Fordham Basketball Continues Return to Prominence After Upset of No. 21 Harvard

Sam BlumCorrespondent IJanuary 3, 2012

NEW YORK - JANUARY 13:  Chris Gaston #33 of the Fordham Rams handles the ball against Josh Benson #44 of the Dayton Flyers at Madison Square Garden on January 13, 2010 in New York, New York.  (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

It's been a long time since Fordham has been good. 

Heck, it's been a long time since they haven't been bad. 

However, all the negativity surrounding the once-great program seems to be quickly receding as Rams, who were considered the joke of the A-10 the past three seasons, have strung together two huge upsets on their home court. Last week they defeated ACC school Georgia Tech, and then, probably more impressively, outlasted nationally-ranked Harvard tonight. 

On Tuesday night the Rams had to fight every possession but held one of the best teams in the country to just 54 points, while scoring 60 for themselves in front of a raucous Rose Hill crowd in the Bronx. 

Chris Gaston led the way once again with 18 points and 10 rebounds. It was his 11th double-double of the season, the most in all of college basketball. Freshman Bryan Smith also had the game of his career for the Rams, dumping in 22 points, including a dagger three-pointer to give the Rams a five-point lead with less than 40 seconds left to play. It was a career-high for Smith, who had been averaging just 9.2 points per game.

With the win Fordham now has won four of their last five. That includes wins at home against Texas State and on the road at Siena. The next big test isn't too far in their future. They will host A-10 conference powerhouse Xavier at Rose Hill on Saturday. It is the first conference home game of the season for the Rams (they play at UMass on Thursday) who snapped a 41-game in-conference losing streak in the last game of the year last season against UMass.

It was the first win over a ranked team since December of 2000, when they defeated then No. 24 St. John's at Madison Square Garden. They last defeated a ranked team at home in 1978 against then No. 19 Georgetown.

If the Rams can put together a very nice run in conference play they could put themselves in position for an NCAA tournament berth. However, it would be very unlikely given the fact that they have already lost to poor teams such as Monmouth and Manhattan.

Just getting some solid wins in conference play and making the A-10 tournament would surely be a huge step in the right direction for this program, which hasn't seen success in the tiny, yet very loud Rose Hill Gym in quite a while.