Bronx, New York - Senior Peter Sullivan scored 17 points, including five of six free throws in the last 25 seconds, to lead Brown to a stunning 69-65 victory over Fordham in the season opener at Fordham's Rose Hill Gymnasium.
The Bears, who had to hold off a furious second half comeback bid by the Rams, spoiled the head coaching debut of Fordham's first year head coach Tom Pecora.
"I'm really proud of our guys, " said Brown head coach Jesse Agel. "We wanted to play at a fast pace and we used most of our players to do so. This team believes in itself, and we played well despite having a couple of guys coming off injuries. I think we discovered a pretty good point guard in Sean McGonagill."
After Brown had built a nine point second half lead, 58-49, with 7:20 remaining, Fordham paraded to the free throw line over the next three minutes and took its first lead since early in the game, 59-58, on a free throw by Gaston with 4:48 left to play.
Bears' sophomore Tucker Halpern, who was held scoreless in the first half, scored five consecutive points to lift Brown to a 63-59 advantage with 3:03 remaining. An Andrew McCarthy free throw put the Bears back up by five points, 64-59.
When Fordham cut Brown's lead to 64-62, Sullivan took over with five of six free throw shooting to ice the game down the stretch.
Brown got into an early flow and controlled the tempo of the first half, building a 40-27 lead at intermission. Sophomore Tyler Ponticelli, who saw his first varsity action after missing all of last year due to injury, gave the Bears their biggest lead of the first half, 40-25, with 1:35 remaining. Sullivan led the Bears with 10 first half points, while McCarthy and senior Garrett Leffelman added eight points each. Fordham's Chris Gaston led all first scorers with 13 points.
Fordham mounted a second half comeback by switching to a 2-3 zone as the cold shooting Bears missed their first eight three-point attempts. The Rams cut the Brown lead to one point, 49-48, on a trey by Brandon Frazier, outscoring the Bears by a 22-8 margin to open the half.
Following a Brown timeout, senior Adrian Williams hit back-to-back treys, and freshman Sean McGonagill added another for the Bears to go back up by nine points, 58-49, at the 7:20 mark.
With 17 points against the Rams, Sullivan moved into 20th place on Brown's all-time scoring list with 1,053 career points, moving past Gerry Alaimo, who scored 1,046 points for the Bears from 1955-1958.
McCarthy finished the game with 11 points on 5 of 8 shooting from the field. Halpern scored all of his 10 points in the second half, while dishing out six assists. McGonagill made his collegiate debut by scoring nine points, handing out six assists and grabbing five rebounds.
Gaston led all scorers with 21 points for the Rams, while Brenton Butler added 17 points.
The Bears will be back in action again on Tuesday, November 16, traveling to Kingston, RI, to face intra-state rival Rhode Island on Tuesday, November 16th at the Ryan Center.
Pictured: Peter Sullivan '11