Preview: Fordham vs. ManhattanRams face Jaspers in first of six games on YES
Tonight, the Rams will play their home opener against Manhattan College in the annual “Battle of the Bronx,” with Fordham alum Ryan Ruocco and Nets on YES analyst Jim Spanarkel on the call from Rose Hill Gym in the Bronx.
Despite the geographic name of their school, Manhattan’s Jaspers call the Riverdale neighborhood of The Bronx home, and will take on their cross-borough neighbors for the 105th time in history. Both teams will enter the game coming off a loss, each one coming to a conference-mate of tonight’s opponent; Fordham enters the game at 1-4 after a narrow loss to MAAC foe Fairfield, while Manhattan stands at 1-3 after losing to Dayton on Saturday.
This year’s Rams team is a rather young one, with just three upperclassmen back from a squad that went 10-19 last season, and they’re missing one of their key leaders in senior guard Chris Gaston; the 6-foot-7 swingman, who led the team in both scoring and rebounding in each of the last three years and was the team’s top rebounder this season, suffered a knee injury earlier this month, and isn’t expected back until at least mid-December after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on Nov. 16.
In his absence, junior guard Brendan Frazier has stepped up, averaging a team-high 16.8 points and 5.0 assists per game, and sophomore guard Bryan Smith has chipped in with averages of 12.0 points and 3.6 boards.
For the Jaspers, senior guard George Beamon leads the team at 16.0 points per game, whole junior forward Rhamel Brown adds 10.5 points and a team-high 8.0 rebounds per game. Sophomore swingman Emmy Andujar, who led the Bronx’s Rice High School to back-to-back state title games and was part of the school’s final graduating class in 2011, is another key contributor across the board, averaging 7.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, and a team-high 2.5 assists per game.
And, although he has only played a handful of minutes in their first four games, the Jaspers do have one very familiar name on their bench in redshirt sophomore Mark Jackson, Jr., whose father, Mark Sr., is of course the former Knicks point guard and Nets on YES analyst who is now the head coach of the Golden State Warriors.
Manhattan leads the all-time series, which began in 1911, by a 54-50 margin, but Fordham’s 104 games against Manhattan and 50 wins over the Jaspers are both school records against a single opponent, and they’ll look to extend both records in their home opener tonight.
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