Checking in on the… Atlantic 10

Posted by nvr1983 on February 25th, 2009

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

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By CCT Staff | February 4, 2009

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Lavoy Allen (So.), Temple

Allen had perhaps his best week as a collegiate player, averaging 19.5 points and 14.5 rebounds over a two game span. The 6-foot-9 sophomore was sensational from the floor, shooting a sparkling 74% (14-of-19) during the stretch. In his most impressive game of the season, Allen shot 8-of-8 from the floor, scoring 20 points and grabbing 18 rebounds in a win over St. Bonaventure yesterday. The two double-doubles this week were the ninth and tenth of the season for Allen, as he helped lead the Owls to two victories.

HONORABLE MENTION: Kevin Anderson, (So.) Richmond; Ahmad Nivins (Sr.) Saint Joseph’s; Damian Saunders (So.), Duquesne

(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. 19th. – Charlotte 65, Xavier 60.

There haven’t been as many bright spots as anticipated for the Charlotte 49ers this season. But on this night, one was celebrated. Quiet most of the game, Lamont Mack exploded in the final eight minutes, scoring all 12 of his points and, along with DiJuan Harris, helped ”will” Charlotte to an upset of 16th-ranked Xavier.

The game was largely a back-and-forth affair from start to finish, with 24 lead changes and 17 ties, neither team holding a lead of more than five the entire game.

Ian Anderson also pitched-in for Charlotte, scoring 16 points on five three-pointers. C.J. Anderson led the Musketeers with 13 points in the loss.

GAME OF THE UPCOMING WEEK: Feb. 25th – Dayton @ Rhode Island.

On Wednesday, it’s a battle between two of the four teams currently positioned for a bye in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament. Just a half-game separates the Flyers (9-3) from the Rams (9-4) in the conference standings and since this is their only meeting of the regular season, the winner will have earned an important tie-breaker over the other.

The Flyers and Rams play contrasting styles, as Dayton prefers a sixties type pace, wisely choosing when to push and relying upon tenacious perimeter defense at the point of attack to silence opponents. Rhode Island, on the other hand, is at its best – at least offensively – where the Rams push the pace and score in transition and off the secondary break.

A key player in for the Rams will be Keith Cothran. The versatile guard is an excellent complement to Jimmy Baron, can score off-the-dribble, and is increasing his range with each passing year. More importantly, he’ll see time on Marcus Johnson and will look to disrupt the rhythm of the Flyers’ second leading scorer.

London Warren will be a player to keep an eye on for the Flyers. Warren has seen his minutes increase since Rob Lowery went down to injury. While he won’t be counted on to score many points, he will be asked to apply pressure out high on Marquis Jones and Steve Mejia – Rhody’s young point guards – in an effort to frustrate the initiation of the Rhode Island offense. His work on the defensive end could be a barometer of Dayton’s success.

Finally, this game has national postseason implications for both squads as well. The Rams are currently (20-8, 9-4), but lack a signature win, with the best wins to date coming against Penn State, Temple, and Virginia Commonwealth. For the Flyers (23-4, 9-3), a NCAA Tournament bid is still relatively safe, but they must avoid a late season swoon. Earning a tough road win will restore order and help UD avoid a two-game losing streak heading into games with Temple, at UD Arena, and at Xavier.

CANDIDATES: ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
This week, CCT tackles the candidates for Rookie of the Year. Each one of these talented freshman has impacted his team in both statistically measurable and immeasurable ways. Transfers are not eligible. The leading candidates:

  • Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure: Nicholson ranks in the top 10 in the country in blocks and field goal percentage for newcomers, and is the conference’s best freshman big man. His 13.1 points per game are leading the Bonnies and his 6.2 boards per game rank 13th in the league. His 78 blocks are second to only Tony Gaffney and, already, are the third most in Bonaventure single season history.
  • Jio Fontan, Fordham: A true point guard who has set the league on fire. Fontan leads Fordham in scoring at 15.2 a game and his 4.9 assists per game rank fourth in the league. Fontan has scored in double figures in every league game and his career high 25 points led the Rams to their only win of league play over St. Bonaventure. Fontan ranks ninth in the league in scoring and is averaging nearly 17 points a game in A-10 play.
  • Kwamain Mitchell, Saint Louis: For a team in need of scoring, 5′10″ Mitchell has averaged 10 points and 3.7 assists per game, generating offense for the Billikens. Mitchell has come on strong of late, averaging 14 points over his last eight games. He ranks ninth in league play in assists per game. The freshman is third on the team in scoring behind seniors Kevin Lisch and Tommie Liddell making this a likely a passing of the torch in the Midwest.
  • Chris Johnson, Dayton: Johnson may be the most versatile freshman in the Atlantic 10. Despite his size, the 6′5″ 176 pound Johnson can play inside and out, averaging seven points and 5.7 rebounds per contest. He also has an uncanny ability to rebound the basketball – which is best observed live. The Columbus native can shoot the three ball (36%) and convert at the line (80%). Like Fontan, Johnson’s coming out party came against the Bonnies, when No. 4 scored 17 points and grabbed eight boards.
  • Melquan Bolding, Duquesne: Bolding leads a crop of super freshmen for Duquesne who have helped lead the Dukes to a surprise season. Bolding averages 9.4 points and 4.3 boards per game. His 12 points, seven rebounds, and three assists aided the Dukes in knocking off Xavier a few weeks ago, but don’t be fooled… Bolding has been playing well all year long. The 6′4″ guard has scored in double figures seven times in league play and is third on his team in rebounding.
  • Eric Evans, Duquesne: Like Mitchell, a sub six footer who plays bigger than his frame. Evans currently averages 9.5 points and two assists for a young Duquesne team. Evans has competently ran the point for Ron Everhart’s uptempo offense. The frosh has registered 22 steals on the year and scored ten points or more a dozen times on the season.

Honorable Mention

  • Terrell Holloway, Xavier: From the outset, Holloway was tasked with running the point for a perennial NCAA tournament bound team, and has done an admirable job. While he’s slipped a bit of late, at 5.9 points and 2.1 assists per game, Holloway has been a steady hand for the Musketeers. He is a good three-point shooter (37%) and exceptional from the stripe (80%).
  • Kenny Frease, Xavier: The seven-footer came to Cincinnati with great expectations and, while his numbers don’t leap off the page, he’s laid the groundwork for a nice career with the Muskies. Frease averages just over 14 minutes per game, scores 5.9 points and grabs 3.7 boards per contest. As Frease improves his conditioning, his excellent hands and touch around the hoop will be on display for fans for years to come.

Team Capsules
CHARLOTTE
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 19th vs. Xavier 65-60 LOSSES: Feb. 21st @ Richmond 65-58
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 25th @ George Washington, Feb. 28th vs. Fordham
SUMMARY: It was an up-and-down week for the 49ers. They secured their best win of the season against Xavier but couldn’t follow it up with another win against Richmond. Versus the Muskies, Lamont Mack scored all 12 of his points in the critical final eight minutes of the game, as the 49ers knocked off their ranked opponent on national television (ESPN2),where Ian Anderson was hot from behind the arc, scoring 16. Against the Spiders, Mack recorded a double-double, scoring 22 and grabbing 10 boards, but the 49ers remained winless on the road in conference play. Shooting 29% in the second half clearly hurt Charlotte’s chances of extending their winning streak. DiJuan Harris had 14 points and eight assists in a losing effort.

DAYTON
Last Week’s Results: WINS: None None LOSSES: Feb. 21st @ Saint Louis 57-49
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 25th @ Rhode Island, Feb. 28th vs. Temple
SUMMARY: Chris Wright got into early foul trouble and it proved to be a bad omen for the Flyers, as they lost to the Billikens after nearly a week between league contests. Wright only played five minutes in the first half due to the foul troubles, but still returned to score a team-high 11 points. Charles Little and Marcus Johnson each added 10 for the Flyers, who have now lost their last two road contests and have a tough week ahead against a streaking team in Rhode Island and strong Temple squad.

DUQUESNE
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 22nd @ La Salle 79-68 LOSSES: None
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 25th @ Massachusetts, Mar. 1st vs. Rhode Island
SUMMARY: It was a slow week for the Dukes but they made the most of it, earning a solid road win against La Salle. Aaron Jackson scored 17 of his 25 points in the first half and Damian Saunders tied his career-high in both points and boards by scoring 22 and grabbing 14 caroms for the Dukes. The victory secured a winning season for the Dukes, their second such season in a row. This marks the first time Duquesne has enjoyed back-to-back winning seasons since the ‘79-’80 and ‘80-’81 seasons.

