Checking in on the… Atlantic 10

Posted by rtmsf on December 18th, 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 15, 2008

CO-PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:

Dionte Christmas (Sr.), Temple. Although he played just one game this week, Christmas made the most of his opportunity.  In Temple’s 88-72 win over No. 8 Tennessee, Christmas scored 35 points on 12-of-22 shooting, including 7-of-14 from behind the three point arc.  What helped him earn this distinguishment though, was an impressive 90 second spurt in the second half, where he scored 13 points – including three three-pointers which turned a heated contest into a blowout almost instantly.  Christmas also chipped in with two rebounds, three steals and two assists.

Aaron Jackson (Sr.) Duquesne. Jackson was on absolute fire this week, shooting an unreal 80% (20-of-25) from the field in two games.  Against Radford, Jackson had his best game as a collegiate player, scoring a career-high 36 points on 15-of-17 shooting from the field.  Against West Virginia, Jackson poured in 19 more points, bringing his two game average to 27.5 per contest.  He also averaged 3.5 boards, and 4.5 assists over the week.

HONORABLE MENTION: Derrick Brown (Jr.) Xavier; Kaheim Seawright (Sr.) Rhode Island.

(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 13, 2008. Temple 88, No. 8 Tennessee 72

While the score of this game may seem too lopsided to be considered for ‘Game of the Week’, how it all went down was what made it so impressive.  With 11:16 to play, Tennessee had narrowed the Temple lead to just four.  Then, the curtain raised on the Dionte Christmas show.  In the next 90 seconds, Christmas could not be stopped offensively, as he scored 13 points in that span, including a trio of three-pointers.  That run stretched the lead to 15, a lead Temple never relinquished.  Christmas finished the game with 35 points, 30 of which came in the second half.  “In the second half, the basket looked like the ocean to me.  Every shot I took, I knew it was going in,” said Christmas.

GAME OF THE UPCOMING WEEK: No. 7 Duke vs. No. 10 Xavier:  The Musketeers face the Blue Devils in a neutral site contest played in beautiful East Rutherford, New Jersey.  Xavier has proven to be the class of the A-10 once again, remaining undefeated, including solid wins against Cincinnati and Memphis.  Duke enters this contest at 8-1, with their lone loss to the up-and-coming Wolverines of Michigan.  A key matchup will be at the forward spot, where Xavier’s Derrick Brown and Duke’s Kyle Singler will square off.  The ability of each team’s young guards to create offense will also be pivotal in this game, which should be one of the best of the early season.

HONORABLE MENTION:
Temple @ No. 25 Kansas

RPI BOOST OF THE WEEK:  Massachusetts;
RPI No. 219 (Up 80 spots from 299 last week):  It was a very successful week for the Minutemen, as they not only beat an in-state rival (Holy Cross) and the defending National Champions (Kansas), but vaulted 80 spots in the RPI with their two victories.  Not only was this week an excellent one for UMass, but also the A-10, as the Conference reached a season-high RPI of seven; most of the help coming this past Saturday when 10 teams combined for an 8-2 record, defeating two Top-25 teams in the process.

RPI FALL OF THE WEEK: Saint Louis; RPI No. 269 (Down 32 spots from 237 last week):  For the Billikens, the RPI fall this week is more of a circumstance of their schedule than performance.  The Billikens played just one game this week, winning by 21.  It just so happened to be against the RPI No. 309 team in Samford.

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Power Rankings (through December 14th, 2008)

  1. Xavier: Win versus city rival Cincinnati marks the Musketeers first true road win of the year.
  2. Dayton: Freshman Chris Johnson’s 20 and 12 off the bench against Coppin State were both career highs.
  3. Temple: Enough Christmas talk: Sergio Olmos had a career high 19 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocks against Tennessee.
  4. Rhode Island: Big man Seawright is averaging 18.2 points, 7.2 rebounds per game over his last four; Rams are 3-1 during that stretch.
  5. Saint Joseph’s: Will need more help off the bench (2 points, 0 rebounds vs. ‘Nova) to help Nivins and Govens.
  6. La Salle: Explorers must improve the assist-to-turnover ratio to reach their potential.  Current 0.72/1 is last in the conference.
  7. Duquesne: Held West Virginia to 3-23 shooting from three-point range in a five-point loss.
  8. Richmond: Alternated wins and losses in their last six games; will need to beat Wake Friday to keep streak alive.
  9. Charlotte: Beating Southern Illinois and Mississippi State on the road propels the ‘Niners up the board.
  10. UMass: “Road” win over National Champion Kansas could be a watershed moment for Minutemen.  Only time will tell.
  11. St. Bonaventure: Chris Matthews broke out of a horrid shooting slump by sinking 5 threes to down UMES.
  12. St. Louis: Cracked 70 points in regulation for just the first time all season; 4-4 on the year with a weak schedule as of late.
  13. George Washington: 15 players saw the floor in their win over Harvard…noteworthy? Maybe. Uncommon? You bet.
  14. Fordham: Point man Jio Fontan has registered more assists to date than the 2007-08 Rookie of the Year, Richmond’s floor general Kevin Anderson, has through his first nine games this season.

