Checking in on the… Atlantic 10

Posted by rtmsf on December 25th, 2008

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

cct_logoThis Week in the A-10

By CCT Staff | December 22, 2008

CO-PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:

Kevin Anderson (So.), Richmond
.  Anderson set the pace for the Spiders once again last week, keeping Richmond within striking distance of No. 10 Wake Forest before he and his teammates fell just short by a score of 86-79.  Anderson’s 21 points came on an impressive 8-of-11 shooting.  It marked the second 20-point game of the season for the sophomore point-man and the fifth of his career.  It also marked the 19th straight game in which Anderson registered in double digits.  In addition to his scoring, Anderson added four rebounds and a season-high four steals to his stat line.  On the year, Anderson is averaging 17.1 points per game on 48% shooting from the field.

Tommie Liddell III (Sr.), Saint Louis.  The Billikens registered two wins this week, thanks in large part to the play of Liddell.  Against USC-Upstate, Liddell contributed a double-double, with 12 points and 11 boards.  He also added three steals and five assists to help the cause.  Versus Liberty, Liddell once again recorded a double-double, this time with 15 points and 11 rebounds.  In addition, his blocked shot at the buzzer helped prevent Liberty from tying the game with a three.  One month into his senior campaign, Liddell boasts averages of 13.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per contest.

HONORABLE MENTION:  Ray Blackburn (Jr.), St. Bonaventure; Kimmani Barrett (Jr.), La Salle

(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 20, 2008.  Massachusetts 97, Hofstra 81

In a week with a small slate of games, it was the Minutemen from Massachusetts that garnered a quality win over the Pride (8-2).  There were several milestones that made this one memorable for UMass.  First, Ricky Harris reached the 1000-point mark in his career on his way to netting 16 for the game.  Two other players, Luke Bonner and David Gibbs, tallied career-highs in points by scoring 15 and 11, respectively.  UMass also tied a team record with 15 three-point makes, but fell just short of reaching the 100-point mark for the fourth time in Mullins Center history.

GAME OF THE UPCOMING WEEK:  No.7 Xavier vs. Butler

The Musketeers look to bounce back from their first loss of the season as they take on the Butler Bulldogs, a team that followed up their first loss of the season (Ohio State) with a 20-point win.  The game will be Xavier’s toughest contest to date at home.  While the Bulldogs are not ranked in either the AP or ESPN Coaches’ Top 25 polls, Butler enters the contest ranked No. 3 in the RPI.  Offensively, the Bulldogs rely on three main cogs;  freshman guard Shelvin Mack, forward Matt Howard, and guard-forward, freshman Gordon Hayward.   Offense, however, is not Butler’s calling card.  Defense is what rules for the Bulldogs; as they allow just 54.9 points-per-game to their opponents.  Xavier (RPI No. 2) will need better guard play to remain undefeated at home… and B.J. Raymond and the crew look to rebound.

RPI BOOST OF THE WEEK:  Saint Louis; RPI No. 203 (Up 66 spots from 269 last week):  After being the “Fall of the week” last week, the Billikens continued their game of chutes and ladders this week, posting two wins and recovering some ground in the RPI.  Particularly helpful was the win over Liberty (RPI No. 111).

RPI FALL OF THE WEEK:  Duquesne; RPI No. 169 (Down 32 spots from 137 last week):  Despite a 1-1 week, the Dukes experienced the deepest RPI dive in the A-10.  Losing to RPI No. 176 Old Dominion hurt, but Ron Everhart’s bunch didn’t see much of a boost from their win over RPI No. 233 Rice either.

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Power Rankings (through games of Dec. 21, 2008): (  ) = Last week’s ranking

  1. Xavier (1): Fast recovery.  Out to prove performance in blowout to Duke was merely an aberration.  Butler next.
  2. Dayton (2): No “O”, no problem.  10th in the league in scoring, but defense tough as nails.
  3. Temple (3): Couldn’t soar after Tennessee win, failing at Kansas on Saturday.
  4. Rhode Island (4): 2nd best three-point shooting on offense; but 13th in overall field goal percentage defense.
  5. Saint Joseph’s (5): Will use week off to prepare for Cornell, Siena and Drexel.
  6. Massachusetts (10): Wins over Holy Cross, Kansas and Hofstra; UMass may have found itself.
  7. Charlotte (9): Jump spots after coasting to third consecutive win over Youngstown, coupled with losses of others.
  8. Saint Louis (12): Winners of four in a row.  6-1 at Chaifetz, but schedule hasn’t exactly been daunting.
  9. St. Bonaventure (11): Also winners of four in a row.  RPI isn’t pretty (222), but 4th most wins in the league.
  10. La Salle (6): Loss to Cornell stung… but drop has more to do with success of others.
  11. Richmond (8): Put a scare into Wake, but have lost three of four.
  12. Duquesne (7): Dropped four of six after beginning year with four straight.
  13. George Washington (13): Hollis and Diggs are combining to average 24 points and 13 boards per game.  To Hawaii this week.
  14. Fordham (14): Off week for the young Rams.

