by Josh Adams, @NCAAHoopsDigest
Tonight’s Fordham victory over LIU was the type of win that Rams Coach Jeff Neubauer could smile about in the press conference following the game.
It wasn’t his players scoring that gave Coach Neubauer a reason to grin though sophomore Prokop Slanina had a career high 19 points and freshman Ivan Raut scored 21 points on 7-10 from the field. Nor was it his team winning on Monday after coming off a demoralizing loss in their home opener against Miami (OH) on Friday.
It was the hustle. Tonight was all about the hustle.
Both Coach Neubauer and LIU’s Coach Derek Kellogg mentioned the seven charges the Rams drew during the course of the game at Rose Hill Gymnasium that turned into Fordham points. The Rams forced the Blackbirds into 13 turnovers that mostly led to easy fast break opportunities. It was Fordham’s hustle that won them tonight’s game.
Well…also Ivan Raut. The freshman in his only his second game in Division 1 scored 21 points with 7 three pointers. The Czech sharpshooter was unfazed by LIU’s defense as he started the game on a 6 for 6 terror. “I told him I wanted him (Raut) to be the best shooter in Fordham history.” said Neubauer after the game. Slanina, also from the Czech Republic, at 6’10” showed a decent inside/out game that could give future Atlantic 10 opponents fits down the road. Slanina hit 3 out of 4 three pointers before fouling out.
LIU fought hard to cut the Rams lead down to single digits in the last four minutes of the second half but couldn’t quite muster enough of a rally to draw even. Raiquan Clark had 21 points to pace the Blackbirds in the loss. LIU is playing hard for Coach Kellogg and strung together two very efficient second halves against Tulane in their opener and Fordham tonight. The Blackbirds battled in each and will be a tough foe in Northeastern Conference play.
Fordham’s next opponent is Tulane in Jamaica on Sunday. They return home on the following Sunday to play Manhattan in the always heated “Battle of the Bronx.”