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FORDHAM COMES FROM BEHIND TO DEFEAT MONMOUTH, 82-71

Courtesy: Monmouth Sports Information
         
Release: December 31, 2012
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BRONX, N.Y.- The Atlantic-10's Fordham University (4-10) hit nine three pointers, including seven in the second frame, to overcome a second-half deficit and defeat Monmouth University (5-8), 82-71 Tuesday evening at Rose Hill Gym.

"We play for twenty minutes, we have to get tough enough to be able to play for forty minutes," said MU Head Coach King Rice. "Our kids aren't believing right now, that's my job to get them to believe and I gotta do a better job of that. We turned them over in the first half and then our guys relax.  In the second half they scored 55 points, our guys need to understand that teams are not going to stop playing against us. They are going to keep coming and we have to keep playing too."

Preseason All-A10 selection Chris Gaston led all scorers with 19 points and 10 rebounds while sophomore guard Bryan Smith had 18 points, including 12 from beyond the arc in the win.

MU senior Jesse Steele (Milford, N.J./Oak Hill Academy/Army) led the Hawks with 13 points, while Stephen Spinella (Colts Neck, N.J./South Carolina) and Andrew Nicholas (Wrightsville, Pa./Eastern York) had 12 and 10, respectively. Spinella was also the Hawks' leading rebounder with seven in the contest.

After Monmouth had built a five point halftime lead, Fordham tied the game up 40-40 on a Gaston layup at the 14:51 mark of the second half. The Rams then took the lead on a Gaston free throw on the next Ram possession, their first leadsince late in the first half. The Ram advantaged ballooned to six before Khalil Brown (South Orange, N.J./Westwind Academy) drilled a trey to put the Hawks back 46-43. Spinella cut it to one with a layup but Fordham heated up from beyond the arc to keep ahead of the Hawks, going up by seven when Bryan Smith hit his fourth of the game with just under nine minutes to play.

Monmouth closed to within nine late on a Steele three pointer but it wasn't enough as the Hawks eventually fell by 11.

The game opened with a back and forth affair that saw five lead changes including Nicholas' first three pointer of the game gave the Hawks a 8-7 lead four minutes into the game.  Fordham answered by launching a 10-0 run over the next three minutes to go in front 17-8 with 13:45 to play in the first half. Down by seven coming out of the second media timeout, MU went on a 7-2 run to close the Ram lead to 19-17 with 9:10 showing on the clock.

Ed Waite's layup at 3:13 gave Monmouth a 27-26 advantage, the Hawks' first lead since the 16:02 mark. Waite was fouled on the play and converted the traditional three-point play just moments after forward Stephen Spinella completed one of his own to cut the Ram lead to one. The Hawks closed out the half with a 6-2 run, taking a 33-28 lead into the break.

The game was the final non-conference matchup for the Hawks, who are now 1-3 all-time against the Rams.

MU's defense forced Fordham into 19 turnovers, 14 of which came in the first half. The Rams shot 47% from the floor (including 9-of-19 shooting from beyond the arc) while Mu was 24-of-64 from the field (37%) but committed just five turnovers in each half. Fordham held a 51-30 advantage on the glass.

Monmouth will open up Northeast Conference play against rival Wagner at 7 p.m. on January 3 in Staten Island.
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