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CHARLOTTE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 21st vs. Youngstown St. 100-80,  LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  No Games Scheduled

SUMMARY:  While temperatures may be dropping outside, it wasn’t enough to cool down the red-hot 49ers, who shot 67.9% from the field in the first half on their way to a 100-point effort against Youngstown State.  It was the first time the Niners had reached triple digits in four seasons.  DiJuan Harris led the Charlotte attack with 20 points.  Charlie Coley chipped in with his first double-double of the year (13 points, 13 boards), and four other Niners also reached double digits in scoring.

DAYTON

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 20th vs. UNC-Greensboro 75-44, LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 23rd vs. Marshall

SUMMARY:  It was a total team effort for the Flyers; four players scored in double figures and 12 players saw double digits in minutes played, as Dayton thrashed UNCG, 75-44.   While Dayton once again played their signature tough defense, they also found themselves generating some easy hoops on the offensive end, especially in the form of dunks.  In fact, the Flyers set a team record with nine rim rattlers in the game, passing their previous record of eight in a game set last season.

DUQUESNE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 20th vs. Rice 80-64,  LOSSES:  Dec. 17th vs. Old Dominion 86-60

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 22nd vs. North Carolina Central, Dec. 28th @ Robert Morris

SUMMARY:  Coach Ron Everhart was very disappointed with his Dukes in their 86-60 loss to Old Dominion on the 17th.  “This is the first time since I’ve been coaching here that our guys just didn’t compete,” said Everhart.  The only bright spot in this one for the Dukes was the play of freshman Eric Evans who set a career-high with 18 points.  The Dukes bounced back later in the week with a solid win against Rice.  Five Dukes scored in double figures, led by Aaron Jackson’s 16 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists.

FORDHAM

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  None,  LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 23rd vs. New Hampshire, Dec. 28th vs. Tennessee-Martin

SUMMARY:  The Rams had the week off for exams, but they’ll resume play this week with a winnable home contest against New Hampshire.  Later in the week, play begins in the FIU Holiday Tournament against Tennessee-Martin.

GEORGE WASHINGTON

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 17th vs. American 63-50, LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 23rd @ Sacramento St., Dec. 27th vs. Vermont

SUMMARY:  The Colonials clamped down on defense, holding American to a season-low 33.3% shooting en route to a 13 point win.  Rob Diggs and Noel Wilmore led the offensive charge with 17 and 11 points, respectively.  It was the tenth time the Colonials have beaten the cross-town rival Eagles in their last 11 meetings.  This week, GW makes a long trip out west…very west.  First a quick layover for a game in Sacramento; then GW heads off to Hawaii to take part in Rainbow Classic… College Chalktalk will have coverage from the Aloha State.

LA SALLE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 17th vs. Rider 92-75,  LOSSES:  Dec. 20th @ Cornell 79-70

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 23rd vs. Mount St. Mary’s

SUMMARY:  Rodney Green had a standout performance as the Explorers made easy work of Rider.  Green narrowly missed securing a triple-double, scoring 19 points, grabbing eight boards, and dishing out eight assists.  Kimmani Barrett scored 16 for the Explorers, who led by double digits the entire second half.  LaSalle didn’t find the sailing so smooth later in the week against Cornell, as they dropped the road contest in Ithaca.  Even though Barrett was able to record his first double-double of the season (18 points, 12 rebounds), it was not enough to see the Explorers past the Big Red.

MASSACHUSETTS

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 20th vs. Hofstra 97-81,  LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 27th vs. IUPUI

SUMMARY:  The Minutemen have begun to hit their stride as they won their third contest in row, a 97-81 destruction of Hofstra.  UMass did most of its damage behind the three-point arc, as they connected on 15 triples, tying a team record.  Wake Forest Transfer Anthony Gurley led the way with 19 points, 15 from the Chicopee zip code.  Ricky Harris added 16 points, including the 1000th point of his career.  In the stat of the week, Hofstra outrebounded UMass 61-32, yet still lost by 17.

