Fordham coach Tom Pecora didn’t try to sugarcoat his team’s performance against UMass-Lowell. It was “embarrassing” in his mind.
The Rams men’s basketball team fell 64-57 to the River Hawks at Rose Hill last Sunday night. UMass Lowell out of the America East collected just four of its 10 wins on the road this season. Fordham dropped its third straight decision.
“We came across guys that were undersized, but I think that was the epitome of ‘it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.’” Pecora said. “They just wanted it more than we did.”
Fordham (1-3) played a game that didn’t fit its personnel. The Rams are not a team that shoots 3-pointers particularly well and they relied on them too much. Fordham shot just 5-for-27 from beyond the arc.
UMass Lowell (3-2) also forced 18 Fordham turnovers and capitalized with 18 points. Combine the turnovers, the forcing of 3-pointers, and shooting only 12-for-20 from the free throw line and Fordham didn’t help its cause.
“We missed layups, we missed free throws, and we turned the ball over. That’s why we didn’t win tonight,” Pecora said. “We shoot near 90 percent from the foul line every day in practice, and then we miss eight free throws. I’m not making excuses. You could say they’re young. Players play, man. I’ve coached freshmen that have dominated games.”
Fordham came out early in the first half and looked like they were going to carry over what they brought to Maryland in a hard fought loss earlier in the week. The Rams were able to gain a 13-4 lead and things were looking up.
The turnover bug kept biting Fordham as it allowed UMass Lowell to creep back into the game thank to 12 first half turnovers. As the River Hawks began to close the gap the Rams kept shoot more 3-pointers and found themselves down 25-24 at the half.
The second half was a back and forth affair. Fordham and UMass Lowell traded baskets until the 9:00 left in the game. The River Hawks went on a 9-0 run to put the Rams in a 57-46 hole.
There were a few bright spots for Fordham. Freshman Eric Paschall, who missed last game with an irregular heartbeat, played 34 minutes and led the Rams with 16 points. Junior Ryan Rhoomes had a strong night on the boards as he contributed with 13 points and 15 rebounds for his second double-double on the season. UMass Lowell’s Marco Banegas-Flores was the go to guy for the River Hawks as he scored 16 points, shot 6-for-11 from the field and handed out five assists
Fordham believes they can take a major lesson from this defeat.
“I didn’t see the intensity, I didn’t see the toughness, so hopefully it’s a lesson learned to these young players,” Pecora said. “Winning Division-I basketball games against anybody is a tough thing, and if winning was easy, everybody would do it. I tell the team that all the time. We’ve got a lot of growing up to do.”