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November 9, 2013

Fordham's Severe erupts as HS teammates battle





BRONX, NY - It did not take long for Jon Severe to announce his arrival at Rose Hill. In fact, the Brooklyn native won the Fordham faithful over before the end of his first regular season game for the Rams.

As the chants of "he's a freshman" and "Jon Severe [clap, clap, clap]" echoed through the gymnasium, the Christ the King product and reigning Mr. New York Basketball boldly displayed that the future is now at Fordham.

Starting in his first ever regular-season collegiate game and with Christ the King players and coaches in attendance, Severe scored a Fordham freshman record 28 points on 9-of-15 shooting including a red-hot 7-of-10 from beyond the arc in the Rams' 87-67 win over St. Francis.

"It was great," Severe said of his debut. "I've just been getting more shots [in practice]. I just wanted to come out and have a good shooting night."

Severe was not the only former Christ the King star playing in his first college game. Severe's partner-in-crime in the Royals' starting backcourt last season, Malik Harmon, also earned a start for Rob Krimmel and the St. Francis Red Flash.

"[Playing against Harmon] was good," Severe said. "The whole [Christ the King] team was there so it was great."

While Severe's night was something of a basketball fairytale, Harmon's was a little more difficult. The 5-foot-11 point guard struggled offensively, missing both of his field goal attempts and scoring just five points in 23 minutes.

Harmon was continually hounded by senior guard Brandon Frazier on both sides of the floor while Severe, standing at 6-foot-3, matched up against the much smaller Dominique Major. Harmon's first points of the game came when he converted the second of two free throws with 16:50 to play in the second half.

Unfortunately for Harmon and the Red Flash, by the time he was able to get on the board, Severe had ignited and the Rams had opened up at 23-point lead. Severe opened up the second half for Fordham by hitting three consecutive 3-pointers as part of a 12-1 run.

"When you're shooting the ball as well as Jon (Severe) was...It's a great weapon, and the advantage of playing the way we're playing is we have four guys on the floor that can make shots and shoot the ball, so I was happy with that," Fordham head coach Tom Pecora said.

After Severe's flurry of treys, the Red Flash began to double the freshman guard and hound him defensively, something more teams will look to do if his season debut is any indicator of the king of player he will be.

"He obviously is a huge weapon," Pecora said. "The great thing about it now is that people are going to see this tape and its going to force him to work tremendously hard because [other teams] are going to put their best defenders on him every time."

Despite the record-setting night Pecora tried to keep Severe grounded.

"Every night isn't going to be like this, but I hope many are," Pecora said to Severe after the game. "He's got a lot of growing up to do, but that's typical of any freshman."

Pecora also praised Harmon, who the fourth year coach admitted got a look from the A-10 school.

"He's going to be a good player for [St. Francis]," Pecora said. "We were trying to decide if we needed to bring in a freshman point guard to be a part of this. I like Malik, he's a great player, he works hard."

Again, similar to his performance in the exhibition game against Northwood, Severe struggled at times keeping up with the speed of the game. During one particular stretch in the second half, Severe forced passes on back-to-back possessions, leading to turnovers and five fastbreak points for the Red Flash.

"Coach was telling me I was trying to over-pass," Severe said. "He said everyone knew I was going to pass the ball. He told me to just play ball because I felt like I was taking too many shots and I wanted to get my teammates involved."

Severe won't get to rest on his laurels long, however, as Fordham travels to the Carrier Dome on Nov. 12 to play No. 8 Syracuse.


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