Checking in on the… Atlantic 10

Posted by nvr1983 on February 18th, 2009

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

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By CCT Staff | February 16, 2009

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Chris Wright (So.), Dayton
For Wright, winning the Player of the Week is about more than just numbers. In Dayton’s resume-building victory against nationally-ranked rival Xavier, Wright powered the Flyers with a 19 point, six rebound effort. In the process, Wright shouldered – as a star must – the additional burden for a Dayton squad without the services of valuable contributor Rob Lowery. Wright wouldn’t let his Flyers suffer a letdown after that rivalry win either, following up the Xavier effort with a double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds) in Dayton’s triumph over Richmond. Wright averaged 18 points, eight rebounds and an impressive three blocks per contest for the week.

HONORABLE MENTION: Tony Gaffney (Sr.), Massachusetts; Mike Moore (So.), Fordham; Lamont Mack (Sr.), Charlotte

(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: Thursday, Feb. 12th – Temple 61, Saint Joseph’s 59.
The last four times the Owls and the Hawks tangled, each game was decided by five points or less. With slightly over a minute remaining, Temple appeared primed to end that streak, holding an 11 point lead. The Hawks had other ideas. At exactly the one minute mark, the Hawks cut the lead to eight on a three-pointer by Darrin Govens. The Owls’ Ryan Brooks was then fouled with :54 to play, and hit both of his free throws, building the lead back to 10. However, Saint Joe’s Tasheed Carr hit another three for the Hawks, trimming the lead to seven. From there, six straight Owl possessions resulted in the Owls converting one foul shot or less, permitting the Hawks to cut the lead to just three with 9.2 seconds to play.

Garrett Williamson was fouled by the Owls to prevent a tying three-pointer, and proceeded to knock down his freebies and slice the lead to just one with 6.2 seconds left. The Owls’ Juan Fernandez then felt the pressure at the “charity” stripe, but managed to sink one to extend the Owl lead to two with 4.2 seconds remaining. The Hawks had a final chance, but Carr prematurely hoisted up a 30-footer. The shot fell shy, as did the Hawks’ comeback bid.

GAME OF THE UPCOMING WEEK: Sat., Feb. 22nd – Dayton @ Saint Louis.
If nothing else, the last few weeks have demonstrated that the conference tournament will be wild again. That said, there are many important games to be played as teams jockey for seeding purposes. Dayton is coming off an impressive week, assuming first place in the conference with a pair of wins. Both wins, however, came at UD Arena. This week, the Flyers hit the road after a long layoff to face Saint Louis, a team that flourishes at home with a sparkling 12-2 record. Importantly, SLU also remains in the hunt for fourth place – and the coveted bye which comes with a top four finish. Dayton is just 5-3 in road contests and, generally, has been pedestrian away from home. This one could get ugly, as both teams emphasize defense. The first one to 55 will probably be the winner.

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CANDIDATES: SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR
With the season entering the homestretch and the Power Rankings more closely resembling the A-10 standings with each passing week, the attention shifts to regular season awards and postseason play. Over the next four weeks, College Chalktalk will release the top five candidates, in no particular order, for Sixth Man of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year and Player of the Year.

This Week, CCT begins by identifying our top five candidates for Sixth Man of the Year. To qualify, a player must start in less than 50% of the total games played by his school. In addition, freshmen are not eligible.

