UMass basketball: Minutemen on the mend ahead of showdown at ascendant Fordham

  • Fordham guard Antrell Charlton tries to drive past Arkansas guard Jordan Walsh in Fayetteville, Ark., earlier this season. AP

  • Arkansas forward Trevon Brazile is fouled by Fordham forward Patrick Kelly as he drives to the basket in Fayetteville, Ark.  AP

Staff Writer
Published: 2/7/2023 7:37:45 PM
Modified: 2/7/2023 7:37:05 PM

The joke online used to be “Fordham’s too high” whenever the Atlantic 10 preseason polls came out when the Rams were inevitably picked at the bottom of the league. Now Fordham, UMass’ next opponent, is too high for the rest of the league’s liking. 

The Rams (18-5, 6-4 A-10) are fifth in the league standings after being tabbed 11th in the preseason. They won five games in a row and rose to fourth – double bye in the league tournament territory – after five consecutive wins, a streak snapped Saturday at Richmond.

Fordham’s 18 wins are already as many as the Rams picked up in the last two seasons combined and more than they’ve had in a full season since 2006-07, when Fordham won 18 games. 

Wednesday’s game against UMass (ESPN+) is sold out, the second consecutive game the Rams have filled Rose Hill Gym. Fordham is 14-2 at home.

“It’s a really exciting time for us,” Keith Urgo said. “The energy in here, and what we’re calling ‘Rose Thrill,’ was electric. It was a 10-point difference. We need to continue that energy, that electricity.”

The Rams are balanced. They average the fourth-most points in the A-10 (72.2 per game) and allow the fifth least (67.3). They hold opponents to the third-lowest field goal percentage in the league (41.5 percent). Fordham hits 75.5 percent of its free throws, the highest percentage in the league.

The Rams also lead the conference in blocks at 5.26 per game buoyed by Abdou Tsimbila’s 1.9 per contest, second in the league.

Darius Quinsenberry leads Fordham scoring 16.7 points per game, sixth in the conference, and Georgia Tech transfer Khalil Moore averages 15.1 (12th). Will Richardson hits 43.3 percent of his 3s, fourth in the conference.

UMass (13-10, 4-7) has lost its last two games playing shorthanded lineups. The Minutemen will be without point guard Noah Fernandes as his ankle injury is assessed further. He didn’t dress in practice Tuesday.

Rahsool Diggins, who didn’t play in the last game against Davidson, practiced and is trending toward playing but will be a game-time decision. RJ Luis shot in practice but wasn’t cleared for contact while still in concussion protocol after suffering a broken nose at George Mason.


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