(Photos by Gary Quintal)
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 27- On Tuesday night, for the 106th time, the men’s basketball teams of Fordham University (3-2) and Manhattan College (3-2) met at Draddy Gymnasium on the campus of Manhattan to achieve bragging rights by winning the Battle of the Bronx. The competitiveness that evening reflected the meaning of the rivalry to both schools.
Of the rivalry, Fordham senior Brendan Frazier commented, “It means a lot. It has a long history. The game has been going on a long time before my time.”
The outcome of the contest was not decided until the final minute of action. A basket and a free throw by George Beamon accounted for the final advantage for the Jaspers with about two minutes remaining. The first tie of the second half and fifth of the game came with 1:39 on the clock as Fordham senior Branden Frazier netted two free throws to knot the score at 73. The senior sunk the next basket to give the Rams an advantage that they never relinquished.
The visitors controlled the action during the early minutes and achieved the largest lead of the game, 20-9, on a 3-pointer by freshman Jon Severe. Frazier fed the ball to his teammates quite effectively at first, achieving five assists in the first nine minute. After the game, Frazier commented, “As a sophomore I felt I had to do everything, but now I feel the pressure has lifted.”
The Fordham lead lessened as the period continued but the first half ended with Manhattan trailing, 42-39. There were three major contributors to scoring the 42-Severe-22, sophomore Mandell Thomas-12 and Frazier-6. Manhattan’s major weapon, George Beamon, entering the contest with a 28 points per game average, only sunk one of nine shots from the floor in the half.
Beamon’s effectiveness greatly improved in the second half, and Fordham’s shooting from the floor declined. A 3 by Beamon at 16:39 gave the Jaspers their first lead of the second half, 51-49.
Despite several of Fordham’s starters playing with four fouls, the defense was sufficiently effective to protect the lead without anyone fouling out.
Severe, with his college high, led the scoring with 30. Frazier scored 21, moving him into 19th place in career scoring at Fordham with 1,186. Thomas reached a double-double, 17 points and 11 rebounds. Travion Leonard and Ryan Rhoomes, the only bigs on the Rams at 6-6, again played effectively on defense and off the boards.
Beamon also achieved a double-double, scoring 24 and grabbing 11 boards. Rhamel Brown had great night before fouling out late in the game. He scored 12, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked an incredible nine shots.
After the contest ended, Coach Tom Pecora of Fordham spoke words of tribute to his team’s opponent, “They (the Jaspers) have a great balance. They’re just a good basketball team.”
The next game for each team will be at home; Manhattan will host Monmouth on December 8 and Fordham will host Furman on December 4.
Tags: Fordham, Manhattan College, Jaspers, Battle of the Bronx