  • Ian Andersen, Charlotte: The junior from Oregon has established himself as a sniper off the bench for Bobby Lutz. Andersen shoots 34% from three point land and 89% from the line. His 9.3 points per game rank second on Charlotte despite playing 25.5 minutes off the bench. Andersen’s 61 made threes rank fifth in the league this year.
  • Delroy James, Rhode Island: Averaging over 10 points per game, James has been a godsend to the Rams bench. James’ 6.1 rebounds per game off the pine rank 16th in the Atlantic 10, showing he provides both scoring and toughness for Rhody. The junior has scored in double figures 12 times this year, including a 21 point effort at Duke.
  • Ray Blackburn, St. Bonaventure: The JUCO point guard has packed a nice scoring punch off the bench for the Bonnies at 9.7 per contest. Blackburn is quick to the rim and converts at the line (80%); his 3.1 assists per game are second on the club. Blackburn missed six games with a knee injury but has played in the Bonnies last two.
  • Dante’ Jackson, Xavier: Jackson has the fourth highest minutes per game average on the Musketeers, but Sean Miller likes Dante off the bench. Jackson is fifth on the team in scoring (6.4) and his 2.7 assists per game lead the squad. The sophomore’s 26 steals pace Xavier on the defensive end, and his 73% free throw shooting make him a late game option at the line.
  • Noel Wilmore, George Washington: His 8.5 points per game rank third for the Colonials, yet he is sixth on the team in minutes per game at 20. The senior is enjoying his finest year at GW, shooting 39% from three, 73% from the line and ranks ninth in the league in three pointers made per game.

Honorable Mention:

  • Lamonte Ulmer, Rhode Island: Just squeezed out by teammate James, Ulmer has averaged 8.6 points and five rebounds per game while shooting 53% from the field and 78.9 from the line.
  • Rob Lowery, Dayton: Unquestionably a top five entrant above but for a season ending knee injury. Lowery averaged 7.5 points, 3.4 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game for the Flyers.

Team Capsules

CHARLOTTE
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 14th vs. George Washington 69-51 LOSSES: Feb. 11th @ Saint Louis 69-61
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 19th vs. Xavier, Feb. 21st @ Richmond
SUMMARY: Charlie Coley posted a career-high 18 points and Lamont Mack and An’Juan Wilderness each added 10, but the Niners still dropped a road contest at Saint Louis. Charlotte once again struggled shooting the basketball, just 38%, and were a woeful 17% (3-for-18) from behind the arc. Against GW, the Niners put together one of their better efforts of the season, as Lamont Mack dropped in 23 points and DiJuan Harris set a career-high by dishing out 15 assists in the win. Charlotte led this one by as many as 30 points in the second half.

DAYTON
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 11th vs. Xavier 71-58, Feb. 14th vs. Richmond 69-63 LOSSES: None
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 21st @ Saint Louis
SUMMARY: The Flyers lost Rob Lowery midway through the first half to a season-ending knee injury, but Chris Wright elevated his game, scoring a game-high 19 points and leading Dayton to the upset of the nationally-ranked Musketeers. Marcus Johnson added 13 for winners, as eleven different Flyers made an appearance in the scoring column. Against the Spiders, Wright again stepped up, recording a 17-point, 10-rebound double double effort in the six point win. The Flyers out-rebounded their opponent for the 19th time this season, moving to 19-0 on the season when doing so.

DUQUESNE
Last Week’s Results: WINS: None LOSSES: Feb. 11th @ Richmond 71-67, Feb. 15th vs. Temple 78-73
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 22nd @ La Salle
SUMMARY: Duquesne couldn’t follow up on the big win over Xavier, falling to Richmond despite 14 point efforts from both Damian Saunders and Aaron Jackson. The Dukes started out hot, building a 35-20 lead in the first half. The final 10 minutes saw seven ties and two lead changes as neither team built a lead of more than five points. The Dukes again got a strong effort from Jackson, as he poured in 21 against the Owls. Saunders added 13 for the Dukes, but the home team was plagued with poor shooting from deep, converting on just 5-of-26 from behind the arc and dropping to 0-2 on the week in the process.

FORDHAM
Last Week’s Results: WINS: None LOSSES: Feb. 11 vs. Masshachusetts 91-68, Feb. 14th @ Xavier 88-53
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 18th @ Temple, Feb. 21st vs. Rhode Island
SUMMARY: Mike Moore tied his career-high by netting 21 points and Jio Fontan added 19, but the Rams were still overmatched by a talented UMass team that played to its potential. Two other Rams also scored in double figures, including Herb Tanner, who dumped in a career-high 10 points in the loss. The tough week continued as the Rams got pasted by Xavier. One of the few bright spots was the play of Moore, who recorded a double-double with a career-high in both points (24) and boards (10). Jio Fontan finished in double figures for the eleventh straight contest with 12.

