As I have written before on this site, going to the Rose Hill Gym is like Saturday Mass to me. Though I am Protestant and not Catholic (I have my Irish grandfather on my mom's side to thank for that. Long story), basketball at Rose Hill on a Jesuit campus is a religious experience to me.
As for my six year old son, it was a chance for another fun basketball game complete with another free T-shirt to add to his collection, since it was "Whiteout Day" at Fordham. Of course, he had his standard culinary fare of a soft pretzel and a water. Some things never change.
This was the only game that Matthew and I saw this past weekend that was not a Senior Day game. That's because the A-10 regular season doesn't end until next weekend. I have always thought that does the A-10 a disservice, because then its tournament is up against all the Power Six conference tournaments. If they would finish their season a week sooner, they might get more national exposure playing their conference tournament the week before all the Power Six conference tournaments.
Meanwhile, Fordham's Chris Gaston, their leading scorer and only one of three Rams' players who averages 9.9 points or more per game, was a one man wrecking crew. He scored fifteen of Fordham's first twenty points as he literally willed his way to the basket, often going over several LaSalle players. With eleven and a half minutes to go in the first half it was LaSalle 21 Gaston 15 Rest of Fordham 5.
The Explorers could have been up a lot more, but both teams went scoreless for the next several minutes. Once Gaston cooled off, Fordham struggled to score. But LaSalle had four turnovers the last few minutes of the half. The Rams were fortunate to be down only eleven, 42-31 at halftime. Gaston had nineteen of their thirty one first half points.
The Explorers maintained their eleven point lead over the first five minutes of the second half. Pettis and Galloway combined to score LaSalle's first ten points. Fordham was hanging in there as other players such as Kerwin Bristol and Smith finally scored besides Gaston. The Explorers led the Rams 52-41 with about fifteen minutes left in the game.
LaSalle would actually regain the lead, 58-57 on a three pointer by Mills. The teams would trade the lead a couple of times. The Explorers would take a 62-61 lead on a layup by Galloway with five plus minutes left. But it would be the last points LaSalle would score the rest of the way. Once again, the Explorers got careless with the ball and committed four turnovers over the last three and a half minutes of the game.
As much as the Explorers gave them the game, a lot of the credit for the Rams' win belongs to Gaston. He was a man among boys with thirty five points to go along with his sixteen rebounds. How dominant was Gaston? Fifteen of his sixteen rebounds came on the offensive glass, a truly sick statistic. He was downright relentless in the paint. Frazier was the only other Fordham player in double figures scoring with eleven.
As Matthew and I made our way out of a back exit of Rose Hill Gym, where the video cable feed for the Yes Network was setup, Chris Gaston made a new fan. My six year old son pointed out "Daddy, Number thirty three had a real good game."
"Yes, Matthew. Yes he did."