RHODE ISLAND

Last Week’s Results: WINS:  None,  LOSSES:  Dec. 20th vs. Oklahoma State 86-82

This Week’s Schedule:  No Games Scheduled

SUMMARY:  Even as the Rams had five players score in double figures, led by Kaheim Seawright’s 17, it wasn’t enough to buck the Cowboys in Oklahoma City.  Jimmy Baron added 16 points and point guard Marquis Jones 15, but Jones also had a disappointing two assists and six turnovers.  The Rams don’t step between the lines again for ten days, when they face off against Fairliegh Dickinson.

RICHMOND

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  None  LOSSES:  Dec. 19th vs. No.10 Wake Forest 86-79

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 22nd vs. Bucknell, Dec. 28th @ UNC-Wilmington

SUMMARY:  The Spiders gave the No. 10 team in the land all it could handle, but still fell at home to the Demon Deacons.  Kevin Anderson had the hot hand for the Spiders, shooting 8-for-11 for 21 points.  David Gonzalvez added 18 in the losing effort for Richmond.  It was the lack of three point accuracy that let down the Spiders in this one, as they connected on just 5-of-22 from deep.

SAINT JOSEPH’S

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  None,  LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 22nd vs. Cornell, Dec. 28th vs. Siena

SUMMARY:  The Hawks had the week off for exams, but return to action early this week, in the form of a Monday date with a Cornell team looking to vanquish its second A-10 opponent in a week.  Saint Joseph’s meets Siena on Sunday.

SAINT LOUIS

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 17 th vs. USC-Upstate 55-38, Dec. 19th vs. Liberty 73-70,  LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 22nd vs. Depaul, Dec. 23rd vs. TBA

SUMMARY:  One was a typical Saint Louis rock-fight and the other was more offensive than Billikens fans are used to, but both games last week were wins for the home team.    First, Saint Louis dismissed USC-Upstate by playing their typically methodical pace and holding Upstate to under 40 points.  Tommie Liddell scored 12 to lead the Billikens on the offensive side.  Against Liberty, Kevin Lisch headlined, leading the team with 20 points and entering the program’s top ten in scoring.  Barry Eberhardt (10 points, 13 rebounds) and Tommy Liddell (15 points, 11 rebounds) both added double-doubles to help the Billiken cause.

ST. BONAVENTURE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Dec. 17th vs. St. Francis (PA) 73-66, Dec. 20th @ Eastern Michigan 86-78, LOSSES: None

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 23rd vs. Niagara

SUMMARY:  It was some sharp shooting (from the free throw line) that helped the Bonnies knock off St. Francis.  The Bonnies entered the game shooting just 59% from the line, but hit 23-of-27 from the charity stripe in this one to secure the win.  Ray Blackburn led the Bonnies with 22 points, and also added five assists, four rebounds and four steals to pace SBU at both ends of the floor.  Against Eastern Michigan, the Bonnies registered their best offensive night of the year, pouring in 86 points on the road.  Freshman standout Andrew Nicholson led the attack with a career-high 19 points, and five others scored at least eight points.  This was the Bonnies fourth win in a row, their first four game winning streak since the 2001-2002 season.

TEMPLE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS: None  LOSSES:  Dec. 20th @ Kansas 71-59

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 22th @ Long Beach State

SUMMARY:  The Owls couldn’t make it back-to-back wins for A-10 teams against Kansas, as they fell at Allen Fieldhouse to the Jayhawks.  Dionte Christmas led all scorers in the game with 21, but it wasn’t enough to vault the Owls over a sluggish start that saw Kansas jump out to an early 15-2 lead.  Lavoy Allen did not start for the Owls due to a team rules violation, but sparked the Temple attack off the bench with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

XAVIER

Last Week’s Results:  WINS: None  LOSSES:  Dec. 20th vs. No. 6 Duke 82-64

This Week’s Schedule:  Dec. 23rd vs. Butler

SUMMARY:  It was the “Massacre in the Meadowlands” as far as Xavier was concerned, as the Blue Devils outplayed the Musketeers right from the tip and handed Xavier their first loss of the season.  Unfortunately, the contest was not not as close as the final score seems to indicate.  Duke stormed out to a 22-3 lead before Xavier made its first field goal, led by 31 at the half and just cruised the rest of the way.  Derrick Brown led the scoring for Xavier with 18 points, but only B.J. Raymond (10 points) was also able to join him in double figures for the Musketeers.

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