Checking in on the… Atlantic 10

Posted by rtmsf on January 14th, 2009

College Chalktalkcct_logois the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic 10 Conference.

By CCT Staff | January 11, 2009

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:

Ahmad Nivins (Sr.), Saint Joseph’s

While Saint Joseph’s only played one game this week, Nivins stood out by recording one of the best single-game efforts of the season by an A-10 player.  In the triple overtime win over Rhode Island, Nivins scored 28 points and grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds.  The senior forward shot 9-of-15 from the field in the contest and added three blocked shots to his gaudy stat line.  The double-double marked the seventh of the season for Nivins; tops in the conference.

Aaron Jackson (Sr.), Duquesne

Jackson has been the leader of the upstart Dukes, guiding the team to a 2-0 record in its first week of conference play.  In the two games, Jackson averaged a lofty 25 points, seven assists, and 3.5 rebounds per contest.  Jackson shot an impressive 66% (19-29) from the floor over the two game span, including 5-of-9 from behind the three-point arc.  In the win over Charlotte, he became just the 32nd player in Duquesne history to reach the 1,000 point plateau in his career.

HONORABLE MENTION:  Dionte Christmas (Sr.), Temple; Kahiem Seawright (Sr.), Rhode Island; Derrick Brown (Jr.), Xavier

(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:  January 10, 2009.  Saint Joseph’s 92, Rhode Island 86 (3 OT)

Ahmad Nivins did enough in just the one game this week to secure his place as Co-Player of the Week, posting 28 points and 20 rebounds on his way to leading the Hawks to a memorable triple overtime win against Rhode Island.  The game initially looked like it would be a laugher, as the Hawks built a 17 point lead going into halftime.  The Rams fought back, however, dominating the second half before sending the game into the extra periods, despite a last second tip-in effort by Nivins that was waved off.  The Hawks appeared to have won the game in the second overtime, when Darrin Govens hit a three to break a tie with just 4.5 seconds left, but Rhody’s Keith Cothran matched Govens trey as time expired, with an off-balance three of his own, to send it to a third overtime period.  The Hawks took control in the third overtime, thanks in large part to Nivins, and dismissed URI with a six point win.

GAME OF THE UPCOMING WEEK:  Dayton @ Duquesne. There are several contests this week which could fit the bill of GOTW, but this one is of the most interest and looks to be a very pivotal game for the Flyers.  Dayton most likely will be coming off their first win of the A-10 season (home against Fordham earlier in the week), and will then hit the road against arguably the hottest team in the A-10 outside of Xavier.  The Dukes should be at 3-0 in conference by the time this one tips as well (home against GW earlier in the week).  The contrast in style of play of these schools also makes this game intriguing.  Who will dictate the pace of play?  The Flyers would love to play the game in the 50’s or 60’s, and control the pace with deliberate offense and stifling defense.  The Dukes would love to see a score in the 80’s, by using their high-powered, high-energy offense to force the Flyers to run.  This is only Dayton’s fifth true road contest of the year, with their best road win to date against Akron.  They will have to improve the level of play away from UD Arena if they hope to defeat the Dukes.

RPI BOOST OF THE WEEK:  Duquesne; RPI No. 103 (Up 24 spots from 127 last week):  The Dukes end this week at a season-high RPI No. 103.  They’ve reached this peak by winning six games in a row, including two this week against A-10 opponents Charlotte (RPI No. 172) and St. Bonaventure (RPI No. 212).  A win next week against RPI No. 42 Dayton should propel them into the top 100.

RPI FALL OF THE WEEK:  George Washington; RPI No. 203 (Down 38 spots from 165 last week):  On December 21, George Washington was sitting at No. 48  in the RPI.  In three weeks they have fallen a total of 155 spots and won only once (Sacramento State, RPI. No 338) in that span.  This week, their lone loss was to A-10 foe Richmond, who checked in at RPI No. 138, but nevertheless led to a GW hat trick… assuming “Fall of the Week” for the third week in a row.  Troubling times in Foggy Bottom.

