Checking in on the… Atlantic 10Posted by nvr1983 on March 4th, 2009
College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic 10 Conference.
By CCT Staff | March 2, 2009
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Damian Hollis (Jr.), George Washington
Hollis had a memorable week in what has been a rather forgettable season for the Colonials, averaging 20 points and 14.5 rebounds over two contests. The junior led GW to two wins, as he scored 25 points and pulled down 13 rebounds against Charlotte and then tallied 15 points and hauled in 16 boards against Richmond. The junior showed off his hot hand by shooting 57% over the two games, connecting on 12-for-21 from the floor. Hollis also was efficient from deep, hitting three of his five attempts from behind the arc.
HONORABLE MENTION: Ahmad Nivins (Sr.), Saint Joseph’s; Kahiem Seawright (Sr.), Rhode Island
(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: Wednesday, Feb. 25th. – Rhode Island 93, Dayton 91 (OT). This one was tabbed as one to keep an eye on… and for those that tuned in it was a treat. Both teams battled until the very end. With roughly 12 seconds remaining in overtime, Rhode Island guard Marquis Jones made his move, taking advantage of a switch which presented itself on a designed pick-and-roll with Kahiem Seawright. Jones drove past his defender to convert an acrobatic layup as time expired, giving URI a huge victory and keeping the Rams’ NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
Both teams shot the ball extremely well. In fact, Dayton shot an outstanding 55% from the field in the game while the Rams were also impressive, firing it up at 51%.
For Rhode Island, Seawright, Jimmy Baron and Keith Cothran led the offense, all scoring 19 points. Dayton had four players register in double figures, led by Marcus Johnson’s 21 point night. Chris Wright added 17 points for the Flyers, but fouled out late in the contest.
GAME OF THE UPCOMING WEEK: Mar. 5th – Dayton @ Xavier. The Rematch. Dayton took round one in this battle of A-10 titans. This time, the Flyers travel to Cincinnati to take on the Musketeers on Senior Night. Can Dayton notch a huge win that will solidify their NCAA resume, or will the Musketeers exact revenge for their earlier loss to their in-state rival?
Over the next two days, CCT will provide plenty of coverage of this rivalry. Be sure to check back often beginning tomorrow for in-depth analysis, features and interviews leading up to the tip-off.
CANDIDATES: COACH OF THE YEAR
This week, CCT tackles the candidates for Coach of the Year. Each one of these coaches has turned in an exceptional coaching performance this season. Whether guiding his team to the top of the league or simply improving a struggling program, these men at the end of the bench should be commended for their leadership. The candidates are:
Brian Gregory, Dayton – After losing one of the program’s best players in Brian Roberts, most fans probably didn’t peg this team for 20 plus wins. Nevertheless, the Flyers are 24-5 and a game out of first place in the league. Led by Chris Wright, Gregory’s team has used strong defense and rebounding to make them poised for their first NCAA bid since 2004. Gregory has been a candidate for this award before, but this year he could be the frontrunner.
Mark Schmidt, St. Bonaventure – In his first season in Olean, Schmidt guided the Bonnies to eight wins with three solid seniors. This year, Schmidt used a combination seven jucos and freshman to earn a 14-14 record. The Bonnies 14 wins are the most since their 2001-2002 season. Making a trip to Atlantic City would be a fine way to culminate this campaign and use it as a springboard to bigger and better things next season as SBU returns all key players.
Ron Everhart, Duquesne – Perhaps no team lost more from last season than Duquesne, but Everhart was not deterred. The Dukes have used eight freshman to build a 17-10 record, and currently stand at fifth place in the league. Few thought the Dukes would be capable of this type of season, but senior point guard Aaron Jackson and a group of newbies have made waves within the league and, in the process, made their coach one of the favoites to win this award; much like Schmidt, a great rebuilding effort.
Jim Baron, Rhode Island – After missing out on the NCAA tournament last year following a 14-1 start, Baron is doing everything he can to ensure a strong finish for his team this season. The Rams are 22-8 and occupying second place in the A-10 at 11-4. More importantly, the Rams have won 10 of their last 11 games. Rhody is looking at a first-round bye in Atlantic City and has an NIT berth locked up. A run to finals in Boardwalk Hall might be enough to get the red-hot Rams into the dance for the first time since 1999. Baron garnered the award in 2007 with Rhody and St. Bonaventure in 1995, making him the only coach to win the award at two schools.
