The second game of new Fordham head coach Keith Urgo’s career at his dream school turned out to bit more challenging than the first.
Five days after the Rams opened the season with a 88-74 home win over Dartmouth, they found themselves over-matched in Fayetteville.
No. 10 Arkansas forced a whopping 30 turnovers, held its foe scoreless for over eight minutes and hammered Fordham 74-48 Friday night at Bud Walton Arena.
“We are obviously a young group,” Urgo said. “We have got a lot of young guys and while we also have a couple of older guys to make it a good mix, the bottom line is we knew coming in they were very athletic and play very hard and we had to take care of the basketball.
“The key to the game was keeping them off the offensive glass and taking care of the ball. That has got to be a record – at least in my career – with 30 turnovers that led to 30 points.
“I mean we had 22 turnovers that led to 20 points in the first half. And then on the boards they had 13 points off offensive rebounds so that combined is 43 points – more than half their points.
“It is hard to come in and win any game with that, let alone being on the road in this type of environment against a Power 5 team like this.”
Urgo, who was an assistant at Villanova and Penn State before taking over for Kyle Neptune at Fordham, was impressed with how hard the Razorbacks played.
“Credit to those guys,” Urgo said. “They came out and played hard, extremely hard and they played tough and bought into Arkansas basketball. We have to do a better job of getting our guys ready to play and buying into Fordham basketball.”
The Rams shot just 17 of 45 from the field, 4 of 17 from 3-point range and 10 of 17 from the free throw line.
Arkansas’ length and athleticism, even playing without 6-5 freshman guard Nick Smith, was impressive to Urgo.
“Clearly they are long and athletic and they play hard,” Urgo said. “That is the difference. The length is bothersome, but when you play as hard as they do, it is even more bothersome. That’s their game – they want to try and turn you over and play in transition. They were able to do that and it blew the game open so credit to them and their game plan.”
Urgo is thrilled to have taken over the Atlantic 10 program that is located in Bronx, N.Y.
“I am beyond proud to be the head coach at Fordham,” Urgo said. “My family has been associated with Fordham since my father was a freshman there in 1954 and a graduate in 1959.
“This a dream come true although it didn’t feel like it out there tonight. But it is. I am incredibly blessed and I am proud to be the head coach at Fordham basketball.”
Ergo was impressed with the atmosphere at Arkansas.
“It is a great atmosphere,” Urgo said. “Fortunately I have played in a number of big-time arenas and this is one of them. Though it wasn’t full, it was very loud and I can’t imagine what it sounds like when it is full, It was tough for our guys to hear us. Credit to the fans.”
Fordham, who was 16-16 last season, returns to action Tuesday when it hosts the University of New Hampshire.
“We have got great kids and they are going to come back and work hard,” Urgo said. “The goal of ours is never to hit the ball and run to third. We want to be the best team that we can be by the end of the year and I am confident that our guys – a good nucleus of young guys, mixed with some older guys, they understand we are just trying to get better every day. The goal is to be the best team we can be by the end of the year.”
Photo by John D. James