FORDHAM
Last Week’s Results: WINS: None LOSSES: Feb. 18th @ Temple 72-45, Feb. 21st vs. Rhode Island 77-58
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 25th vs. Richmond, Feb. 28th @ Charlotte
SUMMARY: Jio Fontan had a nice all-around game for the Rams, scoring 14 points, dropping seven dimes, snaring six boards, and even snatching four steals; but his efforts couldn’t slow down the Owls. The Rams were ice cold from the field overall, shooting just 29% for the game. The Rams were also beat on the boards, 41-31. In the battle of the Rams, Fordham once again dropped a lopsided game to Rhode Island despite Mike Moore pouring in a career-high 28 points. Fontan had another solid night for Fordham, scoring 19 points and dishing out eight assists.

GEORGE WASHINGTON
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 19th vs. St. Bonaventure 90-62 LOSSES: Feb. 22nd @ Xavier 71-53
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 25th vs. Charlotte, Feb. 28th @ Richmond
SUMMARY: When the Colonials win, they do it in style. That was the case against the Bonnies as GW won by 28. Rob Diggs led the charge for the Colonials scoring 26 points, while four other GW players reached double figures as well. GW was scorching hot from behind the arc, hitting 10-of-12 of their attempts from distance. The good times did not continue to roll for the Colonials, however, as they were beaten soundly by Xavier. Diggs, who had been a standout against the Bonnies, scored just two points against the Musketeers. Damian Hollis had a solid game for GW, scoring a team-high 15 points and pulling down eight boards in the loss.

LA SALLE
Last Week’s Results: WINS: None LOSSES: Feb. 18th vs. Richmond 62-53, Feb. 22nd vs. Duquesne 79-68
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 26th @ Temple, Mar. 1st vs. Massachusetts
SUMMARY: It was a bad night all-around for the Explorers against Richmond, as they tied their season-low in scoring with 53 points and shot a season-low 28.1% for the game in a key match-up. Rodney Green led the Explorers with 13 points, but Ruben Guillandeaux was the only other La Salle player to reach double figures in scoring with 10. Things didn’t get much better for the Explorers against Duquesne. Green led La Salle with 14 points, but did so on just 3-of-11 shooting. Paul Johnson and Kimmani Barrett each added 12 for the Explorers who couldn’t seem to find their way from deep, shooting just 3-of-16 from behind the arc.

MASSACHUSETTS
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 22nd @ Saint Joseph’s 70-69 LOSSES: Feb. 18th vs. Rhode Island 71-59
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 25 vs. Duquesne, Mar. 1st @ La Salle
SUMMARY: Chris Lowe netted 15 points and recorded five assists, tying him with Carl Smith for the Minutemen’s all-time assists lead with 633. Despite his efforts, however, the Minutemen still fell to URI. Ricky Harris also scored 15 for UMass, but poor shooting from behind the arc (19.2%) didn’t help matters. Lowe broke the record later in the week, as he picked up seven assists and nailed two huge free throws with two seconds remaining to give the Minutemen a one point victory over Saint Joe’s. Tony Gaffney registered yet another double-double for UMass, scoring 17, and pulling down 10 rebounds.

RHODE ISLAND
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 18th @ Massachusetts 71-59, Feb. 21st @ Fordham 77-58 LOSSES: None
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 25th vs. Dayton, Mar. 1st @ Duquesne
SUMMARY: Junior guard Keith Cothran scored a career-high 26 points as he led URI to a win over UMass. Jimmy Baron and Kaheim Seawright, two of URI’s top scorers, combined for just 12 on the night, but it didn’t matter. The Rams’ 60% shooting in the second half was key to the win. Against Fordham, the Baron-Seawright combo enjoyed a much better day, combining for 42 in a relative cakewalk on the road. Baron was on fire, scoring a season-high 29 points on 10-of-12 shooting from the floor, including 6-of-8 from behind the arc. Seawright finished with a perfect 5-for-5 shooting night and 13 points. The win was the eighth in nine games for URI.

RICHMOND
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 18th @ La Salle 62-53, Feb. 21st vs. Charlotte 65-58 LOSSES: None
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 25th @ Fordham, Feb. 28th vs. George Washington
SUMMARY: The Spiders earned a solid road win against La Salle thanks to the heroics of Kevin Anderson, who scored a career-high 28 points. It was Anderson’s fifth 20-point game of the season. Jarhon Giddings narrowly missed a double-double, scoring 11 and pulling down nine boards. The Spiders defense helped key the win, holding the Explorers to just 28.1% shooting for the game. Anderson continued his strong play against Charlotte, scoring a team-high 19 points as the Spiders moved to 2-0 on the week. David Gonzalvez scored just eight points but pulled down a career-high 13 boards in the win. Kevin Smith added 11 for the Spiders, who now have won three of four after previously losing four straight.