Sean Miller, Xavier – After falling a game short of the Final Four, it is hard to go anywhere but down; but don’t tell that to Sean Miller. Despite losing Burrell, Duncan and Lavender, the Musketeers are 23-5 and sitting atop the league. “X” has not missed a beat despite a musical chairs effort at point guard. The Muskies are positioned for another title run in Atlantic City and high seed for the NCAA tournament come Selection Sunday. Miller received the award last season and looks to double-up this year. Phil Martelli was the last coach in win back-to-back Coach of the Year Awards in 2004 and 2005, respectively.
Rick Majerus, Saint Louis – Like Everhart, Majerus has deployed eight freshman this season and, along with seniors Tommy Liddell III and Kevin Lisch, the Billikens are positioned in the top half of the league at 8-6. SLU’s 17 wins are the fourth most of any A-10 squad. 2008-09 also marks the fourth straight year of at least 16 wins for the program. Majerus’ squad has made great halfcourt defense their calling card and laid the foundation for a good future at Chaifetz Arena under their second year coach.
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 28th vs. Fordham 73-55 LOSSES: Feb. 25th @ George Washington 92-88 (OT)
This Week’s Schedule: Mar. 3 vs. Richmond, Mar. 7 @ St. Bonaventure
SUMMARY: Despite a career-high 22 points from RaShad Coleman, the Niners could not overcome a GW squad playing with a sense of desperation down the stretch. It was the fourth overtime game for Charlotte this season, as they fell to 1-3 in such contests. A total of five Niners scored in double figures, including 15 points from DiJuan Harris. Against Fordham, six Niners reached double figures, led by Harris’ 14-point, 11-assist double-double effort. Lamont Mack added 13 for Charlotte, his 16th straight game in double figures. For the game, the Niners out-shot the Rams 48% to 36%.
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 28th vs. Temple 70-65 LOSSES: Feb. 25th @ Rhode Island 93-91 (OT)
This Week’s Schedule: Mar. 5th @ Xavier, Mar. 7th vs. Duquesne
SUMMARY: Five players scored in double figures, including a monster 21-point, eight rebound effort from Marcus Johnson, but the Flyers still fell in overtime to Rhode Island. Chris Wright added 17 for Dayton before fouling out, while Mickey Perry matched a career-high by netting 11 in the loss. The Flyers bounced back after the loss by knocking off the Owls, thanks to a season-high 20 point night from Wright. Marcus Johnson had another solid game as well, notching 14 points. For the game, the Flyers reserves dominated their Owl counterparts, outscoring them 23-2.
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 25th @ Massachusetts 94-77 LOSSES: Mar. 1st vs. Rhode Island 73-71
This Week’s Schedule: Mar. 4th vs. Saint Louis, Mar. 7th @ Dayton
SUMMARY: Bill Clark led a group of five double-figure scorers for Duquesne by pouring in 22, helping the Dukes secure their first win at UMass since 1989. Damian Saunders added 18 and Aaron Jackson 17 for the Dukes. Clark also tied his career-high by dishing out eight assists for the victors. In their return home, Jackson led four Dukes by scoring a game-high 24 points, but his efforts and a late Dukes’ rally couldn’t overcome URI. Melquan Bolding added 16 for the Dukes, shooting a sharp 6-of-8 from the floor. Duquesne’s overall percentage from deep, however, was disappointing, as the Dukes shot just 21% from behind the arc.
Last Week’s Results: WINS: None LOSSES: Feb. 25th vs. Richmond 78-68, Feb. 28th @ Charlotte 73-55
This Week’s Schedule: Mar. 3rd @ La Salle, Mar. 7th vs. Saint Joseph’s
SUMMARY: Despite shooting a season-high 52% from the field and hitting 16-of-20 from the stripe, the Rams losing streak continued as they dropped their seventh straight against Richmond. Mike Moore has a solid game, scoring a game-high 25 points, and Jio Fontan added 17 for the battered Rams who finished the game with just four scholarship players available. Moore again provided offense for the Rams, scoring a game-high 20 points against Charlotte. Again, however, the Rams fell to defeat. Alberto Estwick was the only other Fordham player to reach double figures, scoring 12. The Rams jumper happy Rams shot poorly from the field; 36% for the game. Of note, rookie sensation Fontan is battling a muscle strain in his rib cage. The freshman has put off rest until the season’s end and is playing through the discomfort to lead the young Rams.
