Fordham once again failed to string together a winning streak in Atlantic 10 play, dropping an 82-60 decision at home to Saint Joseph’s Saturday afternoon.
The Hawks earned a season sweep of the Rams, previously defeating Fordham 80-55 in Philadelphia last month. In fact, the Rams have been Saint Joseph’s punching bag this season. That first meeting marked St. Joe’s largest margin of victory this season, while Saturday’s result is tied with a November meeting with Buffalo for the Hawks’ second-largest margin of victory, also a 22 point triumph.
Fordham jumped out to a quick start, opening the game on a 7-0 run. The Rams took that advantage into the first media timeout, but St. Joe’s quickly steadied the ship, rattling off a 13-2 run which gave them the lead for good.
Sophomore guard Shavar Newkirk, who had just seven points in the first meeting with Fordham, provided eight of those 13 points. The Cardinal Hayes product made the most of his return to the Bronx, leading all scorers with 17 points. Newkirk’s six made field goals and 17 points both set new career highs.
“He was in rhythm,” St. Joe’s head coach Phil Martelli said of Newkirk. “I’m happier that he played at home better, because that wasn’t the case last year. When a kid can come home and play well, you feel good for him.”
The Hawks never relinquished the lead after Newkirk’s jumper made it 10-9 St. Joe’s at 12:30 in the first half. They placed three others in double figures behind Newkirk, including forward DeAndre’ Bembry’s seventh double-double of the season on 16 points and 10 rebounds. Isaiah Miles and Lamarr Kimble rounded out the scoring with 13 apiece (a career high for Kimble).
“The fact that they don’t rely on one or two guys,” Fordham head coach Jeff Neubauer said of the challenge St. Joe’s poses. “I do understand in league play they’ve got two guys averaging 18 (points) a game, but they don’t rely on those two guys. They always have five offensive players on the court.”
Despite Fordham’s 11-2 record at Rose Hill this season, the loss should come as no surprise. Regardless of the fact that the Hawks are one of the A-10’s top teams, they are also the only team in the nation with a perfect road record. Saint Joseph’s improved to 8-0 away from home this season with Saturday’s victory.
“It’s not intimidating, we didn’t mention it to our team,” Neubauer said of St. Joe’s perfect road record. “What it shows, though, is they have a basketball style that will travel, and what that means is they don’t foul. So when you play a defense that is as good and effective as their defense that doesn’t foul, that means you can be successful on the road.”
Fordham was led by the pair of Ryan Rhoomes and Christian Sengfelder, who posted 16 points apiece. Sengfelder matched a career high with four made 3-pointers, finishing 4-for-6 from beyond the arc. Junior Jon Severe rounded out the scoring with 14.
Vincent Simone covers the MAAC, Hofstra, and more for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow him on Twitter @VTSimone.