Checking in on the… Atlantic 10

Posted by rtmsf on December 12th, 2008

College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic 10 Conference.

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This Week in the A-10
By CCT Staff | December 8, 2008

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:

Tony Gaffney (Sr.), Massachusetts.  While others may have scored more points, no player helped his team any greater on both ends of the floor than did Gaffney.  For the week, Gaffney averaged a double-double (13 points, 13 rebounds per game), and also intimidated opponents by swatting away five shots per outing, including a nine block effort against Boston College.  A model of efficiency on the offensive end as well, the senior shot 67% in UMass’ two close defeats. He also narrowly missed a triple-double in the overtime thriller against BC (below).  For the year, Gaffney has been an iron man, ranking second in the conference in minutes played (37 per game).  He ranks in the Top 10 in seven statistical categories, including leading the league in rebounds (13.1 per game) and blocks (5.0 per game), as well as ranking fourth in steals (2.14 per game).

HONORABLE MENTION: B.J. Raymond, (Sr.) Xavier;  Ahmad Nivins, (Sr.) Saint Joseph’s.

(Note: College Chalktalk’s week runs from the previous Monday through Sunday, given the release of ‘This Week in the A-10′ each Monday morning.)

GAME OF THE WEEK: December 6, 2008.  Boston College 85, UMass 81 (OT)

The Minutemen did everything in this game but win.  Ricky Harris crushed his previous career high of twenty-seven points by tallying thirty-five  in the losing effort.  Tony Gaffney was magnificent; scoring 15 points, pulling down 18 rebounds, and blocking nine shots.  UMass even orchestrated a furious rally with 23 seconds to play, coming from five down in that span to force overtime.  The teams traded the lead six times in the extra frame, but in the end, the Eagles clawed their way to hard-fought victory in Amherst.

GAME OF THE UPCOMING WEEK: No. 14 Xavier @ Cincinnati: It’s a rivalry renewed, as the 2008 version of the Crosstown Shootout will take place at Cincinnati.  The Musketeers and Bearcats will be battling for city-wide bragging rights in a game that always proves full of intensity.  Last year, Xavier won a battle at the Cintas Center, 64-59.  This year’s contest looks to be highly competitive as well, as the teams have combined for thirteen wins, and  just one loss (Cincy’s defeat to Florida State).

HONORABLE MENTION: Temple vs. No. 10 Tennessee

RPI BOOST OF THE WEEK: Charlotte; RPI No. 228 (Up 96 spots from 324 last week):  The Niners finally snapped their losing streak and, along with boosting team morale, the win over Southern Illinois in Carbondale boosted their RPI… in grand fashion.

RPI FALL OF THE WEEK: Richmond;  RPI No. 172 (Down 74 spots from 98 last week):  The Spiders had a 1-1 week, but their win was against a weak Delaware State team (RPI No. 199), and their loss to an even lower ranked (RPI No. 254) Old Dominion squad.

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Power Rankings (through December 7th, 2008)

Xavier: Holding serve until Holloway returns from injury.

Dayton: Best defense in the league right now (permitting just 54 points per game) has led to the largest scoring margin at plus 14.

Rhode Island: Loss to Providence marks the third time Rhody has lost to a BCS conference team this year (’Nova, Duke).  Have a final shot against Oklahoma State on December 20th.

Temple: Victory over a seven-win Penn State team despite just two points from Dionte’ Christmas is a sign of a growing team.

La Salle: Eight days to prepare for nationally ranked Villanova’s arrival at Tom Gola Arena.  A huge game in Philly.

Richmond: Twelfth in the league in scoring last season; now second (73-plus points per game) in 2008… without Dan Geriot.

Saint Joseph’s: Lost to Creighton after trailing by twenty-one, rallying late to salvage dignity.

Duquesne: Receiving scoring from freshmen building blocks Melquan Bolding and Eric Evans at six and eight points per game, respectively.

Saint Louis: Liddell and Lisch are combining for twenty-six points per game.

Charlotte: Earned second win of the year against a tough Southern Illinois team on the road.  Looking to build momentum.

St. Bonaventure: Backup point guard Ray Blackburn rebounded after a poor outing at Canisius with seventeen points in a win over Princeton.

