Checking in on the… Atlantic 10

Posted by rtmsf on January 21st, 2009

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

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By CCT Staff | January 19, 2009

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:

Dionte Christmas (Sr.), Temple

Christmas led the Owls in scoring both games last week, averaging 25.5 points and nine rebounds per contest.  In the seven day span, Christmas shot 9-of-17 (53%) from behind the arc, including a 5-for-5 night from deep in a Big 5 battle versus Penn.  Against UMass, Christmas had a near double-double as he tallied 26 points and nine rebounds.  Overall, Dionte shot a sparkling 58% from the field on 19-of-33 shooting.   

HONORABLE MENTION:  Ahmad Nivins (Sr.), Saint Joseph’s; Rob Lowery (Jr.), Dayton; Maurice Thomas (Jr.) St. Bonaventure

(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 17, 2009.  St. Bonaventure 71, Richmond 67.  With 2:55 to play, the Bonnies trailed the Spiders by seven and it looked as though SBU would suffer their first road loss of the season.  Last season, this surely would have been the case.  Not so fast in 2009.  The Bonnies rattled off the final 11 points over that span and made big defensive stops on the way to record their seventh road win of the year.  To put this in perspective, St. Bonaventure won eight games all of last season, let alone road games.  The star of the night for the Bonnies was Maurice Thomas, who recorded his fourth double-double of the season by netting a career-high 25 points and pulling down a game-high 11 boards.      

GAME OF THE UPCOMING WEEK:  Xavier @ LSU.  In Xavier’s last non-conference game of the season, the Musketeers head south to the Bayou to take on the Tigers of LSU in what should be a very entertaining match-up.  Xavier will not be welcomed guests when they arrive in Baton Rouge, as LSU is 13-0 at home on the season.  Xavier is 4-0 in true road contests, however, so something will have to give.   The Tigers (14-3) are led by guard Marcus Thornton (17.6 ppg) and forward Tasmin Mitchell (15.2 ppg).  Derrick Brown, B.J. Raymond & Co. should have their hands full with these two.     

RPI BOOST OF THE WEEK:  La Salle;  RPI No. 134 (Up 20 spots from 154 last week):  La Salle went 1-1 on the week, and the win they pocketed wasn’t the reason for their ascension.  The victory… over RPI No. 201 Charlotte.  The loss against RPI No. 5 Xavier.  Credit the Musketeers for assisting the Explorers in capturing the Boost of the Week.

RPI FALL OF THE WEEK:  Charlotte;  RPI No. 201 (Down 29 spots from 172 last week):  The battered Niners dropped two contests this week to RPI No. 78 St. Joe’s and RPI No. 134 La Salle.  While the losses came against quality competition, it was a two-loss week nonetheless, resulting in Charlotte’s dive.

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Power Rankings (through games of Jan. 18, 2009): ( ) = Last week’s ranking

  1. Xavier (1): No surprise, X is top three in the league in both scoring offense as well as scoring defense.
  2. Dayton (2): Scoring is up seven-plus points a game after loss to UMass; junior Rob Lowery (7.8 ppg) is one reason why; averaging 15 points in those two games.
  3. Saint Joseph’s (4): Sharing the ball extremely well (15.2 assists per game): 21 helpers on 23 field goals against Charlotte, an incredible stat.
  4. Duquesne (6): Clash at Saint Joseph’s (3-0) on Wednesday will be for second place in the league.
  5. Rhode Island (3): A Tom Petty stretch for Rhody; dropped a “Heartbreaker” to Xavier after a triple overtime loss to Saint Joseph’s.
  6. Temple (5): After three wins in a row, ran into a UMass team doing everything possible to keep this league at one or two bids (downed Dayton, Temple).
  7. Saint Louis (10): True to form, SLU has used great “D” to start 2-1 in the league, 61 points per game against in wins over GW and UMass.
  8. UMass (9): Eleven three balls including four from Ricky Harris helped UMass torch Temple to earn another nice win for the Minutemen in league play.
  9. St. Bonaventure (12): Road Warriors? Only Xavier (4-0) can boast being unbeaten on the road like the Bonnies (7-0), who won six road games in the previous four years combined.
  10. La Salle (7): Rodney Green has scored in double figures in eleven straight, but the Explorers need Vernon Goodridge (7.5 ppg) to get going a bit inside.
  11. Charlotte (8): Lamont Mack hit La Salle up for 23 pts and 9 boards and then Saint Joseph’s for the exact same totals Sunday, but the ‘Niners still went winless on the week.
  12. Richmond (11):  Two kinds of losses: UR was blown out by Virginia Tech on the road and, back home, blew a seven point lead with 2:55 to play to St. Bonaventure.
  13. George Washington (14): Tough week for GW.  Showed fight and improved play, but losing streak hit seven – dropping two league games (DUQ, SLU) by a combined nine points.  Dayton next.
  14. Fordham (13): Jio Who? – Fellow freshman guard Alberto Estwick has scored 20, 17 and 19 points in Fordham’s last three games, trying to keep pace with his point guard Fontan.

