Written by: Ryan Cunningham
The A-10 had yet another wild week of games including upsets and thrillers. There are over a dozen games to analyze so let’s get to it.
Saint Joseph’s 81, Dayton 65: Hagan Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
This one was a bit of a shocker. Saint Joseph’s (9-9, 4-3 A-10) had five guys in double figures in the win. The Hawks were led by James Demery, who had 19 points. Shavar Newkirk added 18 points. For Dayton (9-10, 3-4 A-10), Jalen Crutcher led the team with 23 points. The Hawks did a very good job of limiting Dayton’s best player, Darrell Davis, to 11 points. He attempted only nine shots, making four of them. The game was neck and neck throughout the first 10 minutes until St. Joe’s pulled away to take a 12-point lead at the break. St. Joe’s shot a very efficient 50% in the first half. Dayton shot seven of 22 from three in the first. Seven is a big number for threes in a half, but 22 attempts are way too many for one half. During their previous game against VCU, Dayton hit 17 threes in a 27-point win. Their three-point attempts carried over into this game and unfortunately for them, they didn’t fall. Dayton ended up with 38 attempted threes, making 13 of them (34.2%). In the second half, the lead grew to 28 at one point for the Hawks. This was a very good win for St. Joe’s because they had just come off two heartbreaking losses to George Mason on a buzzer beater and UMass in a game where they were leading by 16 at one point in the second half. Click HERE for highlights.
La Salle 75, Fordham 67: Tom Gola Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
This was a must win for La Salle (8-12, 2-5 A-10) after a rough start to Atlantic 10 play. The Explorers were led by Isaiah Deas with 15 points and eight rebounds. Pookie Powell added 12 points and six assists. Saul Phiri added a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds. La Salle was still without the A-10’s leading scorer, B.J. Johnson, causing the Explorers to play six guys. I don’t care who you’re playing, it is hard to win playing with six guys. Fordham (6-13, 1-6 A-10) was led by Will Tavares with 18 points and seven rebounds. I saw Tavares play against Davidson and he is a very athletic slasher who finishes well at the rim. The difference in this game was a 19-3 run made by the Explorers late in the first half. It was even other than that big run. This win by La Salle was Dr. John Giannini’s 500th win. Click HERE for highlights. Dr. John Giannini’s post-game press conference can be seen HERE.
George Washington 80, George Mason 68: Charles E. Smith Center, Washington D.C.
George Washington (9-10, 2-4 A-10) finished the first half on a 15-1 run on their way to a win against George Mason (9-10, 3-3 A-10). The Colonials were led by Yuta Watanabe with 19 points. Bo Zeigler and Terry Nolan added 18 points each. Despite shooting 51.1%, George Mason committed 18 turnovers. Goanar Mar led the way for the Patriots with 17 points and seven rebounds. Jaire Grayer posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Mason had four players with at least three turnovers. It’s tough to win ball games if there are this many turnovers. The Colonials started out hot, jumping out to a 22-7 lead, en-route to a 15-point lead at the break. Mason couldn’t make a run in the second half, leading to a Colonials victory. Click HERE for highlights.
Richmond 67, VCU 52: Siegel Center, Richmond, Virginia
Richmond (6-13, 4-3 A-10) used their defense to pull off a nice win against cross-town rival VCU (12-8, 4-3 A-10). The Spiders were led by Grant Golden with 17 points and six rebounds. Jacob Gilyard played like a veteran putting up 11 points and eight assists. Gilyard, a 5’9″ guard, stated after the game that Richmond can compete with anyone in the league if they “focus in and lock in from the jump.” He is absolutely correct. Both Golden and Gilyard, who are both freshmen, are the future of this program. They are already making huge strides in their young college careers. Justin Tillman led the Rams with 12 points and nine rebounds. Richmond held VCU to 34.4% shooting and 17.4% from three. The Spiders out-rebounded VCU by 10 as well. This was a great and very important road win for Richmond. Click HERE for highlights. Chris Mooney’s post-game press conference can be seen HERE.
Rhode Island 73, Massachusetts 51: Ryan Center, Kingston, Rhode Island
Rhode Island (15-3, 7-0 A-10) jumped out to a 24-8 lead against Massachusetts (10-10, 3-4 A-10) leading to an easy win to stay undefeated in the A-10. Jared Terrell led the Rams with 24 points, five rebounds and three steals. Stanford Robinson added 17 points and 12 rebounds. The Rams had 17 assists on 25 made baskets. They also forced 19 turnovers. Luwane Pipkins led UMass with 13 points and four assists. Rhode Island did a great job of keeping him in check, keeping him to 5 of 17 (29.4%) shooting from the field. But honestly, Pipkins has been so hot lately, he was due for a bad game. The Ryan Center is a very tough arena to play in and when Rhode Island is playing this well, they are unbeatable at home.
