College Basketball

Davidson Wildcats can’t find rhythm in loss to Fordham

Davidson guard Brian Sullivan, top, scored 20 points in Saturday’s loss at Fordham.
Davidson guard Brian Sullivan, top, scored 20 points in Saturday’s loss at Fordham. DavidsonPhotos.com / File Photo

It was neither the time of year nor the effort that concerned Bob McKillop.

It was the execution.

“It was a game for 40 minutes (where) we never got into a rhythm,” McKillop said after the Davidson Wildcats dropped a 91-82 decision to the Fordham Rams, Saturday afternoon at Rose Hill Gym, on the campus of Fordham University in New York.

The Wildcats fell to 17-10 overall, and 9-7 in A-10 conference play with the loss, their first in three all-time games against the Rams.

Davidson has two games remaining in the regular season; Mar. 2 at VCU and Mar. 5 against George Washington.

“There are no easy outs in the Atlantic 10,” McKillop said. The Wildcats shot 43.3 percent from the field – including 38.7 percent from 3 – but allowed Fordham to make 30 of 58 from the field (51.7 percent) and 10 of 25 (40 percent) from behind the arc.

Junior guard Jack Gibbs led Davidson with 21 points. Senior Brian Sullivan had 20. Sophomore Brian Sullivan added 17, and sophomore Nathan Ekwu finished with 14.

For all intents and purposes, the game was decided by three straight made 3-pointers by Fordham in a span of one minute and 24 seconds midway through the second half which extended the Rams’ lead to 74-59.

“Every time we tried to strike back, we got put in a position where we had to make a decision because of their defensive tenacity,” McKillop said. “That was the name of the game. Every time we tried to get a stop at crunch time, they capitalized.”

Three Who Mattered

Joseph Chartouny: Fordham’s freshman guard from Saint-Hubert, Quebec, Canada, was brilliant. Chartouny finished with 24 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds. Chartouny’s 24 points led all scorers, and he was one of five Rams in double figure scoring. His 24 points and 13 assists were career highs.

Ryan Rhoomes: The senior forward from South Jamaica, N.Y., aided Chartouny by tallying his ninth double-double of the season. Rhoomes finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Jack Gibbs and Brian Sullivan: Davidson’s starting backcourt played a significant role in the early afternoon matinee, just not the way Wildcats fans are used to. While Gibbs and Sullivan did combine 41 of Davidson’s 82 points, they also committed 10 turnovers – five apiece.

Observations

▪ Davidson’s first trip to the small commuter school in the Bronx did not start particularly well as the Wildcats trailed by ten, 21-11, following a jump shot by Fordham sophomore forward Chris Sengfelder. But Davidson authored a 12-2 run in a 4 minute and 12 second span to transform the deficit into a 26-23 lead.

▪ A one-to-one ratio is a positive if you’re talking about employer-matching 401(k)s. It is a decided negative if you are talking about assist-to-turnover ratio. The Wildcats committed 14 turnovers compared to 14 assists on 26 made baskets. Davidson entered the game ranked 12th in the nation with a 1.51-to-1 assist to turnover ratio.

▪ Along with not managing the ball, Davidson lost the rebounding battle 36-30.

Worth Mentioning

▪ The teams will not meet again in the regular season, but could cross paths in the Atlantic 10 championship next month at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

▪ For both Davidson and Fordham, home court advantage is of significant importance. The Rams improved to 15-12 overall, 6-10 in conference and 13-4 at Rose Hill Gym. Davidson fell to 3-8 away from Belk Arena.

▪ Jeff Ruland, the former coach at Iona College, sat on press row scouting for the NBA’s Washington Wizards.

They Said It

“Jack was throwing up in the first half on the bench, and at halftime he was throwing up quite a bit. We (weren’t) sure he was going to get back in but he gutted it out; he’s tough as nails. Just one of those things.” – Bob McKillop on junior guard Jack Gibbs, who missed the first 1:45 of the second half. According to McKillop, Gibbs did not have to receive an IV at halftime, but missed an 83-79 win over Richmond on Feb. 16 due to illness.

“The concern about tournament time, we had won five out of six (before) coming here. When you go (into) tournament time and you’ve won five out of your last seven, that’s not bad.” – McKillop on whether the loss to Fordham concerns him with two games remaining before the Atlantic 10 tournament.

“Really pleased with our team’s effort. Davidson is a special offensive team. Just dynamic. I thought we did a very, very good job on Jack Gibbs and he still had (21 points). They have so many shooters out there. But our guys did a good job with the game plan and really pleased with what they did.” – Fordham coach Jeff Neubauer’s opening remarks following the Rams’ 91-82 win.

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