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CHARLOTTE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 8 @ Mississippi St. 70-64   LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 21 vs. Youngstown St.

Summary:  “That’s the team we think we can be,” was the quote from Niners head coach Bobby Lutz following Charlotte’s 70-64 win on the road against the Bulldogs from Mississippi State.  Senior Lamont Mack had his best game of the season, dropping in 19 points.   The Niners, who jumped out to a blistering start,  led 36-20 at the break and never looked back, extending the lead to as many as 24 before the Bulldogs academically narrowed the gap.

DAYTON

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 13 vs. Coppin St. 73-56  LOSSES:  Dec. 10 @ Creighton 77-59

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 20 @ UNC-Greensboro

SUMMARY:  The Flyers suffered their first defeat on the road in Omaha against Creighton.  Dayton, which had been winning the rebounding margin over opponents by eight boards per-game, was outrebounded by 11 against the Blue Jays.  The Flyers bounced back later in the week, recording a home victory against Coppin State.  The story in this one was the standout play of freshman guard Chris Johnson, who set career-highs in both scoring (20 points) and rebounding (12 boards) on his way to a double-double.

DUQUESNE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 10 @ Radford 94-75     LOSSES:  Dec. 13 vs. West Virginia 68-63

This Week’s Schedule: Dec. 17 vs. Old Dominion, Dec. 20 vs. Rice

SUMMARY:  Aaron Jackson had an amazing night for the Dukes, scoring a career-high 36 points on 15-of-17 shooting from the floor in Duquesne’s win over Radford.  It was the best shooting performance by a Dukes’ player in 35 years.  Against West Virginia, Jackson was again strong, scoring 19, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a horrendous start to the second half which saw the Dukes miss their first 13 shots and not record a point until the 12:50 mark.

FORDHAM

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 8 vs. Lafayette 79-58  LOSSES:  Dec. 11 vs. Fairfield 69-66

This Week’s Schedule: No Games Scheduled

SUMMARY:  Against Lafayette, the Rams shot a season-high 47.7% from the field, on the way to earning their first victory of the season.  Chris Bethel played the role of individual standout for Fordham, recording a double-double (19 points, 12 rebounds).  Later in the week, the Rams dropped a nail-biter, as Fairfield’s Lyndon Jordan nailed a three as time was about to expire, sealing the win for the Stags.  Freshman Jio Fontan was outstanding in a losing effort, scoring 22 points, dishing out five assists and recording three steals.

GEORGE WASHINGTON

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 13 vs. Harvard   LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 17 vs. American

SUMMARY:  Damian Hollis tied his career-high by dropping in 22 points, as the Colonials withstood a late rally by the Crimson and held on for the win.  George Washington led by as many as 21 before Harvard used a 14-2 run in the second half to narrow the gap… but the Colonials were never truly threatened.  This contest marked the first time that GW had made more than half of their field goal attempts (26 of 47) in a game this season.

LASALLE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  LOSSES:  Dec. 14 vs. No. 15 Villanova 70-59

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 17 vs. Rider, Dec. 20 @ Cornell

SUMMARY:  Rodney Green and Kimmani Barrett each scored 16 points, but their efforts weren’t enough to push past a strong Villanova side.  The game started out tightly and was tied at 18 at the 9:05 mark of the first half.  At that point, however, the Wildcats began a 17-1 run that would prove to be too much for the Explorers to overcome.  Jerrell Williams and Vernon Goodridge each pulled down a game-high eight rebounds to help the Explorers on the defensive end.

MASSACHUSETTS

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 10 vs. Holy Cross 73-59, Dec. 13 vs. No. 25 Kansas 61-60   LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule: Dec. 20 vs. Hofstra

SUMMARY:  Call it a little bit of revenge for Coach Derek Kellogg, who saw his Minutemen upset the No. 25 ranked Jayhawks in Kansas City.  Kellogg, of course, was an assistant at Memphis last season, the team Kansas defeated to win the national title.  UMass made a great defensive stop at the end to secure the one-point win in this one.  Ricky Harris led the way for UMass with 18, while Tony Gaffney had what is becoming a typical ‘Tony Gaffney Game’:  13 rebounds, six blocks, three assists, and three steals.  Earlier in the week, it was Gaffney who led the Minutemen past Holy Cross, with another near triple-double (17 points, 11 rebounds, eight blocks).

