Daily Diaries: ACC and Atlantic 10 Tournament Finals

Posted by rtmsf on March 16th, 2010

In our attempt to bring you the most comprehensive Championship Week coverage anywhere, RTC covered several of the conference tournaments from the sites over the weekend. We had RTC correspondents at the ACC and Atlantic 10 Tournament finals on Sunday; each of them wrapped up the day’s action in these diary submissions.

Atlantic 10 Championship

Temple 56, Richmond 52

  • “It is tough to win both the regular season title and the conference tournament. I have to congratulate Temple on their achievement” said Richmond Coach Chris Mooney to start his last press conference at the 2010 A10 Tournament. His Richmond team had lost to Temple, 56-52, in front of 10,000+ fans at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ. The cheers from the arena floor could he heard in the background as the reporters asked Kevin Anderson and Justin Harper to analyze their team’s performance. Richmond came out cold in the first half, missing their first four shots. A dunk by center Darrius Garrett put Richmond on the board, but Temple had already converted three times. Three minutes into the game it was 7-2 Temple, just like the day before, different day and opponent perhaps, but the same start. That was the story of the A10 Championship game. Like their semifinal game with Rhode Island, the Temple Owls scored first and never relinquished the lead. Richmond however was not Rhode Island and the Spiders did not go quietly. The crowd was Temple’s by a 60-40 margin, and when the Spiders came close cutting Temple’s lead to one with 39 seconds left in the game, the Spider faithful came to their feet and gave their team a loud cheer.
  • “Threepeat!” shouted the fans as the Temple team cut down the nets. “It’s the beginning of a dynasty!” a fellow member of the media said as he packed his bags, “They bring back Fernandez, Allen, Eirc and Jefferson. They will own the A10 for at least two more years.” Dynasty talk will have to wait for next season’s previews however, because the talk along press row was whether the game would help Temple’s argument for a #3 (or better) seed.  There is another month to this season, and the growing expectation that this Temple team (and most probably the two other A10 teams who will participate in the NCAAs next week) will play through the first weekend, and possibly into the second weekend.
  • Weather and a leaky roof aside, the A10 Conference Tournament was everything an eastern basketball fan could ask for. Three days of terrific basketball, ten games in all. Throw in an overtime game and two of the last three games decided by six or fewer points and play after play by athletic and skilled basketball players. The work of Kevin Anderson and Juan Fernandez in particular stand out. Anderson put the Richmond team on his back and brought them back against Xavier in the semifinal game. Anderson scored the last four points in regulation to tie the game, and hit the first points in overtime that put Richmond in the lead. Fernandez is a oddity for American audiences. Temple fans remember Pepe Sanchez, an Argentine guard brought over by John Chaney very fondly. Fernandez is about six inches taller and very skilled. In the championship game he called for the ball again and again, taking to the lane or hitting a pull-up jumper, a small lapse at the midpoint of the second half aside, he was composed throughout, chewing on gum, as if to set his internal clock. In the championship game Anderson played 38 minutes and scored 14 points. Fernandez played 38 minutes and scored 18 points: the margin of the game.

Superlatives

  • Most Outstanding PerformerJuan Fernandez, Temple

The All Tournament team:

  • Lavoy Allen, Temple, Junior, Forward
  • Kevin Anderson, Richmond, Junior, Guard
  • Jordan Crawford, Xavier, Sophomore, Guard
  • Juan Fernandez, Temple, Sophomore, Guard
  • David Gonzalvez, Richmond, Senior, Guard

ACC Tournament Championship

Duke 65, Georgia Tech 61

  • Duke added their 9th ACC Championship in the last 12 years, and when combined with North Carolina, 12 of the last 13. Duke is now 32-4 in the tournament since 1998, and has reached the finals 11 times in 13 attempts.
  • Georgia Tech made a furious run to make Duke sweat a little today, but couldn’t quite get over the hump. Still, they made things close by hitting their free throws, making 12-16 from the charity stripe, which was a vast improvement over the past three games. Coming into today’s game, they had the worst-ever percentage through three games (54.7%), making only 41 of 75. Wow. No wonder they finished 11th in that statistic in the ACC during the regular season. That’s Shaquille O’Neal bad.
  • Duke won their 8th ACC title in the Greensboro Coliseum today – home sweet near-home.
  • Duke placed 3 players on the All-ACC tournament 1st team, John Scheyer, Nolan Smith, and MVP Kyle Singler. Georgia Tech placed Derrick Favors on the 1st team and Gani Lawal and Iman Shumpert on the 2nd team.
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