SAINT JOSEPH’S
Last Week’s Results: WINS: None LOSSES: Feb. 18th @ Saint Louis 73-71, Feb. 22nd vs. Massachusetts
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 26th vs. Xavier, Mar. 1st vs. St. Bonaventure
SUMMARY: The walking double-double, Ahmad Nivins, did his job, scoring 22 and pulling down 11 boards, but the Hawks still fell a third straight time. Darrin Govens and Garrett Williamson each chipped in with 10 points as Saint Joe’s was cut down despite shooting 57% for the game. The Hawks losing streak was extended to four games next time out, losing a heartbreaker to UMass. Nivins added his 18th double-double of the season, scoring 21 and grabbing 11 boards, but also committed a key foul which placed UMass on the line to score the winning points. Idris Hilliard had a double-double with 12 points and 11 boards in the loss. The Hawks shot 0-for-7 from three-point range, ending a streak of 495 straight games with at least one made three-pointer.

SAINT LOUIS
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 18th vs. Saint Joseph’s 73-71, Feb. 21st vs. Dayton 57-49 LOSSES: None
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 25th @ St. Bonaventure
SUMMARY: Four Billikens scored in double figures, led by Kwamain Mitchell’s 17 points, as Saint Louis picked up a big win over Saint Joe’s. Mitchell also hit a career-high five three pointers in the win. Kevin Lisch added 15 for the Bills and Barry Eberhardt chipped in with 14 on six of eight shooting. Against Dayton, the CCT staff looked prodigious in stating the first to 55 would be the winner. Apparently 57 was the magic number for the Billikens, as they defeated the 25th ranked Flyers, 57-49. Lisch led all scorers with 16, while Tommie Liddell added 10 points and five assists for the Billikens. Willie Reed was a menace on the defensive end recording seven blocked shots, one shy of the team record.

ST. BONAVENTURE
Last Week’s Results: WINS: None LOSSES: Feb. 19th @ George Washington 90-62, Feb. 22nd @ Temple 70-56
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 25th vs. Saint Louis, Mar. 1st @ Saint Joseph’s
SUMMARY: The Smith Center in Washington, D.C., has not been friendly to the Bonnies. That trend continued this week, as St. Bonaventure dropped their 14th straight contest there to GW. One of the few positives the Bonnies took from this one was the play of freshman Michael Davenport, who set career-highs in scoring (16 points) and rebounding (seven). Malcolm Eleby -showing improved play of late – was the only other Bonaventure player to crack double figures, scoring 11. Against Temple, Eleby had another solid game scoring 14, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Bonnies from falling to Owls for the 11th straight time. Chris Matthews led the way for Bonaventure, scoring 15 in the loss.

TEMPLE
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 18th vs. Fordham 72-45, Feb. 22nd vs. St. Bonaventure 70-56 LOSSES: None
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 26th vs. La Salle, Feb. 28th @ Dayton
SUMMARY: The Owls made easy work of Fordham, as Lavoy Allen recorded his ninth double-double of the season scoring 19 points and grabbing 11 boards. Dionte Christmas added 14 for the Owls and Craig Williams scored 11 points, shooting three of four from behind the arc. The Owls held the Rams to 29% shooting for the game. Allen recorded another double-double, scoring 20 points and grabbing a career-high 18 boards in a win over the Bonnies. Christmas added 18 and Ryan Brooks chipped in with 12 for the Owls, now winners of five straight.

XAVIER
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 22nd vs. George Washington 71-53 LOSSES: Feb. 19th @ Charlotte 65-60
This Week’s Schedule: Feb. 26th @ Saint Joseph’s
SUMMARY: The Musketeers have hit a bit of a late-season rut, losing on the road to Charlotte. The loss was an uncharacteristic three of four for Xavier. The frustrating result featured 24 lead changes and 17 ties along the way. The Muskies were led by C.J. Anderson’s 13 point effort, the only Xavier player to reach double figures. B.J. Raymond and Derrick Brown each added nine for the Muskies. Xavier got their act together back at the Cintas Center in grand fashion, as they soundly beat the Colonials. Five Muskies scored in double figures, led by C.J. Anderson’s 14 point effort. B.J. Raymond added 12 for Xavier, which regained the A-10 lead by half a game with the win.

nvr1983 (1263 Posts)


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