RHODE ISLAND

Last Week’s Results: WINS:  Dec. 9 vs. New Hampshire 88-56, Dec. 13 vs. Central Connecticut 77-69   LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 20 vs. Oklahoma St.

SUMMARY:  Another solid week for the Rams, who emerged from the gates with a pasting of New Hampshire.  Rhode Island finished with five players in double figures in scoring and received some valuable minutes from their bench.  Keith Cothran led all scorers with 14.  Against Central Connecticut, URI struggled early but senior Kaheim Seawright would not let the Rams suffer a letdown, as he poured in a career-high 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds on the way to the win.  Jimmy Baron also helped the Rams cause, netting 22 as URI fought back from a halftime deficit.

RICHMOND

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  None    LOSSES:  Dec. 13 vs. VCU 77-76

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 19 vs. Wake Forest

SUMMARY:  While Richmond’s football team took a late lead to win its national semifinal game, the Spiders hoops team lost a lead late to drop its contest against VCU.  The Spiders, paced by David Gonzalvez’s 19 points, led by as many as 10 with 12:16 to play, but a Bradford Burgess three-pointer with less than a minute remaining propelled VCU to victory.  Three other Spiders also scored in double figures in defeat.

SAINT JOSEPH’S

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 9 @ Towson 85-64  LOSSES:  Dec. 11 @ #15 Villanova 59-56

This Week’s Schedule:  No Game Scheduled

SUMMARY:  Early in the week, the Hawks dominated Towson from the inside with Nivins (25 points), and from the outside with Govens (22 points).  Meanwhile, unheralded Garrett Williamson nearly notched a triple-double, registering eight points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.  In a Big 5 game in Philly, the Hawks lost a heartbreaker to the Villanova Wildcats.  The Hawks held the lead most of the second half, but Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds sank two free throws with 4.3 seconds to play as Villanova escaped the upset bid.

SAINT LOUIS

Last Week’s Results:  WINS: Dec. 13 vs. Samford 70-49  LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 17 vs. USC-Upstate, Dec.19 vs. Liberty

SUMMARY:  Tommie Liddell went 4-of-5 from three point range on his way to a season-high 20 points, lifting the Billikens to an easy win over Samford.  Saint Louis shot an impressive 55% from the field for the game and played strong defense in holding Samford to just 37% shooting, including an ice cold 1-for-14 from behind the three point arc.  In the coming week, the Billikens will be taking part in the Las Vegas classic, hosting two games before making the trip to Nevada.

ST. BONAVENTURE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 13 vs. Maryland-Eastern Shore 75-60 LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 17 vs. St. Francis (PA), Dec. 20 @ Eastern Michigan

SUMMARY:  Chris Matthews lit up the nets by sinking 5-of-6 three-pointers en route to a team-high 16 points as the Bonnies took it to UMES.  Reserves made the difference in this one.  The Bonnies backups were able to chip in with 29 points compared to just 11 for UMES’s bench.  Jonathan Hall scored 13 and Ray Blackburn netted 11 in the win for the Brown and White.

TEMPLE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 13 vs. #8 Tennessee 88-72 LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 20 @ #25 Kansas

SUMMARY:  In the time it took Mike Tyson to dispose of Michael Spinks in 1988, Dionte’ Christmas delivered his own knockout blow in what was a tight contest, as he nailed three straight three-pointers in roughly 90 seconds to extend a four-point Owl lead to 15 and, ultimately, give TU a March resume’ victory.  The unsung hero of this one, though, was Temple center Sergio Olmos, who scored 19 and grabbed 7 boards.  Junior Ryan Brooks also aided the effort with a his first career double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds).  Coach Fran Dunphy summed this one up nicely after it was over.  “We played about as good as we can play.”

XAVIER

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 10 vs. Ohio 78-56, Dec. 13 @ Cincinnati 76-66  LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 20 vs. No. 7 Duke

SUMMARY:  C.J. Anderson and Derrick Brown were the stars for Xavier this week, both having two outstanding games on the way to another undefeated week for the Musketeers.  Against Ohio, Anderson tallied a career-high 22 and pulled down seven boards in just 26 minutes of play.  Brown was able to score 18 points on 7-of-7 shooting, while dishing out five helpers.  Against Cincinnati in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout, Brown led the way on the offensive end, scoring 20. C.J. Anderson added 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead Xavier to the win.  Xavier has now won nine of the last 13 Shootouts against their heated rival, the Bearcats.

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rtmsf (3775 Posts)


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