By: Chris Lynch
Postseason basketball manages to bring the best out of its participants. That was true of the Boston University Terriers in the first round of the College Insider.com Tournament against the Fordham Rams.
BU made its third postseason appearance in four years. Fordham was in its first postseason game since 1992. These programs have different experiences, but reminded all in attendance how intense postseason basketball can be.
The teams traded turnovers early in the game, and turned in a messy, desperate game early. Both teams committed 13 turnovers in the first half. The Terrier offense took control midway through the half behind stellar performances from John Papale and Eric Fanning. Those two scored 24 of BU’s 34 first half points. Patriot League All-Rookie player Kyle Foreman did not dress for the game, so Eric Johnson started and contributed well in his place. BU ended the half with a 35-29 lead.
The second half was more of the same for the teams. More turnovers, more mistakes, more hero shots, more physical play. The Rams rode a strong shooting performance from sophomore forward Chris Sengfelder. He scored 21 points to lead the Rams, and other players contributed. Four Rams ended with double digit points, with senior forward Ryan Rhoomes scoring 11 points and grabbing 15 rebounds for the only double double in the game. Mandell Thomas scored 12 points and Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year Joseph Chartouny scored 10.
BU came up with all the answers and found ways to get shots to fall. Papale and Fanning continued their stellar performances, ending with 22 and 21 points each. Fanning added nine rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a highlight caliber dunk that was a mirror of his dunk against American University. Eric Johnson played an excellent game as the point guard. He scored nine points, got five steals, and didn’t commit a single turnover in a game that saw 41 turnovers.
The biggest story for BU of the second half was Cheddi Mosely’s late redemption. With only 4:34 left in the game, he hadn’t scored a single point and committed a game high six turnovers. At that time, he turned it on. He scored nine points in the last four minutes of the game and gave BU the lift that got the team over the hump.
Fordham stayed in and made some plays late. A late foul by Blaise Mbargorba allowed the Rams to cut the deficit to only three, but they couldn’t cut it closer. They had the ball with a chance to tie the game and didn’t get a shot up in the last few seconds. A great defensive play by Nathan Dieudonne, who didn’t score a point but had 11 rebounds, sent the ball away and sealed BU’s first postseason victory since the 2010 College Basketball Invitational, 69-66.
With the design of the tournament, BU will have to wait until the selection committee draws up the second round to find out their next opponent.