For more than two years now, Dayton Flyers fans have kidded Virginia Commonwealth fans about VCU’s loss at Fordham in 2017.
“VCU lost to Fordham,” they write often on Twitter. “People forget that.”
Thanks to Dayton fans, though, people haven’t forgotten, though the tables could turn this weekend if Dayton loses at Fordham.
That's unlikely from the perspective that Dayton is 10-3 at Fordham's Rose Hill Gym and has won six straight games there and 14 straight games in the series. However, this is also a Dayton team that loves a close game — five straight in the A-10 have come down to the final minute, including a 67-63 loss at home to George Mason on Wednesday — and a Fordham team perhaps due for a victory after losing its last five games by an average of four points.
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Fordham (9-10, 0-6) rallied from a 15-point deficit in the second half Wednesday but lost 73-71 at home to La Salle.
“I would say going into this game,” Fordham coach Jeff Neubauer said, “even though we were 0-5, our guys were aware they lost three tough ones on the road and they lost to the two best teams in the league here at home, so our morale going into this game was terrific. Our guys are very resourceful, and I’m sure they’ll bounce back, but again, we need to find a way to get over the hump and win one.”
Here are four things to know about the game:
1. Homecoming game: Dayton played at Fordham four times during the career of point guard Scoochie Smith, who grew up not far away in the Bronx. This game will also be a homecoming of sorts for a Dayton player. Redshirt freshman forward Obi Toppin is from from Ossining, N.Y, which is about 25 miles north of Fordham.
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Toppin said he as played in open gyms at Rose Hill but has not played an official game there.
“I can’t wait to play back in New York,” Toppin said. “A lot of people are going to be there. It’s going to be fun.”
2. Old gym: Rose Hill Gym seats 3,200 fans, making it the 295th largest arena in Division I. Built in 1925, it's the oldest gym in Division I.
"We don't like to say 'old'; we like to say 'historic,'" former Fordham's athletic facilities director Mary Cunneen told the New York Times in 2014. "Everyone loves exposed brick, and we've got a lot of it."
3. Close games: Prior to losing to La Salle, Fordham lost 71-68 at George Mason on a last-second 3-pointer by Otis Livingston II. In the game before that, Fordham missed two 3-pointers in the final seconds and lost 63-60 to first-place Saint Louis.
Fordham also played St. Bonaventure and Duquesne close, losing those games 71-64 and 66-61. Only VCU beat Fordham by a lopsided margin (76-51 in the A-10 opener on Jan. 5).
4. Inexperienced team: Fordham has one of the youngest teams in the country. It starts three freshman and ranks 308th out of 353 teams in the country in experience.
Dayton at Fordham, 2 p.m., ESPN+, AM 1290 and News 95.7 WHIO
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