Tom Pecora’s last-place Fordham team hadn’t won in eight games, a stretch of nearly six weeks. But given a new lease on athletic life with a berth in the Atlantic 10 Tournament, Pecora may have well been showing his Rams a Jostens catalogue to pick out their championship rings, such was his confidence. The Rams are a long way from cutting down any nets, but they at least broke their losing skid with Wednesday’s 70-67 first-round win over George Mason at Barclays Center. Their reward? An afternoon date against Dayton and another opportunity to show — despite their record — they hadn’t quit on the season, themselves or Pecora. “It’s nice to be in the postseason. You see what we’ve been through. Every win is special,’’ Pecora said. “I’ve learned to appreciate that. It came a little easier a few years back for me. Right now it was important for Fordham. We’re right there, we’re so close. “Tuesday I gave them the Jostens book. I said, ‘Guys let’s sit down and pick out rings, because we’re going to win the tournament.’ Now, if that happens somebody will write a book. But you’re always looking to get them motivated and for them to understand they’re part of history. They did something special. It was a great effort game, and you can win a lot of games playing with effort like that.’’ For Fordham (10-20) it was far more hard work than work of art. From center Ryan Canty’s career-high 19 rebounds to Branden Frazier and Travion Leonard scoring 14 points each, the Rams had to claw right to the end, having to sweat as Patrick Holloway’s 26-foot desperation heave at the buzzer rimmed out. Frazier’s reaction as the shot was in the air? “Just miss it,’’ Frazier said. “He got a good look, too. I was like … I did a three-second prayer for him and he missed it.’’ He did, and the Rams had their first Atlantic 10 Tournament win since 2007, and their first victory of any kind since Feb. 1. It wasn’t easy, though. Fordham took seven different 11-point leads, the last at 43-32 on Bryan Smith’s foul shots with 15:13 to play. But George Mason stormed back, with a 7-1 run capped by a basket from Bryon Allen (game-high 19 points). Consecutive Holloway 3-pointers got George Mason within 48-47 and sent the Rams scurrying into a timeout. But the Rams never coughed up the lead, and were still ahead 67-66 with 15 seconds left after Allen’s 3. They made three-of-four foul shots before Holloway missed his potential tying 3.
Rams snap losing skid with win in A10 tourney
New York Post | Mar 13