Duquesne loses to Fordham in Atlantic 10 opener
NEW YORK — Duquesne's 82-75 loss at Fordham in Wednesday night's Atlantic 10 opener came down to one factor, according to Dukes' first-year coach Jim Ferry.
“They just bullied us,” said Ferry after watching bulky forwards Ryan Canty, Ryan Rhoomes and Travion Leonard manhandle Duquesne inside for a 49-34 rebound advantage, which included 14 offensive rebounds. “We're small up front, and they pounded us off the glass. For us to have a chance to win, we had to rebound, and we didn't do that.”
The Dukes (7-8, 0-1) had other problems, too. They failed to shoot effectively, despite a team-high 17 points from freshman guard Derrick Colter. The Rams held them to 28-of-74 (37.8 percent) shooting, with Colter going just 7 of 19.
Exacerbating matters was the fact that Sean Johnson, the Dukes' senior guard and leading scorer, didn't have a point in seven first-half minutes because of two quick fouls.
Johnson finished with 12 points but was never a factor.
“To be honest, Colter took too many shots,” Ferry said. “We need him to play fast, and he's got to take better shots.
“And we also need Sean to play better. That second half, he was pushing too much, trying to make up for lost time.”
“I don't know how many conference games Fordham's even won the last few years,” Johnson said. “It's a lot disappointing. We thought we could beat this team.”
The Rams (5-11, 1-0) received a double-double from Chris Gaston. The 6-foot-8 senior forward pulled down 10 rebounds to go along with 18 points, several of which came off several of junior point guard Branden Frazier's 13 assists. Frazier added 16 points.
Fordham turned a 47-41 halftime lead into its biggest advantage, 57-46, off Frazier's jumper at 17:21 of the second half, but the Dukes pulled to within four thanks to Johnson's eight points in five minutes.
A 9-3 spurt put the Rams back up, 68-58 with 11:19 remaining in the game.
“Our three goals were to hold them under 40 percent from the floor, dominate in the paint, and play high-low basketball,” Fordham coach Tom Pecora said.
“We've got big, physical bodies we can throw at people.”
Duquesne sophomore forward Kadeem Pantophlet had 13 points.
Ernie Palladino is a freelance writer.