rams.