Written by: Ryan Cunningham
Rhode Island secured the outright regular season Atlantic 10 championship with a win over Dayton. This was their first regular season title since the 1980-1981 season. One thing to look for this upcoming week is the #4 spot. Seeds 1, 2 and 3 are secured by Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure and Davidson. As of today, Saint Louis holds the 4 spot. If Saint Louis wins out, they get the 4 seed. They have to go to Duquesne and then host St. Bonaventure. Those are no cake walks. VCU, George Mason and St. Joseph’s are all 8-8, so they have to win a game or two and depend on 1 or 2 Saint Louis losses in order to have a chance of getting a double-bye and the 4 seed. Another area to watch this week is the #2 seed. St. Bonaventure hosts Davidson tonight. If Davidson wins, they will have the 2 seed because the Wildcats beat the Bonnies earlier this year in North Carolina, and will own the tiebreaker if that occurs. If Bona wins, Davidson will have to beat Rhode Island at home and depend on a loss from Bonaventure at Saint Louis to tie. We’ll find out after the last game who owns that tiebreaker. Whatever happens, both of these teams will wait until Friday to play in D.C. because they still have the double-bye. It’s going to be an exciting week ahead, but first, let’s take a look at what happened last week in the conference.
#18 Rhode Island 95, La Salle 93 (OT): Tom Gola Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Rhode Island (23-4, 15-1 A-10) survived a scare on the road against La Salle (12-17, 6-10 A-10). Jeff Dowtin led the Rams with 25 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds. Stanford Robinson added 20 points and 7 rebounds. B.J. Johnson led La Salle with 29 points and 23 rebounds. Saul Phiri added 16 points and 6 rebounds. This game was crazy. Near the end of regulation, Dowtin hit a layup to put Rhode Island up by three. Then, La Salle went to the free throw line with three seconds to go. Pookie Powell made the first, and intentionally missed the second to possibly get a tip in to tie the game. Luck was on their side. Tony Washington got the rebound and put it in to tie the game, sending the game to overtime. Overtime was back and forth for most of the period, but Rhode Island eventually pulled away at the end with a few big shots and free throws. Click HERE for highlights.
Dayton 53, Saint Louis 50: UD Arena, Dayton, Ohio
Dayton (13-15, 7-9 A-10) overcame a nine-point halftime deficit to defeat Saint Louis (16-13, 9-7 A-10) at home. Trey Landers led the Flyers with 13 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Kostas Antetokounmpo, brother of the Greek Freak, added 12 points off the bench. Hasahn French, who has been on a tear as of late, put up 20 points to lead Saint Louis. Davell Roby added 11 points. Saint Louis had a very good start to the game and throughout the first 10 minutes of the second half, but Dayton used their home crowd to push them over the finish line. Jalen Crutcher hit a free throw to put Dayton up by three with seven seconds left, but missed the second. Saint Louis had a chance to tie the game, but couldn’t convert. Click HERE for highlights.
Davidson 76, Fordham 52: Belk Arena, Davidson, North Carolina
Davidson (17-10, 12-4 A-10) won their third in a row in an easy home win over Fordham (9-19, 4-12 A-10). Kellan Grady led the Wildcats with 28 points and 5 rebounds. Peyton Aldridge added 16 points and 12 rebounds. Aldridge became the fifth player in Davidson history to score 2,000 points. He joins 1965 1st overall pick Fred Hetzel, John Gerdy, Stephen Curry and Jack Gibbs. Joseph Chartouny led Fordham with 19 points, 5 rebounds and 5 steals. Prokop Slanina added 12 points and 4 rebounds. Davidson got out to an early lead in this one and coasted to a victory. One stat that stands out to me is that they only attempted 12 threes. They are clearly known for their three point shooting, but they were taking what the defense was giving them. Especially in the second half, I felt like Davidson players, Grady in particular, were going right by guys for wide open layups. Davidson shot a whopping 79% from inside the three-point arc. Bob McKillop always stresses taking what the defense is giving them, and they did that tonight. Click HERE for highlights.
St. Bonaventure 73, Duquesne 67: Reilly Center, Olean, New York
St. Bonaventure (22-6, 12-4 A-10) won their ninth in a row in a tough home win over Duquesne (15-14, 6-10 A-10). The Bonnies haven’t lost since 1/19 at Davidson. Jaylen Adams led Bona with 24 points, 5 assists and 4 steals. Amadi Ikpeze added 13 points and 10 rebounds. Eric Williams Jr. led Duquesne with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals. Rene Castro-Caneddy added 15 points. Duquesne came within two with 1:35 left in the game, until Bonaventure came up with a few key stops and key scores. Most importantly, they hit their free throws. Neither team shot well from the three point line, which is what these teams specialize in. The Bonnies hit 29 of their 33 free throw attempts (88%). Click HERE for highlights.
