March Madness In The Bronx

March Madness in the Bronx

by Howard Goldin
Fordham Basketball_CIT
Bronx, NY—The most important month of the year to college basketball fans has arrived. Approximately 150 Division I squads will be participating in a national basketball tournament this month. Although the most attention will be given to the 68 teams chosen for the NCAA tournament, many fans will also focus on the teams selected to the NIT, CBI and CIT.
The CIT ( began on Monday. All 26 teams played their first round games from March 14-16. Two of Wednesday’s games took place in New York City.
The Columbia Lions (22-10) defeated Norfolk State (17-17), 86-54, at the Levien gym in Manhattan and the Fordham Rams (17-14) were bested by the Boston University (19-14), 69-66, at the iconic home of the Rams, the Rose Hill Gym  in the Bronx.
The Rams, absent from a postseason tournament since 1992, last participated in a postseason contest at their home a quarter of a century ago.
After Fordham’s most recent game, the second round loss to Richmond in the Atlantic-10 tournament on Thursday, the first year coach, Jeff Neubauer, spoke of his desire to bring his team to a postseason tourney, “I think it would be a good step for Fordham at this point, and that’s something that will play out in the next few days. Our group is so close and they’re so excited about basketball that I do think it would be a good idea.”
Richmond’s experienced coach, Chris Mack, whose team faces Fordham yearly, expressed his belief that Fordham earned inclusion in this year’s postseason, “I’m assuming they’re going to a postseason tournament for a great year. They’ve done a tremendous job and I know there are a lot of good things in their future.”
Joe Jones, the head coach of the Boston University Terriers, also expressed his excitement of being in the CIT, “It’s a privilege to compete in the postseason and I know our team will be motivated to make a deep run to help carry momentum into next year.”
The first round CIT contest was very hard fought. The intense effort on offense and defense by each team led to a high number of turnovers, 20 by Boston University and 21 by Fordham. Each club only reached that level of sloppiness in one of its more than 30 games this year.
Neither team had an advantage of more than six points during the contest. The score was knotted on 13 occasions and the lead changed hands 12 times. The score was last tied, at 62, by a layup by Fordham’s Chris Sengfelder with 1:45 remaining in the game.
The visitors led by three, 69-66, with four seconds on the clock. Fordham had the ball but lost it on a turnover, which Neubauer took responsibility for, “The execution of the last play was my fault.”
Nearly two-thirds of the points by the Terriers were scored by John Papale (220 and Eric Fanning (21).
Jeff Neubauer_Fordham_MBBAfter the contest, Neubauer gave praise to his three seniors, Ryan Canty, Ryan ‘Rhoomes and Mandell Thomas, “We’re really proud of our three seniors,” he said. Those are three players I would have loved to coach for four years.”
Rhoomes recorded his 13th double-double of the season, his eighth in the last nine games. He is sixth in Fordham career rebounds with 936 and fifth in blocked shots with 146. Thomas scored 12 to give him 1,385 points, 13th in Fordham career scoring.
Neubauer also complimented his players for their accomplishments during this rarely successful season, “We certainly accomplished something. We made a step this year, improved the program in the past 11.5 months. None of the guys in the locker room have ever done anything other than spring break at this time of the year. I could not be prouder of this team.”
Of the future for his team, Neubauer remarked, “Now we have to determine where to set the bar next year.”
He expects much of the Atlantic-10 Rookie of the Year Joseph Chartouny, who scored 10 points, passed for nine assists and stole the ball four times in the team’s final contest of the season, “He’s going to have a terrific career. I love coaching him.”
Howard Goldin is a contributing writer to The Bronx Chronicle. 
Print Friendly, PDF & Email