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In a game that features two teams with a combined 2-28 Atlantic 10 record, the St. Joseph's Hawks host the Fordham Rams on Saturday afternoon in a battle of teams tied for last place. The Hawks lost their second straight game, as they fell to the St. Louis Billikens by a score of 76-63, while the Rams nearly upset Rhode Island, before falling 76-75. This is the only meeting of the season between these two teams.
Rams lose ninth straightThe Fordham Rams nearly pulled off a major upset on Wednesday, coming into the game as double-digit underdogs before losing to the Rhode Island Rams by one point. Six of their nine losses during their losing streak have been by single digits. They failed to cover the spread in their two previous games, losing to UMass by eight as 2.5 point underdogs, and to La Salle by nine points as 7.5 point underdogs.
Fordham trailed by nine points with under six minutes to play in the game against Rhode Island, but a 17-7 run put them in a position to steal a victory. However, Jacob Toppin made two foul shots with six seconds to play and then blocked a Josh Colon layup at the buzzer to give Rhode Island the win. Fordham was led by Erten Gazi with 15 points off the bench. Joel Soriano, who averages 3.8 points per game, scored 14 points and Antwon Portley had 11 points. Fordham shot 45% from the floor and 44.4% from three-point range.
"That certainly was a terrific college basketball game," Fordham coach Jeff Neubauer said in his postgame press conference. "Both teams really competed at a high level, and I'm really proud of the effort our guys had."
Fordham has won just two games in their last 20. Jalen Cobb is averaging 10.5 points per game for the Rams, while Portley averages 10.4 points per game. Fordham is one of the lowest-scoring teams in the country, averaging just 57.4 points per game. They are shooting just 37.9% from the floor and 31.6% from three-point range.
Hawks fall to BillikensThe St. Joseph's Hawks lost to the St. Louis Billikens on Wednesday by 13 points, as the Hawks entered the game as 13 point underdogs. The Hawks have been at least nine-point underdogs in each of their last four games, as they have gone 2-0-2 against the spread in those games, which included a straight-up win over Davidson, 73-72.
St. Joseph's was outscored 45-38 in the second half against St. Louis, as the Billikens went on for a 13 point win. Ryan Daly scored 16 points in the loss, while Cameron Brown had 14 points. The Hawks shot 37.7% from the floor and 25% from three-point range. They turned the ball over just seven times, but committed 22 fouls, compared to 12 for St. Louis, which led to the Billikens attempting 20 more foul shots in the game.
Daly is the only Hawks' player who averages in double figures this season. He scores 20.2 points per game, which is 29.5% of the team's 68.4 points per game average. Daly also leads the team in rebounding with 7.2 rebounds per game. The Hawks are shooting 38.6% from the floor and 30.1% from three-point range.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Fordham Rams have lost nine games in a row, but six of them have been close games, and they nearly beat 20-7 Rhode Island in their last game. Fordham has one of the best defenses in the country, ranking 14th in points allowed, 52nd in opponents field goal percentage, and 73rd in opponents three-point shooting, while St. Joseph's is 340th in points allowed, 331st in opponents field goal percentage, and 340th in opponents three-point shooting. Neither team has a good offense, but Fordham's defense will be the difference in this one, as they will at least keep it close, if not pull off the upset. The Hawks are just 3-9 at home this season. The Rams are due for another win, and this game versus St. Joseph's is the perfect opportunity for that to happen.
Prediction: Fordham +4.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Neither team has a very good offense, but St. Joseph's has such a horrendous defense that Fordham should be able to score some points in this game. Opponents are averaging nearly 80 points per game this season against the Hawks. They have given up at least 69 points in 17 of their last 18 games. Combine that with the fact that St. Joseph's is scoring an average of 68.4 points per game, and the total will surely exceed 129. The Hawks are ranked 71st in pace of play, so you could see an up-tempo game. Neither team has anything to lose, as they are trying to avoid ending up in last place in the conference, so look for the coaches to turn their teams loose, so expect some points to be scored on Saturday.
Prediction: Over 129