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 25th vs. Charlotte 92-88 (OT), Feb. 28th @ Richmond 66-57 LOSSES: None
This Week’s Schedule: Mar. 4th @ Massachusetts, Mar. 7th vs. Temple
SUMMARY: Damian Hollis was the star of the night for the Colonials, first connecting on two key free throws with 21 seconds left in regulation, and then scoring seven of his 25 points in overtime, leading the Colonials to a conquest of Charlotte. Rob Diggs added 22 for the Colonials and Wynton Witherspoon chipped in with 14 in the win. Hollis again came up huge for the Colonials, as he posted a 15 point and career-high 16 rebound night in a road win against the Spiders. Diggs and Travis King each added 13 for GW. The win at Richmond was the first road victory for the Colonials since they defeated Sacramento State on December 23rd, 2008.
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 26th @ Temple 70-63, Mar. 1st vs. Massachusetts 97-88
This Week’s Schedule: Mar. 4th vs. Fordham, Mar. 7th @ Saint Louis
SUMMARY: Two Explorers set career-highs against UMass as Rodney Green and Darryl Partin both scored 30 points to help defeat the Minutemen. Vernon Goodridge chipped in with a double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing 11 boards. Ruben Guillandeaux added 14 for the Explorers, as La Salle set season-highs in both points (97) and three-pointers made (10). Three days earlier, the Explorers downed city rival Temple at the Liacouras Center as Rodney Green and Kimmani Barrett combined to score 44 points. Green also lead the way on the defensive end of the floor, registering 5 steals, as the Explorers collected eleven thefts as a team. For La Salle it marked just the second time in ten tries that they have beaten the Owls.
Last Week’s Results: WINS: None LOSSES: Feb. 25th vs. Duquesne 94-77, Mar. 1 @ La Salle 97-88
This Week’s Schedule: Mar. 4th vs. George Washington, Mar. 7th @ Rhode Island
SUMMARY: The Minutemen set a school record by hitting 16 three-pointers against Duquesne, but still lost the game by 17 points. Anthony Gurley led UMass with 18 points and Chris Lowe recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 assists. Ricky Harris added 14 for the Minutemen. Against La Salle, Harris poured in 20 points, almost all coming in the final 11 minutes of play, but his late attack was not enough to get the Minutemen past the Explorers. Gurley also scored 20 for UMass, while Lowe chipped in with 15 points and nine assists. Still, the Minutemen lost for the fourth time in their last five games.
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 25th vs. Dayton 93-91 (OT), Mar. 1st @ Duquesne 73-71 LOSSES: None
This Week’s Schedule: Mar. 7th vs. Massachusetts
SUMMARY: For a night, Marquis Jones was URI’s ”Big Man on Campus” as he scored 13 points – capped by a driving layup as time expired – and led URI to a huge win over the Flyers. The play was ESPN’s #1 highlight. Jimmy Baron, Kahiem Seawright and Keith Cothran all scored 19 points in the thrilling win for the Rams. URI’s “big three” again led the Rams to a win against Duquesne, as URI clinched a first-round bye in the A-10 tournament. Seawright led the way with 21 points, while Cothran added 20 and Baron scored 14, including four 3-pointers. The Rams shot an impressive 52.6% for the game, winning for the tenth time in 11 games.
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Mar. 25th @ Fordham 78-68 LOSSES: Feb. 28th 66-57
This Week’s Schedule: Mar. 3rd @ Charlotte, Mar. 7th vs. Xavier
SUMMARY: The Spiders two hottest players continued to scorch opponents, as Kevin Anderson scored 18 and David Gonzalvez contributed 17 to lead Richmond to its third straight win. Justin Harper added 14 for the Spiders, while Richmond’s swarming defense forced Fordham in to 17 turnovers for the game. The Spiders three-game win streak came to an end against GW next time out, as Richmond shot a season-low 26.5% for the game. Gonzalvez scored 18 points and pulled down seven boards to lead the Spiders. For the game, the Spiders connected on just 18 shots in a season-high 68 attempts on the way to their worst shooting performance of the season.