GEORGE WASHINGTON
Last Week’s Results: WINS: None LOSSES: Feb. 11th vs. La Salle 68-57, Feb. 14th @ Charlotte 69-51
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 19th vs. St. Bonaventure, Feb. 22nd @ Xavier
SUMMARY: Damian Hollis exploded for 20 points in just 21 minutes (due to foul trouble) but only two other Colonials reached double figures and GW couldn’t pick up its second win of the A-10 season against La Salle. Wynton Witherspoon was held scoreless for the Colonials in 20 minutes of action. On the road in Charlotte, things didn’t get any better for the Colonials, as they fell behind by as many as 30 and never could get back in the contest. Hollis was the only GW player to reach double figures, finishing with 13 points. As a team, the Colonials shot just 34.8% for the game, going down in defeat for the 13th time in their last 14 games.

LA SALLE
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 11th @ George Washington 68-57, Feb. 14th vs. Saint Joseph’s 75-68 LOSSES: None
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 18th vs. Richmond, Feb. 22nd vs, Duquesne
SUMMARY: The Explorers led wire-to-wire, Ruben Guillandeaux tied his career-high with 22 points, and La Salle grabbed a road win against the Colonials. Kimmani Barrett and Rodney Green both added 14 points for the winners, who have now beaten the Colonials three straight times. Despite falling behind by 12 early against the Hawks, the Explorers rallied behind Green’s 20 point effort and defeated Saint Joe’s. The Explorers had just five turnovers in the game compared to 18 for the Hawks, an obvious reason for the win. Kimmani Barrett added 17 points for the winners and snared five offensive rebounds.

MASSACHUSETTS
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 11th @ Fordham 91-68 LOSSES: Feb. 14th @ St. Bonaventure 83-75
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 18th vs. Rhode Island, Feb. 22nd @ Saint Joseph’s
SUMMARY: The Minutemen ripped the young and injury-plagued Fordham Rams, building a lead as high as 35 points in the second half. Tony Gaffney and Ricky Harris each chipped in with 19 points, and Gaffney also pulled down 10 boards to record his eighth double-double of the season. The Minutemen couldn’t make it a 2-0 week, however, stumbling to the Bonnies on the road. Again, UMass was led by the efforts of Gaffney (career-high 21 points) and Harris (19 points). Chris Lowe finished with just two assists, leaving him six short of the all-time UMass record in that department.

RHODE ISLAND
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 11th vs. St. Bonaventure 87-80, Feb. 14th vs. Saint Louis 69-61 LOSSES: None
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 18th @ Massachusetts, Feb. 21st @ Fordham
SUMMARY: The Rams rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit, as Jimmy Baron scored a season-high 28 points (23 in the second half) to lead the Rams to the comeback – and postseason saving – victory. Keith Cothran and Delroy James both scored in double figures for the Rams with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Against Saint Louis, Rhode Island enjoyed a great effort from junior Lamonte Ulmer, who scored a game-high 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the floor. Kaheim Seawright added a double-double with 12 points and 11 boards, while Baron scored 11 for the Rams who now have won six of their last seven contests.

RICHMOND
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 11th vs. Duquesne 71-67 LOSSES: Feb. 14th @ Dayton 69-63
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 18th @ La Salle, Feb. 21st vs. Charlotte
SUMMARY: The Spiders moved to 12-0 against Duquesne since Richmond joined the A-10 in the 2000-01 season. Five Spiders scored in double figures, led by David Gonzalvez’ 16 points. Richmond rallied from an early 35-20 deficit to defeat the youthful Dukes, using an 11-2 run early in the second half to close the gap… and eventually win. Next time out, the positive momentum couldn’t get the Spiders past a tough Dayton team at UD Arena. Kevin Anderson had a career-high 24 points and Gonzalvez added 16 for Richmond. The Spiders were down just two at the break, fell behind by as many as 13, and then rallied to get within four late in the second half, but could get no closer.