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Power Rankings (through January 11, 2009): ( ) = Last week’s ranking

  1. Xavier (1): Rolling along, Muskies have hammered UVA, Saint Louis and Fordham in succession.
  2. Dayton (1): Dayton drops one game during the non-conference slate, yet falls in their league opener to a reeling UMass club.
  3. Rhode Island (3): Stumbled on the road despite climbing back from 19 down to force triple OT against Saint Joseph’s.  Developing big man Will Martel played 45 minutes, with nine points and nine rebounds.
  4. Saint Joseph’s (5): If non-conference play was a dress rehearsal, SJU looked great in their debut against URI, to be fair, Ahmad Nivins willed this team to a 1-0 start with 28 points and 20 boards playing 54 minutes.
  5. Temple (6): Finding their groove: 3 straight wins after 3 straight losses, ready for title defense.
  6. Duquesne (9): Won 6 in a row, scored 98 points against the Bonnies; GW and Dayton best be prepared to face a red-hot Dukes team this week.
  7. La Salle (8): Just two true road games this year: Will be tested on the road against Charlotte and Xavier this week.
  8. Charlotte (4): Injuries abound, unlucky Charlotte has lost 6 in a row, won 4 in a row, and now lost three straight… dropping their league opener to Duquesne and then getting undressed at home by Tulsa.
  9. UMass (11): Go Figure: After getting blown out in two straight it was obvious UMass would topple than 14-1 Dayton to start conference play 1-0. Sure.
  10. Saint Louis (7): Firepower Needed: Scored 22 points in each half during 26 point blowout to Xavier.
  11. Richmond (12): Will face a couple of ten win teams after beating GW; Virginia Tech on Wednesday and St. Bonaventure Saturday.
  12. St. Bonaventure (10): Fordham missed many open three-point looks going 6-26 against the Bonnies; they couldn’t dodge two bullets in one week; Duquesne torched the Bonnies for 98 points via 11 three pointers.
  13. Fordham (13): The Rams were 0-2 on the week, but freshman point guard Jio Fontan shined once again, scoring 22 points against Bona and dishing out 11 assists against Xavier.
  14. George Washington (14): Fans can only hope that something has to give for the Colonials: Losers of five straight face Duquesne, Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.
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CHARLOTTE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  None  LOSSES:  Jan. 7th @ Duquesne 76-71, Jan. 10th vs. Tulsa 65-50

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 14th vs. La Salle, Jan. 18th @ Saint Joseph’s

SUMMARY:  It was a rough week for the injury plagued Niners without the services of Charlie Dewhurst (knee, out for season) and AnJuan Wilderness (foot), as they dropped two contests.  In their A-10 opener at Duquesne, Charlie Coley netted a career-high 17 points, and Ian Anderson and Lamont Mack each added 15, but it wasn’t enough to get past a tough Dukes squad.  At home against Tulsa, Phil Jones had a career night, recording new highs in scoring (15 points) and rebounding (nine boards), but again, his effort left Charlotte well short of a win.  In addition, there was more news on the injury front as RaShad Coleman left in the first half with an abdominal injury, and DiJuan Harris came into the game as a question mark due to an ankle injury suffered in practice during the week.

DAYTON

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Jan. 6th vs. Miami (OH) 45-40  LOSSES:  Jan. 10th @ Massachusetts 75-62

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 14th vs. Fordham, Jan. 17th @ Duquesne

SUMMARY:  The Flyers took a page out of the Billikens book against Miami (OH) and recorded a 45-40 win at home, completing their non-conference schedule with a 14-1 record.  The 85 points scored in the game ranked as the seventh lowest total in Dayton history.  Chris Wright led the scoring with 14 points.  The first game of the A-10 season wasn’t exactly what the Flyers had in mind, however, as they lost badly to a struggling UMass team.  Wright again led the Flyers with 13 points and nine rebounds, but Marcus Johnson was the only other Dayton player to reach double digits (10), as the Flyers fell to 0-1 in conference play.