George Washington: Not ready to hang yet with quality competition, but freshman Taylor’s 33.8 minutes per game and Travis King’s improving health are reasons for optimism.

UMass: Another two-loss week stung, but Gaffney and Harris had stellar games in the overtime loss to BC.  Minutemen look for their first D-I win this week at the expense of Holy Cross.

Fordham: Have yet to score over 68 points in a game; shooting just 36% from the floor on the year.

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CHARLOTTE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS: Dec. 6th @ So. Illinois 66-64    LOSSES:  None.

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 10th @ Mississippi State

Summary:  The ‘Niners halted their six-game losing skid, earning a gritty win on the road in Carbondale.  An’Juan Wilderness sank two free throws with just four seconds left to give Charlotte the lead, and the win.  It was just the Salukis seventh home loss since 2001, two of which have come to the ‘Niners.

DAYTON

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 2nd vs. Troy 87-70, Dec. 6th @ Akron 54-50   LOSSES:  None.

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 10th @ Creighton, Dec. 13th vs. Coppin State

SUMMARY:  The Flyers registered two more wins this week, but arrived at the finish line in different ways.  Charles Little’s 17-point, ten rebound effort led the offensive charge in a high scoring win against Troy, but it was Dayton’s ability to play stifling defense, holding Akron to just 25% shooting from the field, that led to the low scoring win again the Zips.

DUQUESNE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  None.    LOSSES:  Dec. 3th @  No. 3 Pittsburgh 78-51

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 10th @ Radford, Dec. 13th vs. West Virginia

SUMMARY:  Last week’s CCT Player of the Week, Damian Saunders, enjoyed a solid fifteen point outing, but it wasn’t nearly enough for Duquesne to hang with their rival along Forbes Avenue.  Pitt’s size proved to be too much for the small Dukes, as the Panthers crashed the boards and outrebounded the Dukes 44-31.

FORDHAM

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  None.  LOSSES:  Dec. 3rd @ Hofstra 60-40

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 8th vs. Lafayette, Dec. 11th vs. Fairfield

SUMMARY:  As if things are not bad enough for the Rams, now injuries are becoming a concern.  Their most experienced player, junior guard Brenton Butler, was forced to leave the game twice with a nagging ankle injury against Hofstra.  In addition to Butler, the Rams were without the services of freshman Trey Blue, who suffered an injury during practice earlier in the week.

GEORGE WASHINGTON

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  None   LOSSES:  Dec. 7th vs. Maryland 76-53

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 13th vs. Harvard

SUMMARY:  The BB&T Classic was anything but classic for the Colonials this time around, as they were handled easily by the Terrapins.  GW was held to just 30% shooting for the game, and Tony Taylor and Rob Diggs were the only Colonials to crack double-digits in points, each scoring just ten.  The men from Foggy Bottom look to rebound this week against Harvard.

LA SALLE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 2nd vs. Bucknell 68-65, Dec. 6th @ Hartford 70-64  LOSSES:  None.

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 14th vs. Villanova

SUMMARY:  The Explorers have quietly strung together three straight wins.  Kimmani Barrett led LaSalle with fifteen points in the win over Bucknell, but it was a balanced offensive attack that saw five Explorers reach double-figures against Hartford; La Salle’s first true road win on the young season.

MASSACHUSETTS

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  None.  LOSSES:  Dec. 3rd @ Toledo 57-56, Dec. 6th vs. Boston College 85-81 (OT)

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 10th vs. Holy Cross, Dec. 13th @ Kansas

SUMMARY:  It was another week where UMass endured a “stomach-punch” loss.  In fact, they lost two such games of that variety.  First, the Minutemen were vanquished by a last second tip-in on the road at Toledo.  Next, not even a thirty-five point night from Ricky Harris and near triple-double by Tony Gaffney (15 points, 18 rebounds, 9 blocks) were enough to ease UMass past in-state rival, Boston College, as the Minutemen dropped the contest in overtime.

