Fordham (0-3) vs. Penn (1-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, November 19, 6 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stabler Arena (5,600) -- Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Television: None. Home Record: Fordham 0-0, Penn 1-1. Away Record: Fordham 0-2, Penn 0-0. Neutral Record: Fordham 0-1, Penn 0-2. Conference Record: Fordham 0-0, Penn 0-0. Series Record: Fordham leads, 6-2.
GAME NOTES: The Fordham Rams continue their search for their inaugural win of the season on Monday when they take on the Penn Quakers in the NIT Season Tip- Off consolation round at Stabler Arena.
Fordham enters its fourth game of the year winless after being handed a 74-58 setback by Robert Morris its last time out. The Rams opened up the season with double-digit losses on the road to Texas State and Pittsburgh. Coach Tom Pecora had endured two losing seasons in both years since joining the program, but there is still plenty of optimism he can bring the success that gave him an average of 19 wins per year at Hofstra before arriving in the Bronx. That turnaround is unlikely to come anytime soon as he will be without his star forward Chris Gaston for the at least the next four weeks.
Penn will also be trying to snap a three-game losing slide after blowing a seven-point lead in the final minute in a two-point loss to its neighborhood rival Drexel Dragons on Saturday. The Quakers had the ball in the closing seconds, but did not get off a shot and fell 61-59. Coach Jerome Allen guided his squad to a five-point win over UMBC in its season opener, but it followed that triumph with back-to-back losses to Delaware and Fairfield in the earlier stages of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
The Quakers and Rams will be playing for the ninth time in history. Fordham holds a 6-2 edge in the all-time series.
Fordham shot 43.9 percent from the field and grabbed 42 rebounds in its season opening loss to Texas State. It has been held under 37 percent shooting from the floor and pulled down 55 total rebounds in the two games since. Gaston's absence will take away averages of 11.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per game from the overall production of the Rams. They will still have their top two leading scorers in junior guard Branden Frazier (14.3 ppg.) and sophomore guard Bryan Smith (13). Frazier is coming off of a stellar performance in which he finished with 21 points and seven assists versus Robert Morris. Smith added 12 points in the same contest, but they will both have to step up their production even further to make up for its depleted front court.
The Quakers are hitting a decent 42.9 percent of their field goals this season, but it was evident they miss the outside shot of Zack Rosen when they converted just 4-of-17 from three-point range versus Drexel. While Penn relied on the backcourt duo of Rosen and Tyler Bernardi heavily on offense last season, Fran Dougherty and Miles Cartwright have stepped up to become the team's new one- two punch. Dougherty averaged just 4.5 points and 4.1 rebounds per game in 2011-2012, but the junior center has raised his averages to 20.5 points and 9.3 boards per contest. Cartwright is adding 17 ppg and a team-best 3.3 apg.
Although Dougherty and Cartwright's statistics are impressive, they would be able to enjoy them if they led to victories. Penn should be able to add another one to the win column with Gaston out and Dougherty dominating in the paint.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Penn 64, Fordham 59
11/19 10:38:53 ET