Branden Frazier tried desperately to extend his colligate career for one more game.
The Fordham University senior guard scored 30 points, but the No. 13-seeded Rams’ rally fell short in an 87-74 loss to No. 5 Dayton in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic-10 tournament at the Barclays Center on Thursday night. Frazier, the team’s lone scholarship senior, shot just 8-for-27, but connected on four 3-points and was 10 of 11 from the free throw line. The Brooklyn-native ends his career with 1,642 points good enough for ninth on the school’s all-time list and is second with 495 assists.
“I didn’t want to go out, but it was good to be home, growing up down the block,” Frazier said. “I just felt comfortable playing and had a lot of friends and family here…The 30 points, it’s good that I had 30 points, going out in your career, but to have a loss, I’d rather take one point for a win. I mean it’s bittersweet.”
Fordham trailed by 22 points with 1:11 left in the first half. It shot just 27.3 percent from the field in the opening stanza following an upset of George Mason the night before in the opening round. The Rams found their stroke after halftime and put a scare into the Flyers (23-9).
Ryan Rhoomes converted a 3-point play turn an 8-0 run to get the Dayton lead to 55-48 with 14:30 left in the game. A Frazer try got the Rams as close as 62-57 with 12:27 remaining in the contest. Dayton, which shot 58.8 percent fro the field for the game, was able to keep Fordham from ever seriously threatening again despite the Rams’ best efforts.
“I think they just wore us down,” Fordham coach Tom Pecora said. “I know at one point we got it to five, the 3 pointer obviously is a tremendous weapon, and we went on a little bit of run making those and that was key for us, but gosh, they shot the heck out of it.”
Bryan Smith and Jon Severe both scored 15 points for the Rams. Ryan Rhoomes added seven points and six rebounds and Ryan Canty collected 10 rebounds. Vee Sanford Paced Dayton with 23 points and Devin Oliver had 17. Fordham finished the season 10-21, but only lose Frazier for next season. It has Pecora optimistic his club can improve thanks to the experience it gained this year.
“I truly believe it’s something we can build off of,” Pecora said.