George Mason 79, Saint Joseph’s 76: Hagan Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
George Mason (14-15, 8-8 A-10) hit a game-winning three pointer to secure their road win over St. Joseph’s (13-15, 8-8 A-10). Justin Kier led Mason with 19 points and 5 rebounds. Goanar Mar added 16 points and 6 rebounds. Shavar Newkirk led the Hawks with 23 points. Chris Clover added 21 points and 5 rebounds. After trailing by 11 at half, St. Joe’s hit a free throw with six seconds left to tie up the game. Livingston brought the ball up the floor, was triple teamed, and the ball went loose. Ian Boyd picked it up, fired it up, and hit a buzzer beater to win the game by three. This was George Mason’s third win in their last four. Click HERE for the video of the buzzer beater.
George Washington 103, Richmond 77: Charles E. Smith Center, Washington D.C.
George Washington (13-16, 6-10 A-10) out-scored Richmond by 29 in the first half leading to an easy win over Richmond (9-18, 7-8 A-10). Yuta Watanabe led the Colonials with 23 points and 5 rebounds. Arnaldo Toro added 16 points and 10 rebounds. De’Monte Buckingham led Richmond with 21 points and 5 assists. Grant Golden added 11 points and 6 rebounds. GW was 10/14 from the three point line. Overall, they shot 42/61 (69%) from the field. Hitting 42 shots in a basketball game is just ridiculous. They hit just over one shot per minute, which is unprecedented. They had six guys in double figures, so it wasn’t just Watanabe. Just about any team in this league can light it up, and this game proves that. Click HERE for highlights.
VCU 82, Massachusetts 78: Mullins Center, Amherst, Massachusetts
VCU (16-13, 8-8 A-10) snapped a two-game skid with a road win over Massachusetts (11-18, 4-12 A-10). Justin Tillman led the Rams with 26 points and 13 rebounds. De’Riante Jenkins added 17 points and 4 assists. Luwane Pipkins led UMass with 38 points and 6 assists, including 8 threes. C.J. Anderson added 15 points and 6 assists. VCU shot a very efficient 54% from the field, including 41% from three. After an Anderson free throw with seven minutes to go, the Rams went on an 8-0 run and never trailed again. Click HERE for highlights.
#18 Rhode Island 81, Dayton 56: Ryan Center, Kingston, Rhode Island
Rhode Island (23-4, 15-1 A-10) secured the outright Atlantic 10 regular season championship in a blowout win over Dayton (13-15, 7-9 A-10). This is Rhode Island’s first outright A-10 championship in the conference. They shared the regular season title in the 1980-1981 season with Duquesne. Jeff Dowtin led Rhody with 20 points and 5 assists. E.C. Matthews added 18 points and 5 rebounds. Jalen Crutcher led Dayton with 12 points and 4 rebounds. Trey Landers added 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Rams forced 22 turnovers in this one. Rhode Island remains undefeated at home this season (15-0). Click HERE for highlights.
Davidson 71, Duquesne 60: Palumbo Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Davidson (17-10, 12-4 A-10) overcame a Duquesne (15-14, 6-10 A-10) hot start to secure a road win for the Wildcats. This win also secured a top-four finish and a double-bye in the Atlantic 10 tournament for them. Kellan Grady led Davidson with 30 points. Peyton Aldridge added 17 points and 10 rebounds. Mike Lewis II led Duquesne with 15 points. Eric Williams Jr. added 12 points and 6 rebounds. This was Duquesne’s senior day so they were going to come out playing hard and executing. They jumped out to a 10-0 lead which forced Bob McKillop to call a timeout. A Lewis three pointer made the lead 23-12. From this point on, Davidson settled in and eventually took a two-point lead at halftime. Davidson slowly built their lead late in the second half securing the victory. Click HERE for highlights.
La Salle 73, Fordham 60: Rose Hill Gymnasium, Bronx, New York
La Salle (12-17, 6-10 A-10) jumped out to a 21-point halftime lead paving the way for their win over Fordham (9-19, 4-12 A-10). B.J. Johnson led the Explorers with 23 points and 9 rebounds. Amar Stukes added 16 points and 4 assists. Will Tavares led Fordham with 19 points and 6 rebounds. Prokop Slanina added 16 points. La Salle shot 50% from the field and 41% from three. They held Fordham to 41% shooting and 27% from three. They out-rebounded the Rams 41-27, including 10 offensive rebounds. Fordham had no answer for La Salle’s starting five. 4 out of the 5 starters were in double figures for the Explorers. B.J. Johnson reached 1,000 points for his career in this game. Click HERE for highlights.