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CHARLOTTE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  None    LOSSES:  Jan. 14th vs. La Salle 68-61, Jan. 18th @ Saint Joseph’s 78-69

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 21st vs. Massachusetts, Jan. 24th @ Temple

SUMMARY:  It was another rough week for the Niners with two dropped contests.  In a home loss to La Salle, Lamont Mack scored a season-high 23 points, but it wasn’t enough.  Charlotte was absolutely dominated on the glass, as the Explorers doubled up the Niners, 50-25 on the boards.  The ‘Niners also struggled from deep, shooting just 4-of-21 from three-point range.  At Saint Joe’s, Mack again poured in 23 points, but Charlotte again fell shy.  Charlotte’s team shooting has been poor as of late.  The 38% effort against the Hawks was the fourth straight game the 49ers shot under 40%, all losses.

DAYTON

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Jan. 14th vs. Fordham 72-71, Jan. 17th @ Duquesne 78-69   LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 22nd @ George Washington, Jan. 25th vs. St. Bonaventure

SUMMARY:  The Flyers received quite a scare against Fordham, but Rob Lowery’s driving layup with five seconds to go was the difference as Dayton held on for a one-point win over the Rams.  Lowery (13 points) led the Flyer offense, and Marcus Johnson (12 points) and Charles Little (11 points) also reached double figures.  Dayton stepped up its effort later in the week in a win over then A-10 co-leader, Duquesne.  Five Flyers registered double-digits in scoring, led by Rob Lowery’s team-high 16 points.  The high-flying Flyers set a single-season dunks record in this game, recording their 61st dunk of the year. 

DUQUESNE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Jan. 14th vs. George Washington 88-83   LOSSES:  Jan. 17th vs. Dayton 78-69

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 21st @ Saint Joseph’s, Jan. 24th @ Fordham

SUMMARY:  The Dukes started 3-0 in the A-10 for the first time in school history, defeating George Washington.  Five Dukes scored in double figures, led by Melquan Bolding’s season-high 26 point effort.  Duquesne trailed for most of this one, down as much as 11 with just over 10 minutes to play, but rallied for the win.  The Dukes, however, had their seven-game winning streak snapped against Dayton in their next contest.  Aaron Jackson was not in full fitness (bruised tailbone), but still gutted it out to score 18.  Bill Clark led all Dukes by tallying 19 points in the tough loss. 

FORDHAM

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  None   LOSSES:  Jan. 14th @ Dayton 72-71, Jan. 18th @ Rhode Island 98-67

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 25th vs. Duquesne

SUMMARY:  The Rams came up just short in their bid to post the league’s biggest upset of the year, falling to Dayton at UD Arena by a point.  Freshman Alberto Estwick led the Rams with 17 points and fellow freshman Jio Fontan added 15.  Fordham found its range in this game as well, shooting 11-for-25 from deep.  At URI, Fordham was on the wrong end of a beating, losing by 31.  Again, Fordham’s fab freshmen gave Ram fans reason to be excited about the future, as Estwick led Fordham with 19 points and Fontan chipped in with 17 points and seven assists.  The loss was Fordham’s seventh straight setback.   

