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In Any Journey, There Comes An Ending…

Fordham Rams and Rose Thrill at the Barclays Center - Image Credit: Fordham Men's Basketball/Atlantic-10 Conference

BROOKLYN, NY– Fordham Men’s Basketball put themselves back on the map this season as a winning program with a new culture established at Rose Thrill. A dynamic transformation and rejuvenation out of a Rams fan base, all due to the leadership of first-year head coach Keith Urgo, that was carried down and sought out by the players never letting up on the court. 

“Every huddle was led by the players. They never ever thought they were ever gonna be down at any point of time,” Urgo said about this year’s Fordham Basketball team. “Any time that we got into a huddle late in games regardless of whether or not we were down or up, they felt they were gonna win. And I don’t think that’s been a part of Fordham’s DNA as far as the basketball program in years, so that characteristic is gonna carry over for a long time.” 

Keith Urgo – Image Credit: Fordham Men’s Basketball/Atlantic-10 Conference

Going back to the preseason, Fordham was projected to finish 11th in the A-10 Conference. Needless to say, they proved the doubters wrong by compiling 25 overall wins on the year – the most since 1990-1991, and the most conference wins ever in program history, plus the Rams best-ever finish in the Atlantic-10 Conference by tying for second in the A-10 regular season final standings. 

But, in any journey, there comes an ending…

Fordham Rams and Rose Thrill at the Barclays Center – Image Credit: Fordham Men’s Basketball/Atlantic-10 Conference

Yesterday, March 11th at the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, NY, Fordham was knocked out of the A-10 Championship in the semifinal game against the Dayton Flyers. The Rams fell to the Flyers by a final score of 78-68 as over 10,100 were in attendance, mostly covered in maroon and white. The arena on Flatbush and Atlantic Avenue, ultimately became ‘Rose Thrill South.’ 

Coach Urgo’s first message after the loss was to Fordham’s passionate fanbase: 

“I want to thank Rose Thrill, and the shirtless herd, man what an unbelievable experience they created here in Brooklyn and the wonderful Fordham alumni and fans that we had here. The energy in the building was fantastic and we are incredibly grateful for all the love and support we’ve seen over the last several months, but specifically the last couple of days.” 

Khalid Moore and Fordham vs. Dayton – Image Credit: Fordham Men’s Basketball/Atlantic-10 Conference

Graduate student Khalid Moore, who scored a team-high of 24 points with seven rebounds, played nearly 37 of the 40 minutes, and fed off the energy of the crowd. Additionally, the Georgia Tech transfer and native of Elmont, New York, recorded the fourth most points scored in an A-10 Championship game by a Ram, and tied for second most field goals made in an A-10 Championship game by a Ram with nine. 

“I want to thank the program, thank Fordham and coach Urgo for just taking a chance on me,” Moore said. “I really appreciate that.” 

Speaking of chances, the Rams had multiple looks at capturing a victory on Saturday afternoon, however; Dayton’s DaRon Holmes II and Toumani Camara were too much to withstand. Both named on the 2022-2023 First Team All Atlantic-10 and All Defensive Team, Holmes II and Camara, silenced the Rose Thrill atmosphere by combining for 48 of the Flyers 78 points. 

“That’s the environment that I feel everybody plays basketball for,” Camara described about the crowd. “You just get the adrenaline, you get excited for those moments, especially in the semifinals for the tournament. So everyone looks forward to that and it gives a boost to every team and every player.”

Dayton Flyers Toumani Camara and DaRon Holmes II – Image Credit: Dayton Men’s Basketball/Atlantic-10 Conference

Dayton, led by head coach Anthony Grant, finished as a team shooting 60.4% from the field, and utilized their firepower by scoring 38 points in the paint compared to Fordham’s 28. 

Above all, Grant’s first message out of the post game press conference was on Fordham’s season, specifically, on the impact Urgo and Rams have made within the Atlantic-10. 

Grant said: “The first time we played them, I told Coach Urgo that what he was doing with this group was special. Those guys went out and had a heck of a year. The atmosphere today, that’s A-10 Basketball, what you saw out there today. That’s what it’s all about.”

Freshman guard Will Richardson – Image Credit: Fordham Men’s Basketball/Atlantic-10 Conference

Now, what it’s all about for the Rams is the future – building on the foundation that the program set out this season. One significant factor will be current freshman guard Will Richardson, who totaled 16 points on 5-10 from the field (4-7 from three) in Saturday’s loss. 

“It goes fast,” Richardson said about what he experienced in his first season at Rose Thrill. “I’ve been up here since June 1st, working and grinding with the guys. It’s a process. Coach always tells us everyday, ‘one percent better, one percent better,’ and I’m already thinking that, going into tomorrow.” 

Tomorrow starts today as Urgo and the Rams build on their future. What a season by Fordham at Rose Thrill.

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Robert Rizzo is a journalist and co-editor of Latino Sports


Watch Sports with Rich live on Tuesday Nights at 8pm EST on The SLG Network/Youtube with host Rich Mancuso and co-host Robert Rizzo

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. William Coppola

    March 12, 2023 at 3:02 pm

    Not a story book ending but what can we say about this team and brilliant coach other than, Congratulations on a great season. One that the students at Fordham will remember forever. Now on to making this expected every year. Let’s hope that coach Urgo doesn’t get enticed by a bigger program.

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