George Mason 78, Massachusetts 76 (OT): EagleBank Arena, Fairfax, Virginia
George Mason (14-15, 8-8 A-10) blew a 16-point halftime lead, but found a way to win in overtime over Massachusetts (11-18, 4-12). Otis Livingston II led the way for the Patriots with 22 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds. Jaire Grayer added 18 points and 10 rebounds. C.J. Anderson led UMass with 21 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Carl Pierre added 15 points. Luwane Pipkins missed the game with a concussion. This team is already limited in terms of numbers, and to lose Pipkins is a huge blow. UMass hung tough in this one. After trailing by 16 at the break, they forced overtime. With one second to go in the second half, Mason was down by three. Goanar Mar shot up a three to tie it, and was fouled. The freshman hit all three free throws and sent the game to overtime. With five seconds to go in overtime, Anderson hit a layup to tie the game for UMass. At the buzzer, Ian Boyd hit a left-handed layup to win the game by two. Click HERE to see the game winner.
St. Joseph’s 72, Richmond 70: Robins Center, Richmond, Virginia
St. Joseph’s (13-15, 8-8 A-10) picked up a huge road win over Richmond (9-19, 7-9 A-10). Nick Robinson led St. Joe’s with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Shavar Newkirk added 18 points. Nick Sherod led Richmond with 20 points and 5 rebounds. Grant Golden added 16 points and 6 rebounds. A 6-0 run by the Hawks with six minutes left may look small, but it gave them a six-point lead and they never trailed again. With eight seconds to go, Buckingham had a tip in shot to bring the game within two. With seven seconds to go, James Demery of St. Joe’s turned the ball over, giving Richmond an opportunity to tie or win the game. Sherod missed a three-point jumper to win the game, giving the Hawks the win.
Saint Louis 62, George Washington 53: Chaifetz Arena, St. Louis, Missouri
Saint Louis (16-13, 9-7 A-10) kept their chances of getting a top-four seed alive with a home win over George Washington (13-16, 6-10 A-10). The Billikens control their own destiny concluding the regular season. If they win out, they will receive a double-bye and the #4 seed. Jalen Johnson led Saint Louis with 20 points and 6 rebounds. Hasahn French added 16 points and 8 rebounds. Yuta Watanabe led GW with 15 points and 4 rebounds. Arnaldo Toro added 14 points and 16 rebounds. Both teams struggled to shoot it in this one. It was a defensive battle. Saint Louis got more stops, holding GW to 34% shooting overall.
St. Bonaventure 68, VCU 63: Siegel Center, Richmond, Virginia
St. Bonaventure (22-6, 12-4 A-10) won their 10th in a row in a win over VCU (16-13, 8-8 A-10) in a very tough environment. Courtney Stockard led the Bonnies with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Jaylen Adams added 21 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. Justin Tillman led VCU with 20 points and 10 rebounds. De’Riante Jenkins added 10 points and 4 rebounds. Both teams did a good job of forcing turnovers. Bona and VCU had 17 turnovers and 18 turnovers respectively. VCU’s Jonathan Williams made a layup with 1:26 to go cutting the deficit to one. The next possession, Stockard hit a dagger three to pretty much put away the game. Click HERE for highlights.
Conference Standings as of 2/27/18:
- #17 Rhode Island 23-4 (15-1)
- Davidson 17-10 (12-4)
- St. Bonaventure 22-6 (12-4)
- Saint Louis 16-13 (9-7)
- VCU 16-13 (8-8)
- George Mason 14-15 (8-8)
- St. Joseph’s 13-15 (8-8)
- Dayton 13-15 (7-9)
- Richmond 9-19 (7-9)
- Duquesne 15-14 (6-10)
- George Washington 13-16 (6-10)
- La Salle 12-17 (6-10)
- Massachusetts 11-18 (4-12)
- Fordham 9-19 (4-12)
Games this week:
2/27: St. Joseph’s @ #17 Rhode Island 7PM on CBSSN
2/27: Davidson @ St. Bonaventure 9PM on CBSSN
2/28: Dayton @ La Salle 7PM on A-10 Network
2/28: Saint Louis @ Duquesne 7PM on Stadium
2/28: Fordham @ George Washington 7PM on A-10 Network
2/28: George Mason @ VCU 7PM on A-10 Network
2/28: Massachusetts @ Richmond 7PM on A-10 Network
3/02: #17 Rhode Island @ Davidson 8PM on CBSSN
3/03: VCU @ Fordham 2PM on A-10 Network
3/03: La Salle @ St. Joseph’s 2PM on Facebook
3/03: George Washington @ Dayton 3PM on NBCSN
3/03: Richmond @ George Mason 7PM on A-10 Network
3/03: Duquesne @ Massachusetts 8PM on A-10 Network
3/03: St. Bonaventure @ Saint Louis 8PM on A-10 Network