GEORGE WASHINGTON

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  None   LOSSES:  Jan. 14th @ Duquesne 88-83, Jan. 17th @ Saint Louis 63-59

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 22nd vs. Dayton, Jan. 25th vs. Rhode Island

SUMMARY:  The Colonials had one of their best offensive performances of the year against Duquesne, but could not stop the skid.  GW shot a remarkable 64% from the field and hit 8-of-10 three pointers, led by Rob Diggs who scored 25 points.  The losing streak reached seven games later in the week as GW fell to Saint Louis at Chaifetz Arena.  Wynton Witherspoon led the Colonials with 15 points and seven boards.  Again, GW held the lead most of the way before being overtaken late in the second half.

LA SALLE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Jan. 14th @ Charlotte 68-61    LOSSES:  Jan. 18th @ Xavier 73-53

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 21st vs. Penn, Jan. 24 @ Massachusetts

SUMMARY:  The Explorers had no trouble hitting the glass against Charlotte, outrebounding the Niners 50-25 on their way to a road win.  Five different La Salle players reached double figures, led by Ruben Guillandeaux’s 14 (including a late game-clinching three).  Terrell Williams added a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.  The Explorers found the going a bit tougher against Xavier as they lost by 20.  Yves Mekongo-Mbala and Rodney Green each scored 15 in the losing effort.  The Explorers couldn’t find the net from deep in this one, shooting just 3-of-16 from behind the arc.

MASSACHUSETTS

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Jan. 17th vs. Temple 79-75   LOSSES:  Jan. 17th @ Saint Louis 69-64

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 21st @ Charlotte, Jan. 24th vs. La Salle

SUMMARY:  The enigmatic Minutemen continued their up-and-down play, going 1-1 on the week.  Against Saint Louis, Chris Lowe led all scorers by pouring in 21 on 10-of-16 shooting from the field.  Ricky Harris went 4-of-6 from three point range as he scored 18 in the loss.  In their return to Amherst, the Minutemen rallied late to beat the Owls.  It was Harris who led the offense this time, as he dropped 24 points on Temple.  Chris Lowe recorded his second double-double of the season by scoring 13 points and dishing out 11 assists.  The Minutemen shot 48% from the field for the game.

RHODE ISLAND

Last Week’s Results: WINS:  Jan. 18th vs. Fordham 98-67  LOSSES:  Jan. 14th vs. Xavier 67-65

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 21st @ Richmond, Jan. 25th @ George Washington

SUMMARY:  Jimmy Baron hit five three-pointers and finished with a game-high 19 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Rams dropped a heartbreaker to Xavier.  Delroy James (14) and Keith Cothran (11) also reached double figures in scoring, while Kaheim Seawright was a beast on the boards pulling down a season-high 12 rebounds.  Against Fordham, Jimmy Baron became URI’s all-time 3-point leader (passing Tyson Wheeler) by hitting his 304th on his way to nailing six in the game.  Baron led the Rams with 20 points, and three others joined him in double figures as the Rams made easy work of their opponent with the shared mascot.  Rhody outshot Fordham 53% to 39% for the game.  

RICHMOND

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  None     LOSSES:  Jan. 14th @ Virginia Tech 62-48, Jan. 17th vs. St. Bonaventure 71-67

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 21st vs. Rhode Island, Jan. 25th @ Saint Louis

SUMMARY:  A trying week for the Spiders, as they dropped two contests.  Against Virginia Tech, the Richmond shot an ice cold 31.1% from the field, making only 19 shots (a season-low) for the game, including just 3-of-22 from three point range.  Kevin Anderson led the Spiders with 11 points.  Perhaps even more disappointing, the Spiders fell to the Bonnies at home later in the week.  As has been the case often this season the Spiders could not hold a lead, relinquishing a seven point “cushion” on the way to the loss.  Again, it was Kevin Anderson who led the Spiders offense with 15 points.  Coach Chris Mooney was not pleased with how this one played out.   “There were stretches where we looked very, very good and unfortunately we weren’t able to close out the game.  I’m disappointed with our execution down the stretch.”