SAINT JOSEPH’S
Last Week’s Results: WINS: None LOSSES: Feb. 12th vs. Temple 61-59, Feb. 14th @ La Salle 75-68
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 18th @ Saint Louis, Feb. 22nd vs. Massachusetts
SUMMARY: The Hawks played two games at the Palestra this week, one a home game and one a road game, but unfortunately for the Hawks faithful both games ended in defeat. Against Temple, the Hawks found themselves down 10 with under a minute to play, but Temple couldn’t hit foul shots when needed and the Hawks fell a last second half-court shot away from winning. Ahmad Nivins once again paced the Hawks with 21 points, but finished with just six rebounds. Tasheed Carr finished with 14 points and nine boards. The Hawks fell to La Salle despite strong nights from Darrin Govens (21 points) and Idris Hilliard (career-high tying 20 points). Nivins finished with a double-double (11 and 14), but only converted one field goal on just three attempts.

SAINT LOUIS
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 11th vs. Charlotte 69-61 LOSSES: Feb. 14th @ Rhode Island 69-61
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 18th vs. Saint Joseph’s, Feb. 21st vs. Dayton
SUMMARY: The Billikens moved to 6-4 in A-10 play, as Kevin Lisch scored all 18 of his points in the second half to help lead Saint Louis to a win against Charlotte. Kwamain Mitchell (14 points) and Tommie Liddell (13 points) also reached double figures for the Billikens, which shot 56% in the second half. Strangely, against Rhode Island, the Billikens lost by the same score they had won by earlier in the week. Mitchell led the Billikens with 17 points. Lisch was the only other SLU player, however, to reach double figures with 13. The Billikens won the battle of the boards against the Rams, 35-28, but couldn’t convert the boards to fast-break points, as the Rams outscored them on the run, 12-0.

ST. BONAVENTURE
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 14th vs. Massachusetts 83-75 LOSSES: Feb. 11th @ Rhode Island 87-80
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 19th @ George Washington, Feb. 22nd @ Temple
SUMMARY: Andrew Nicholson led the Bonnies across the board, scoring 19 points, grabbing seven rebounds and blocking four shots, but his effort alone could not help the Bonnies hold a lead against the Rams. The Bonnies came out strong, building that 15-point halftime lead before the Rams fought back. Impressively, the Bona shooters went 15-for-15 from the stripe for the game. Against UMass, the Bonnies reversed roles from their game against Rhody, and used a huge second half to defeat the Minutemen. All five Bona starters reached double figures in scoring, led by 18 points from Chris Matthews. In fact, all of Matthews points came in the second half. In that second frame, the Bonnies shot a blistering 63% from the floor en route to the win.

TEMPLE
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 12th vs. Saint Joseph’s 61-59, Feb. 15th @ Duquesne 78-73 LOSSES: None
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 18th vs. Fordham, Feb. 22nd vs. St. Bonaventure
SUMMARY: In a thriller in Philly, the Owls almost blew a 10 point lead with under a minute to go, but held on for a win against the A-10 leading Hawks. Dionte Christmas recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 boards on the night. Semaj Inge (11) and Sergio Olmos (10) also reached double figures. Poor foul shooting almost cost the Owls the game, as they finished a paltry 7-of-18 from the stripe. Freshman Juan Fernandez was the story against Duquesne, as he scored a career-high 19 points of 7-of-9 shooting in leading the Owls to an important road win. Christmas added 15 for the Owls, but did so on just 4-of-15 shooting.

XAVIER
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 14th vs. Fordham, 88-53 LOSSES: Feb. 11th @ Dayton 71-58
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 19th @ Charlotte, Feb. 22nd vs. George Washington
SUMMARY: Derrick Brown scored 17 points and B.J. Raymond added 12, but the Musketeers couldn’t get past a balanced Dayton attack on the road. Jason Love added nine points for the Muskies and pulled down a game-high six rebounds. The loss was the Musketeers second consecutive defeat, but only their fourth on the season. Unfortunately for Fordham, the Musketeers took out their frustrations on the Rams next time out. Freshman Brad Redford led a group of six Muskies in double figures, as he finished with 15 points on five made threes. In the game, Xavier set season highs in several categories, including points (88), three-point field goals made (14), and assists (21).

nvr1983 (1265 Posts)


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