Fordham (6-15) at Virginia Commonwealth (17-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 2, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center (7,693) -- Richmond, Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: Fordham 4-3, VCU 10-2. Away Record: Fordham 0-10, VCU 6-1. Neutral Record: Fordham 2-2, VCU 1-2. Conference Record: Fordham 3-3, VCU 5-2. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: Rams from opposite ends of the Atlantic 10 Conference standings prepare the lock horns, as Fordham has made the trek to Richmond to tangle with Virginia Commonwealth.
After losing a close one at home to Saint Joseph's on Wednesday night, 66-62, Fordham has now lost four of its last five games. The Rams have yet to win a true road game this season.
Sitting alone atop the A-10 standings, VCU got back on track by taking a 70-64 decision at Rhode Island, also on Wednesday night. That win snapped a two-game losing streak that dropped VCU out of the Top-25. Prior to those setbacks, the Rams had been one of the hottest teams in the country, winning 13 straight.
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between Fordham and Virginia Commonwealth on the hardwood.
Fordham fell at home to Saint Joseph's the last time out, despite the best effort of junior Branden Frazier, who scored a game-high 24 points while adding a team-best five assists. It was his second straight 20-point game and his eighth of the season. Frazier had a chance to give Fordham the lead late when he went to the line with 26 seconds left and the Rams trailing by one, 63-62, but he missed the front end of a one-and-one. The Hawks made 3-of-4 from the free-throw line in the final 20 seconds to hold on for the victory. Mandell Thomas matched his season-high with 17 points and added six rebounds, while Ryan Canty finished with 14 rebounds to go with six points.
Frazier leads Fordham in scoring and assists, averaging 16.4 ppg (sixth-best in A-10), and 5.1 apg (second). Frazer needs 17 points to hit the 1,000-point scoring mark. Chris Gaston has four double-doubles this year and 56 in his career. He is averaging 14.0 ppg, second-best on the squad, and a team-high 8.1 rpg in just 12 games, but has missed the past three games with a recurring hip injury. Canty also helps out on the boards, pulling down 7.2 rpg to rank ninth in the A-10. Fordham is first in the league in rebounding (38.6) and second in offensive rebounds (13.9). As far as scoring, the Rams sit 12th in the conference with an average of 66.4 ppg, but they are allowing 75.2 ppg, putting them at the bottom of the league in scoring defense.
Sophomore Treveon Graham and junior Juvonte Reddic combined for 37 points and 20 rebounds to lead VCU to a hard-fought win at Rhode Island. Reddic posted his third straight double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds (seven on the offensive end), while Graham scored in double-figures for the 15th straight game with a game-high 19 points. VCU shot 56.1 percent from inside the arc, finishing with 42 points in the paint.
VCU has had no problems scoring the basketball this season, topping the league and ranking 15th in the nation with 77.8 ppg, and it is giving up just 62.9 ppg. The team tops the conference in scoring margin (+14.9), assists (15.5 apg), steals (12.1 spg) and turnover margin (12.6). Graham is the Rams' top scorer, putting up 16.1 ppg and adding 6.1 rpg for good measure. Reddic is a steady producer in the frontcourt with 14.4 ppg and 8.2 rpg, and Daniels (11.9 ppg) is one of the most active 3-point shooters in the nation, making 3.6 triples per contest, tied for first in the league. Rounding out the unit's double-digit scorers is Rob Bradenberg (10.6 ppg). Brante Weber and Darius Theus are 1-2 in the A-10 in steals (3.1 and 2.7 spg, respectively), and Theus does a great job at the point with 4.8 apg.
VCU boasts one of the top scoring offenses in the country and Fordham has one of the worst defenses in the A-10. That is not a combination that bodes well for the visitors, so expect its string of futility outside of the Bronx to continue.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Commonwealth 85, Fordham 65
02/02 10:41:09 ET