SAINT JOSEPH’S

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Jan. 14th vs. St. Bonaventure 62-51, Jan. 18th vs. Charlotte 78-69   LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 21st vs. Duquesne, Jan. 24th vs. Penn

SUMMARY:  Idris Hilliard took some of the pressure off of Ahmad Nivins’ shoulders by scoring a team-leading 17 points in the win over the Bonnies.  Hilliard also pulled down seven boards to help the cause.  Of course, Nivins made his presence felt, recording a double-double with 16 points and 13 boards.  Darrin Govens added 11 for the Hawks.  Against Charlotte, the walking double-double that is Nivins was again Herculean, scoring 25 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.  Most of Nivins’ damage came in the second half, as he helped SJU slowly pull away in a game which was tied at the break.  The most impressive stat for Nivins in this one – where those in attendance included scouts from the Phoenix Suns – was his 13-13 shooting from the stripe in the second half, safeguarding the Hawks lead.

SAINT LOUIS

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Jan. 14th vs. Massachusetts 69-64, Jan. 17th vs. George Washington 63-59   LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 22nd @ Temple, Jan. 25th vs. Richmond

SUMMARY:  The Billikens proved that winning will not be easy for teams that travel to Chaifetz Arena.  Against UMass, Saint Louis emerged the victors in a game that featured 17 lead changes.  Kwamain Mitchell and Tommie Liddell each scored 14 for the winners, as two other Billikens also reached double figures in scoring.  Saint Louis was able to pull away by shooting 58% in the second half.  Against GW, a late 9-0 run sealed the Colonials fate, as Kevin Lisch (team-high 18 points) inserted the dagger by draining a crucial three pointer down the stretch.  Again, Tommie Liddell netted 14 points for the Billikens. 

ST. BONAVENTURE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Jan. 17th @ Richmond 71-67    LOSSES:  Jan. 14th vs. Saint Joseph’s 62-51

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 21st vs. Xavier, Jan. 25th @ Dayton

SUMMARY:  The Bonnies were dominated on the glass – outrebounded 50-30 by Saint Joseph’s –  and fell to the Hawks on Wednesday.  SBU allowed 19 offensive rebounds, resulting in an 18-4 advantage in second-chance points for Saint Joe’s.  Freshman Andrew Nicholson led the Bonnies offense with 12 points.  It was the fifth time in six games Nicholson led the Bonnies in scoring.  The Brown & White rebounded nicely on the road against Richmond, stunning the Spiders by scoring the game’s final 11 points on their way to winning an unimaginable seventh straight road game.  The Bonnies received a great effort out of junior Maurice Thomas, who scored a career-high 25 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in the win.

TEMPLE

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Jan. 14th @ Penn 78-53    LOSSES:  Jan. 17th @ Massachusetts 79-75

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 22nd vs. Saint Louis, Jan. 24th vs. Charlotte

SUMMARY:  The Owls lit it up against their Big 5 rival, Penn, shooting 54% from the field, including 13 three-pointers, en route to an easy victory over the Quakers.  Not surprisingly, it was Dionte Christmas who led the Owls’ offense against Coach Dunphy’s old squad.  The All-American candidate scored 25 points which included 5-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc.  Sophmore Craig Williams continued his strong play by recording a career-high 17.  In Amherst, however, the Owls hit a road bump as they fell to the Minutemen.  Again, it was Christmas leading the way with 26 points to pace the visitors.  Ryan Brooks added 17, but Temple could not stretch the winning streak to five.    

XAVIER

Last Week’s Results:  WINS:  Jan. 15th @ Rhode Island 67-65, Jan. 18th vs. La Salle 73-53    LOSSES:  None

This Week’s Schedule:  Jan. 21st @ St. Bonaventure, Jan. 24th @ LSU

SUMMARY:   Dante Jackson hit a three with just under a minute to go and Xavier hung on to defeat URI on Thursday at the Ryan Center.  Derrick Brown led the Musketeer offense with 12 points and three others also reached double figures.  The difference in this one was execution down the stretch, as XU generated open looks and got to the line, while URI struggled to convert.  Against La Salle, Xavier moved leisurely to 4-0 in conference play, as B.J. Raymond scored 16 to lead the Musketeers to a 20 point triumph.  Derrick Brown added 15 for the winners, while Jason Love chipped in 10 points and nine rebounds.

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