DUQUESNE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Jan. 7th vs. Charlotte 76-71, Jan. 10th @ St. Bonaventure 98-80  LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 14th vs. George Washington, Jan. 17th vs. Dayton

SUMMARY:  It was another strong week for the Dukes, who have now won six games in a row.  Against Charlotte, it was the Aaron Jackson show, as he scored 30 points and became the 32nd player in Dukes history to reach the 1,000 point mark in his career.  He did so in his 100th game.  In addition, Jackson hit a driving layup with 1:22 to go, breaking a 69-69 tie.  He also had six assists to add to his stat line.  On the road against the Bonnies, Bill Clark poured in a career-high 24 points and Jackson added 20, as the Dukes moved to 2-0 in A-10 play.  Coach Ron Everhart was very pleased with his team’s effort.  “You can point to all of our guys and find one or two or three things they did well today.”

FORDHAM

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  None   LOSSES:  Jan. 7th vs. St. Bonaventure 78-65, Jan. 11th vs. Xavier 86-60

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 14th @ Dayton, Jan. 18 @ Rhode Island

SUMMARY:  Wins still aren’t coming for the young Fordham Rams, but at least Ram fans are starting to see who this team will be built around in the future.  Against St. Bonaventure, freshman guard Jio Fontan showed the crowd on Rose Hill many reasons to be excited about the near future.  Fontan led the team with 22 points and four assists.  He also added four rebounds.  Against Xavier, Fontan kept the underdog Rams in the game, cutting the Musketeer lead to just one point with 15:25 to play while recording his first collegiate double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds).  Another freshman guard, Alberto Estwick, led the scoring for the Rams by netting 20.

GEORGE WASHINGTON

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  None   LOSSES:  Jan. 10th vs. Richmond 60-48

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 14th @ Duquesne, Jan. 17th @ Saint Louis

SUMMARY:  Wynton Witherspoon scored 15 points and Rob Diggs added 10, but the Colonials couldn’t generate enough offense to keep pace with Spiders in their A-10 opener.  GW shot just 34% for the game, but were especially hampered by an anemic 21% shooting in the first half.  Damian Hollis authored the best all-around performance for the Colonials, scoring eight points and grabbing nine boards.

LASALLE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  None    LOSSES:  Jan. 11th vs. Temple 75-68

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 14th @ Charlotte, Jan. 18th @ Xavier

SUMMARY:  Rodney Green did all he could to keep the Explorers in contention against Temple, but La Salle came up shy of the victory in their one contest played this week.  Green shot 9-of-15 from the floor, scoring 20 points, and the Explorers got another strong effort out of Ruben Guillendeaux, who scored 17.  La Salle shot better from the field than Temple (45% to 43%), but connected on 11 less free throws than the Owls, who attempted double the number of shots from the charity stripe than the Explorers.

MASSACHUSETTS

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Jan. 10th vs. Dayton 75-62   LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 14th @ Saint Louis, Jan. 17th vs. Temple

SUMMARY:  It appears that the A-10 is following the NFL’s adage of “..on any given Sunday”, applying it to any conference game, as a Minutemen team that had been blown out in the previous two contests, handed a 14-1 Dayton team a sound loss on Saturday.  UMass led the Flyers by just two at the break, but used a 15-0 run over a 6:43 span of the second half to build an insurmountable lead.  Four Minutemen scored in double figures, led by Ricky Harris’s 23 points, which were also a game-high.

RHODE ISLAND

Last Week’s Results: WINS:  Jan. 6th @ Toledo 86-77  LOSSES:  Jan. 10th @ St. Joseph’s 92-86 (3OT)

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 15th vs. Xavier, Jan 18th vs. Fordham

SUMMARY:  Jimmy Baron and Kaheim Seawright each scored 16 points, as the Rams cruised to a win on the road against Toledo.  Will Martell (12) and Keith Cothran (15) also scored in double digits for the winners.  On Saturday, the Rams and Hawks played a classic at the Palestra to open their respective A-10 seasons.  Jimmy Baron scored 19 and Seawright added 17, including his 1,000 career point, but the Rams couldn’t get past the Hawks in a triple overtime loss.

RICHMOND

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Jan. 10th @ George Washington 60-48    LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 14th @ Virginia Tech, Jan. 17th vs. St. Bonaventure

SUMMARY:  It was a light week for the Spiders, and they made easy work of their lone opponent, the GW Colonials, as Richmond moved to 1-0 in A-10 play.  The Spiders defense was the key in the first half, holding the Colonials to just 14 points at the break.  In fact, the halftime score read:  GW 14, Richmond’s Justin Harper 14, as Harper matched the entire Colonial team at the half.  Following the game, Richmond Coach Chris Mooney said he was very happy with his team’s defensive effort.  “Tonight we really came out and brought a lot of energy on the defensive end, we forced turnovers and made it difficult to get good shots.”

