The Fordham Rams (5-13, 1-2) gave the Charlotte 49ers (15-2, 3-0) a scare on Wednesday night in Halton Arena, but the home team found a way to win, 74-68, in a hard-fought Atlantic 10 (A-10) matchup.
Both teams played intense, active defense throughout the game. Fordham was able to bother Charlotte with multiple defensive formations, changing the pace of the game and keeping the 49ers from getting in a rhythm.
Bench scoring saved the day for Charlotte on Wednesday. The three leading scorers on the team came off the bench and helped the 49er reserves outscore the Ram bench by 28 points.
“We had multiple contributions again,” Charlotte head coach Alan Major said. “A lot of credit to JT and DeMario. Sometimes you have a notch more depth than the other team and you get matchup advantages when both teams sub. I wish I had a crystal ball to tell who’s going to do it from one game to the next but it’s a good problem to have. Just another good team win again. That’s typical life in the A-10, hard fought basketball.”
Both teams started the game with very cold shooting and went into the first media timeout 1-7 from the field. Shooting would improve for both teams throughout the first half, but neither side could get anything to fall from behind the arc. Fordham only hit six of their 19 three-point attempts in the game while Charlotte only made two of their 15 threes fired.
Each time Charlotte built up a lead, Fordham resiliently chipped away at it. The Rams never let the 49ers get up by more than eight points.
The lone Fordham senior, Chris Gaston, only managed to score three points but helped the Rams out-rebound the 49ers 44-35.
“I thought their bigs did a good job at crashing the boards. They have a nice crew going into the future. A lot of credit to them” Major added.
DeMario Mayfield led all Charlotte scorers with 18 points, a new season high for the junior. Mayfield also led the team in assists (3) and made several big free throws down the stretch to seal the game for his team.
JT Thompson, a transfer from Virginia Tech, never saw any of his shots come up empty. Thompson finished 4-4 from the field and 4-4 from the free throw line to finish the game with 12 points.
“The guards did a great job of finding me,” said Thompson after the game. “They left me open a couple times on the baseline and that’s the shot I practice.”
Fordham guard Branden Frazier was a big reason that the Rams were able to stay in the game until the final buzzer. The junior from Brooklyn scored a game-high 23 points on 7-14 shooting.
When it was all said and done, Charlotte managed a 44.1% field goal percentage while Fordham shot 37.3%.
“They did a great job, they were committed to driving the ball,” said Fordham head coach Tom Pecora. “They’re a good basketball team and I think we’re a decent 5-13 team.”
Fordham will travel to Dayton, Ohio to take on the Dayton Flyers next Wednesday in search of their second A-10 victory.
Charlotte will head to Richmond, Va. for a Saturday night date with conference foe Richmond. The Spiders are coming off a loss against the 13th ranked Butler Bulldogs and are also looking for their second A-10 win. Charlotte will look to improve their unblemished conference record and pick up a fourth win. Tip-off in Richmond is scheduled for 6 p.m.