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Mar. 1st vs. St. Bonaventure 73-62 LOSSES: Feb. 26th vs. Xavier 68-54
This Week’s Schedule: Mar. 5th @ Temple, Mar. 7th @ Fordham
SUMMARY: The Hawks late season free-fall continued, as they dropped their fifth consecutive game to Xavier. The loss of Tasheed Carr (concussion) was evident, as his replacement to the starting lineup, Charoy Bentley, went scoreless for the game. Ahmad Nivins led the Hawks once again, posting another solid night of 24 points and eight boards. Nivins got back into his double-double groove against the Bonnies, netting 22 and grabbing 10 boards in his final home game as a Hawk. Carr returned to the lineup in this one as well and his presence was certainly felt, as the senior poured in 17 points. The Hawks snapped their five-game losing streak by leading the Bonnies wire-to-wire.
Last Week’s Results: WINS: None LOSSES: Feb. 25th @ St. Bonaventure 72-55
This Week’s Schedule: Mar. 4th @ Duquesne, Mar. 7th vs. La Salle
SUMMARY: Kwamain Mitchell led the Billikens with 15 points but Saint Louis fell well short, losing a key game to the Bonnies. Kevin Lisch poured in 13 points, but was the only other SLU player to reach double figures. A first half that saw the Billikens shoot just 29% led to an 11-point halftime deficit from which Saint Louis could never recover. The Billikens were also cold from outside, shooting just 24% from behind the arc.
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 25th vs. Saint Louis 72-55 LOSSES: Mar. 1 @ Saint Joseph’s 73-62
This Week’s Schedule: Mar. 7th vs. Charlotte
SUMMARY: Jonathan Hall had a huge night for the Bonnies, scoring a season-high 31 points in leading them to their third straight home win, this time over Saint Louis. Defense was critical for the Bonnies, with SBU holding the Billikens to just six field goals in the first half. The Bonnies also held an A-10 opponent under 60 points for the first time this season. Against Saint Joe’s, Chris Matthews led three Bonnies in double figures by netting 15 points – all from behind the arc – but St. Bonaventure still dropped the contest. Malcolm Eleby added 14 for the Bonnies and standout freshman Andrew Nicholson chipped in with 11, six of which came by highlight reel dunks.
Last Week’s Results: WINS: None LOSSES: Feb. 26th vs. La Salle 70-63, Feb. 28th @ Dayton 70-65,
This Week’s Schedule: Mar. 5th vs. Saint Joseph’s, Mar. 7th @ George Washington
SUMMARY: The Owls managed to cut a 16-point deficit to just three, but that was as close as the Owls would come in the closing minutes as they fell to the Flyers at UD Arena. Dionte Christmas was the catalyst for the comeback, scoring 14 of his 20 points in the final 6 minutes of the contest. Ryan Brooks tied Christmas for game-high scoring honors with 20 points of his own. Lavoy Allen grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, but added just eight points offensively. Prior to their trip to UD Arena, the Owls suffered a 7 point defeat at the hands of cross town rival La Salle. Christmas scored 19 points and Sergio Olmos added 14, but the duo was out done by Rodney Green and Kimmani Barrett who scored 22 and 20, respectively. Temple got to the line just seven times, compared to the Explorers 24 free throw attempts. The 7 point loss was a “return the favor” win for La Salle, as the Owls downed them by the same margin on January 11th at Tom Gola Arena.
Last Week’s Results: WINS: Feb. 26th @ Saint Joseph’s 68-64 LOSSES:
This Week’s Schedule: Mar. 5th vs. Dayton, Mar. 7th @ Richmond
SUMMARY: ”We got our road nastiness back,” was what Derrick Brown had to say after his Musketeers knocked off the Hawks at the Palestra. It was a memorable game for Brown, who recorded a double-double with 18 points and 10 boards. He also reached the 1,000 point mark in his Xavier career. B.J. Raymond matched Brown by contributing 18 points of his own. This week, Xavier looks to bounce back against arch-rival Dayton at Cintas.