SAINT JOSEPH’S

Last Week’s Results:  WINS: Jan. 10th vs. Rhode Island 92-86 (3 OT)  LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 14th @ St. Bonaventure, Jan. 18th vs. Charlotte

SUMMARY:  Where would the Hawks be this season without the play of Ahmad Nivins?  On Saturday, Nivins turned in  the game of the year thus far by any A-10 player, scoring 28 points and grabbing a career-high 20 rebounds, leading the Hawks to a thrilling victory in triple overtime over URI.  Darrin Govens added 21 points for the victors, and Tasheed Carr poured in 14.  Amazingly, Saturday’s win on the heels of a victory over Ball State marked the first time all season the Hawks have won back-to-back contests.  This was the longest game for Saint Joseph’s since a four overtime game against Utah in the 1961 NCAA tournament.

SAINT LOUIS

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  None  LOSSES:  Jan. 8th @ Xavier 70-44

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 14th vs. Massachusetts, Jan. 17th vs. George Washington

SUMMARY:  The start of conference play was rough for the Billikens, as they were pitted against No. 16 Xavier on the road and suffered a lopsided defeat.  No Saint Louis player reached double figures in scoring.  Kevin Lisch led the team with nine points, while Brian Conklin added eight.  Barry Eberhardt chipped in seven boards.  The Billikens will need to improve on their shooting, as they shot just 30% from the field for the contest and were 1-10 from three point range for the game.

ST. BONAVENTURE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Jan. 7th @ Fordham 78-65  LOSSES:  Jan. 10th vs. Duquesne 98-80

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 14th vs. Saint Louis, Jan. 17th @ Richmond

SUMMARY:  The Bonnies began the A-10 season in fine fashion, earning a win on the road against Fordham, as well as earning the 100th win in the career of coach Mark Schmidt.  All five Bonnies starters reached double figures in scoring, led by Chris Matthews’ 15 points.  For the 12th time this season, the Bonnies out-rebounded their opponent, winning the battle of the boards, 47-37 against the Rams.  In their second game, the Bonnies ran into the buzzsaw that has been Duquesne.  Andrew Nicholson led the Bonnies on both ends of the floor, scoring 18 points and grabbing eight rebounds.  He also led the team with three blocks, but it wasn’t enough to deter a strong Dukes team.

TEMPLE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Jan. 7th @ Eastern Michigan 67-45, Jan. 11th @ La Salle 75-68   LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 14th @ Penn, Jan. 17th @ Massachusetts

SUMMARY:  The Owls snapped a three game road losing streak by defeating Eastern Michigan, 67-45.  Dionte Christmas led the Owls with 17, but the more notable scoring line came from Lavoy Allen, who added 14.  Allen, an undeniably talented sophomore, has had what most would consider a disappointing season to date.  Things look to be changing, however, as Allen added a season-high 21 points to go along with Christmas’s 30 in an A-10 win over Big 5 rival, La Salle.  Temple showed they were the aggressor, winning the battle of the boards 36-26 and attacking the basket offensively and outscoring their opponent 20-10 from the stripe.

XAVIER

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Jan. 8th vs. Saint Louis 70-44, Jan. 11th @ Fordham 86-60  LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 15th @ Rhode Island, Jan. 18th vs. La Salle

SUMMARY:  If the Musketeers’ first week of conference play is a harbinger of XU’s expected run through the A-10, the race may be decided early.  The Muskies went 2-0 on the week, winning both games by a whopping 26 points.  Against Saint Louis, Derrick Brown led the offense with 20 points, and did so in just 19 minutes of play.  C.J. Anderson chipped in with 13, and Jason Love aided the cause, scoring 11.  On the road at Fordham, Xavier spread the wealth, as six Muskies reached double figures, led by B.J. Raymond’s 18.  The strong Musketeers simply outplayed the young Rams, shooting a season-high 53.8% for the game, and out-rebounding them 45-29.

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