Saint Louis 76, Duquesne 63: Chaifetz Arena, St. Louis, Missouri
Before this game, I saw that Saint Louis (10-10, 3-4 A-10) was favored over Duquesne (14-6, 5-2 A-10) and I was shocked. D.J. Foreman led the Billikens with a career-high 21 points and eight rebounds. Davell Roby became the 31st member of Saint Louis’ 1,000-point club with his nine points. Javon Bess added 14 points. Jordan Goodwin put up 13 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists. This was the first triple-double in school history. For the Dukes, Rene Castro-Caneddy led the team with 21 points. Eric Williams Jr. had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Saint Louis held Mike Lewis II (16.0 PPG) to 3 of 12 shooting. The Billikens were up by 23 with about eight minutes left so this game really wasn’t very close.
Davidson 83, St. Bonaventure 73: Belk Arena, Davidson, North Carolina
This sold out crowd witnessed a shootout. In what was known as “Black Out Belk,” both teams combined for 57 threes attempted in this one. Davidson (10-7, 5-1 A-10) was led by Peyton Aldridge with 25 points and nine rebounds. Jon Axel Gudmundsson added 21 points, nine assists and four rebounds. Kellan Grady contributed 16 points. Matt Mobley led St. Bonaventure (12-6, 2-4 A-10) with 25 points, four rebounds and four assists. Jaylen Adams added 18 points and five rebounds. The Wildcats shot 14 of 33 from three (42.4%) and a staggering 70% from inside the arc. Both teams started out hot from three, combining for 14 made threes in the first half in a back and forth game. Davidson led by four at the half. The second half was more of the same until about the eight-minute mark when Davidson went on a small run to take an 11 point lead. The Bonnies never got the score below six after that. This was a very physical game with guys diving for loose balls, hard fouls, and guys getting a little chippy. These two teams have a history of very close games and this one was no different. St. Bonaventure has had a very tough league schedule to this point. Going to Rhode Island, Davidson, Dayton and St. Joe’s is no easy feat. They lost all four. The Bonnies have an opportunity to get themselves towards the top of the standings within the next couple of weeks as they play teams who are struggling a bit. Davidson has won five straight league games as they look to keep rolling. Click HERE for highlights. Bob McKillop’s post-game comments can be heard HERE.
VCU 87, George Washington 63: Siegel Center, Richmond, Virginia
VCU (12-8, 4-3 A-10) bounced back after a tough loss with a blowout win over George Washington (9-11, 2-5 A-10). As usual, Justin Tillman led the way for the Rams with 18 points and eight rebounds. De’Riante Jenkins added 18 points. Marcus Santos-Silva, a freshman, came off the bench and put up 11 points and five rebounds in 13 minutes of play. The Rams shot a sizzling hot 55.8% from the field. George Washington was led by Yuta Watanabe with 19 points. Terry Nolan added another 18 points. After a very even first half, VCU outscored the Colonials by 20 in the second half leading to a nice win for Mike Rhoades and the Rams. Click HERE for highlights. Watch Rhoades’ post-game comments HERE.
Rhode Island 88, Dayton 74: UD Arena, Dayton, Ohio
This Rhody team is really good. Rhode Island (15-3, 7-0 A-10) had a 50-point first half in their win over Dayton (9-10, 3-4 A-10). Jared Terrell led the Rams with 24 points, hitting three triples. E.C. Matthews had a bit of an off-shooting day (5-14), still putting up 17 points and seven rebounds. The Flyers were led by Josh Cunningham, who could not be stopped, with 32 points and 12 rebounds. The game was tied at 38 with four minutes to go in the first when the Rams when on a 12-5 run to end the half. Rhode Island slowly extended their lead to 16 at one point late in the second half leading to their win. The Rams remain the only team undefeated in conference play. The key to Rhode Island’s success is good coaching and experience. Terrell, Matthews, Jarvis Garrett and Stanford Robinson are all seniors leading the way, and they all know their roles. Rhode Island becomes the first team in the A-10 this year to be ranked (24), according to the AP. Click HERE for Dayton highlights. Dayton head coach Anthony Grant’s post-game interview can be seen HERE.
Saint Joseph’s 68, Fordham 46: Hagan Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
After a very close first half, St. Joseph’s (9-9, 4-3 A-10) pulled away in the second half as they gave Fordham (6-13, 1-6 A-10) their sixthth loss in league play. The Hawks were led by James Demery who had 25 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Pierfrancesco Oliva added 22 points and eight rebounds for St. Joe’s. Prokop Slanina and Joseph Chartouny each had 11 points in the loss. Both teams shot well under 40% in the first half, along with going a combined 8 for 32 from three. Fordham averages 61.6 points per game and their scoring woes continued in the second half, as they only scored 19 points. St. Joe’s scored 40 in the second, making this game a blowout. The Hawks ended the game on a 15-2 run leading to a nice win for St. Joe’s. Click HERE for highlights.