RHODE ISLAND

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 3rd @ Northeastern 85-72  LOSSES:  Dec. 6th @ Providence 66-65

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 9th vs. New Hampshire, Dec. 13th vs. Central Connecticut

SUMMARY:  It was an up and down week for the Rams.  The up:  a solid road win against a strong Northeastern team.  Kaheim Seawright led all scorers with nineteen points on the night.  The down:  a gut-wrenching 66-65 loss to in-state rival, Providence.  The CCT Game of the Week lived up to its billing, but the Rams fell a missed last-second Jimmy Baron jumper short of the win after relinquishing the lead in the final minute.

RICHMOND

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 6th vs. Delaware State 76-66  LOSSES:  Dec. 3rd @ Old Dominion 65-62

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 13th vs. VCU

SUMMARY:  David Gonzalvez led all scorers with twenty points, but the Spiders fell short on the road against Old Dominion, 65-62.  Richmond threatened to take the lead late after rallying from 17 down, but a controversial offensive foul call prevented that from happening.  Against Delaware State, Gonzalvez once again poured in 20 – this time in a winning effort – as the Spiders remained undefeated on their home court.

SAINT JOSEPH’S

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 2nd @ Lehigh 77-64  LOSSES:  Dec. 6th vs. Creighton 69-58.

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 9th @ Towson, Dec. 11th @ Villanova

SUMMARY:  Ahmad Nivins had a monster  20-point,  17-rebound game against Lehigh, leading the Hawks to the victory.  It became apparent, though, that Nivins is going to need more help from his supporting cast if the Hawks are to be successful against strong competition.  Nivins went for 18 and 11 against Creighton, but his effort alone could not get the Hawks past the Blue Jays’ three-point barrage.

SAINT LOUIS

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 6th vs. Savannah St.  55-37  LOSSES:  Dec. 2nd @ Southern Illinois 64-48

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 13th vs. Samford

SUMMARY:  While they will never be confused with Doug Moe’s Denver Nuggets, the Billikens averaged 51.5 points per game this week, but managed a 1-1 record.  The loss once again came on the road, albeit not too far down the road at Southern Illinois.  After returning home, the Billikens breezed by Savannah State, allowing just 37 points in the game.  Kevin Lisch led Saint Louis in scoring in both contests, dropping 13 and 14 points, respectively.

ST. BONAVENTURE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 6th vs. Princeton 60-53  LOSSES:  None.

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 13th vs. Maryland-Eastern Shore

SUMMARY: Freshman Andrew Nicholson had a huge game against Princeton, tying the school record with eight blocked shots, recording a season-high 16 points, and grabbing a game-high nine boards.  Along with Nicholson, Jonathan Hall and Ray Blackburn accounted for 51 of the Bonnies 60 points in the win.  After failing to close the deal late in games last week, the Bonnies scored the final eight points in this one.

TEMPLE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 6th @ Penn State 65-59   LOSSES:  Dec. 3rd vs. Miami (OH) 68-52.

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 13th vs.  No. 10 Tennessee

SUMMARY: The Owls followed up a disappointing loss with a quality victory.  Temple dropped their home opener against Miami of Ohio in a game where Dionte’ Christmas was held to just 11 points.  In fact, the 52 total points the Owls scored were the lowest point total for Temple in the Dunphy era.  Following the poor showing against Miami, the Owls righted the ship against the Nittany Lions.  Again, Christmas was shut down (two points), but senior Semaj Inge netted a career-high 19 points to pick up the slack.

XAVIER

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 3rd vs. Auburn 81-74    LOSSES:  None.

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 10th vs. Ohio, Dec. 13th @ Cincinnati

SUMMARY:  B.J. Raymond not only topped his career-high in the win over the Tigers, he destroyed it.  Raymond scoreched the nets for 32 points, ten more than his previous high, including seven three-pointers.  The win marked the 14th straight at the Cintas Center for the Musketeers, as well as the 100th win of Sean Miller’s tenure at Xavier.  The 7-0 start for Xavier is third best in school history.

rtmsf (3724 Posts)


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2 Responses to “Checking in on the… Atlantic 10”

  1. Damon Lewis says:

    Hey CCT…when is Xavier expecting Holloway to return? I know lots of Butler fans are curious to know if that’ll happen before or after their December 23rd meeting in the ‘Nati. Thanks!

    Damon Lewis
    RTC Horizon League Correspondent

  2. mc wrath says:

    I didn’t exactly expect the world but still very disappointing so far for UMass.

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