The Rams of Fordham University upset the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 72-66 last night in front of a sell out crowd of 3,200 at Rose Hill Gym in the Bronx. It was the first meeting between the two schools in over 21 years, and it was an exciting one from start to finish. Georgia Tech controlled the game early, and led by as many as six points, 22-16, on a three pointer by Brandon Reed, and again, 31-25, on a free throw by Reed. But the Rams closed out the last 4:14 of the first half on a 7-0 run to take a 32-31 lead at the half. The Rams opened the second half with a quick 8-2 run, and never looked back. After taking their largest lead of 10 points, 52-42 on a jumper by Branden Frazier, the Yellow Jackets made a run, cutting the deficit to one point after a three pointer by Reed in the final minute of the game. The Rams, however, nailed five of six free throws in the final 29 seconds to seal the game.
The Rams were led by Chris Gaston, who scored 23 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, playing in all but one minute of the game. Branden Frazier scored 19 points and dished out 6 assists, while Bryan Smith added 11 points and 5 rebounds. The Yellow Jackets were led by Jason Morris off the bench, who scored 17 points in 17 minutes, and Reed with 16 points.
Fordham Head Coach Tom Pecora was thrilled with the team’s victory. “It’s a great win for the program, the university. You get an ACC team in here and you win, it’s a marquis win” Pecora said after the game. On the star performance by Gaston, Pecora said “He was tremendous.” Gaston was very humble after the game. “I was trying to be a leader.” When I asked him about the impact of the crowd, he responded “They made a big impact on the game. Feeding off the crowd really picked us up. They were like our sixth man.”
Coach Pecora was complimentary of other players on the team as well. “I thought Branden Frazier had a tremendous game.” On Ryan Canty, Pecora said “He does play with tremendous energy. He plays with great passion and he doesn’t back down from anyone.” Canty prevented a lay up and fouled a player from Georgia Tech hard, which seemed to spark the crowd and the team. Pecora also talked about the importance of 6’10” senior Kervin Bristol. “He fixes a lot of problems. He influences so many shots.”
Georgia Tech Head Coach Brian Gregory was dejected with the loss, but also happy for his good friend Pecora. “I’m extremely happy for Tom.” When I asked Gregory about Gaston, he responded “I’ve always liked Chris. He did a good job on the glass. He’s got great hands. Anything around the basket he comes up with.”
The Fordham Rams host the Harvard Crimson Tuesday, who are ranked 24 in the AP Top 25 Rankings.
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