Saint Louis 66, Massachusetts 47: Mullins Center, Amherst, Massachusetts
Saint Louis (10-10, 3-4 A-10) picked up a nice road win as they took down UMass (10-10, 3-4 A-10). Jordan Goodwin continues to dominate as he put up 19 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Hasahn French put up 12 points and 10 rebounds. After dropping two in a row, the Billikens have won two in a row, both of which I predicted they would lose. If Goodwin keeps putting up these types of numbers, Saint Louis will not be an easy team to beat. In addition to only letting up 47 points, they shot a very efficient 51.8% from the field. Luwane Pipkins lead the Minutemen with 17 points and four rebounds. Carl Pierre added 13 points and two steals. Saint Louis did a good job of keeping Pipkins in check, keeping him to 6/15 shooting. In the first half, the game was tied at 23 with 5:33 left in the first half. The Billikens then went on a 15-4 run to take an 11-point lead at the break. Saint Louis allowed 20 points in the second half, leading to a great win.
Richmond 81, La Salle 74: Robins Center, Richmond, Virginia
Despite B.J. Johnson returning from injury, Richmond (6-13, 4-3 A-10) picked up its third straight win as they took down La Salle (8-12, 2-5 A-10). The Spiders were led by Grant Golden and Nick Sherod who both had 18 points. Khwan Fore added another 14 points. The Explorers were led by B.J. Johnson who had 27 points and eight rebounds. The talented lefty and A-10’s leading scorer returned to the court after being sidelined for a few weeks due to an ankle injury. Isiah Deas contributed 18 points and nine rebounds. After La Salle’s Tony Washington made a game-tying layup with 1:28 left in the game, Nick Sherod hit a three for Richmond as they took a three-point lead with about a minute left. During the next possession, Pookie Powell turned the ball over, leading to a three by Jacob Gilyard. This game was decided by two clutch threes made by the Spiders in the last minute of the game. That is what I call a thriller. Click HERE for highlights.
Duquesne 95, George Mason 89 (2OT) : Palumbo Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
It took two overtimes to determine the outcome in this one. Duquesne (14-6, 5-2 A-10) continued their miracle season with a win over a tough George Mason (9-11, 3-4 A-10) team. Eric Williams Jr. put up a career-high 34 points and 11 rebounds, including nine threes for the Dukes. Mike Lewis II added 20 points. For the Patriots, Justin Kier poured in a career-high 27 points. Jaire Grayer added 22 points and 15 rebounds for Mason. A Lewis three and a Lewis layup in consecutive possessions brought the Duquesne lead to 10 with nine minutes to go in the game, and it looked over. George Mason fought right back. The Patriots went on a 19-9 run to tie the game at 71 with 1:17 to go. With 25 seconds to go, Mason went ahead by three by hitting a few free throws. Then with six seconds to go, Eric Williams Jr. hit a three to tie the game and head to overtime. In overtime, the Dukes were up seven with 1:27 to go. It looked over to me, but in this league no lead is safe. With one minute to go, Ian Boyd made a three to cut the deficit to four. Mason got a stop. Then a three by Grayer to cut the deficit to one. Eric Williams Jr. of Duquesne got fouled and was heading to the line for two shots. He missed the first and made the second. Duquesne had a two-point lead, until Justin Kier drove to the rim, hit a layup, and sent the game to a second OT. With one-minute left to go in double-OT, Jaire Grayer hit a three to tie the game at 89. Williams Jr. came right back and hit a three of his own to give Duquesne a three-point lead. The Dukes hit a couple free throws and didn’t allow another point. What a game. Click HERE for highlights.
Conference Standings as of 1/23/18:
- #24 Rhode Island 15-3 (7-0)
- Davidson 10-7 (5-1)
- Duquesne 14-6 (5-2)
- VCU 12-8 (4-3)
- St. Joseph’s 9-9 (4-3)
- Richmond 6-13 (4-3)
- George Mason 9-11 (3-4)
- Saint Louis 10-10 (3-4)
- Massachusetts 10-10 (3-4)
- Dayton 9-10 (3-4)
- St. Bonaventure 12-6 (2-4)
- George Washington 9-11 (2-4)
- La Salle 8-12 (2-5)
- Fordham 6-13 (1-6)
Games this week:
1/23: Davidson @ Dayton 7PM on CBSSN
1/23: VCU @ Saint Louis 9PM on CBSSN
1/24: Richmond @ Duquesne 7PM on A-10 Network
1/24: #24 Rhode Island @ Fordham 7PM on Stadium
1/24: St. Joseph’s @ St. Bonaventure 7PM on NBCSN
1/24: Massachusetts @ La Salle 7PM on A-10 Network
1/27: Duquesne @ #24 Rhode Island 12PM on NBCSN
1/27: VCU @ George Mason 2PM on CBSSN
1/27: Massachusetts @ Fordham 2PM on NBCSN
1/27: Dayton @ Saint Louis 4PM on CBSSN
1/27: St. Joseph’s @ Pennsylvania (non-conference) 7PM on NBC Sports Philly/Ivy League Network
1/28: George Washington @ St. Bonaventure 12PM on NBCSN
1/28: Richmond @ Davidson 2PM on NBCSN