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Kevin Anderson again was spectacular as the Richmond Spiders were crowned Atlantic-10 conference champions beating the Dayton Flyers 67-54. Anderson scored a game high 23 points and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
The win gives Richmond the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
As the tournament concludes I have pieced together an SB Nation award ceremony for the best and worst performances.
Best Team: Temple University. Surprise! Temple, as I mentioned before, is the most consistent team in the A-10. A poor shooting night prevented them from reaching the conference final for the fourth straight year. Come NCAA tournament time, few mid majors have a chance to excel like the Owls.
Best Overall Player: Kevin Anderson, University of Richmond. Anderson is the quickest player in the A-10 and MVP of the conference tournament. He put on a show this weekend, attacking the rim and knocking down big shot after big shot. His speed makes him nearly impossible to trap.
Unfortunately his size limits him in terms of draftability. Listed at a generous 6’0” he may lack the height needed to compete with the “new breed” of NBA point guards. His quickness and ability to finish will definitely give him a shot.
Best Coach: I have to go with Chris Mooney of Richmond on this one. Mooney, a Phelan Coach of the Year finalist guided the Spiders to an A-10 Championship. Along with his ability to win big games, Mooney has the respect and admiration of his players. This was no more evident then it was at the end of the A-10 Final when player after player walked off the floor and embraced their coach.
Since I am a ridiculous homer, I am giving an honorable mention to Temple coach Fran Dunphy.
From my vantage point I could see directly into the huddles of several teams. Some were disorganized with players and coaches yelling at each other. Others were calm and disciplined, with a coach speaking while the players listened.
Temple’s huddle was the latter.
Best Coaching Staff: I’m going with Dayton here, based strictly on pure volume. I think Brian Gregory is a great coach and his staff does a terrific job…And by staff I mean STAFF! It looked like there were two of everything on Dayton’s coaching staff. Two coaches standing up, two coaches sitting down, two writing down stats, two checking stats, and four managers standing a foot away from my ears yelling instructions for the full 40 minutes.
Annoying? Yes…Very. However, they do not realize I will be heading to Dayton during final exams with a megaphone to yell “RED,” “MAYDAY,” and “HIGH HAND” at 2am in front of their dorm rooms.
Best NBA Prospect: Chris Wright. Wright has the height, athleticism, and explosiveness to succeed at the NBA level. Not to mention the way he fills out a stat sheet. He led Dayton this year with 13 points and 8 rebounds per game.
He needs to work on his ability to finish the ball if he wants scouts to stand up and take notice, but his attributes alone make him a desirable NBA prospect.
Justin Harper of Richmond deserves an honorable mention in this category. Harper, another high flying senior wing, has exploded onto the draft scene this year and his play at the A-10 tournament certainly will help his NBA status.
Best Story: This one could have been between two teams; St. Joseph’s and Dayton. Both were underdogs coming into the tournament needing a win on their opponent’s home floor in order to advance to Atlantic City. I have to give the edge to St. Joe’s.
Dayton did enter the A-10 Tournament as the 9th seed, however they were 19-12 this season. In most conferences that‘s a 1st-3rd seed. St. Joe’s entered the tournament as the 12th and final seed, after a 9-21 regular season.
Six of the seven players who contributed most this season are underclassmen. Of those six only one is a sophomore. That is what makes their run to the semi-finals all the more impressive. St. Joe’s are young, talented, and now experienced. They are a team to look out for in college basketball next year.
Best Fans: Temple. The prop “big heads” were a hot commodity for the Temple Owls fans this year in Atlantic City. Everyone from coaches to the last player on the bench had a giant head floating around the student section. From hilarious signs, (Vamos Juan!) to dancing trombone players, the student section was the largest and loudest.
Best Mascot: “Duke” the mascot for Duquesne University. Duke took center stage during the Dukes only game of the tournament impressing the crowd with his wide array of dance moves. I believe at one point I saw him doing the “Dougie”. (Before John Wall, I had no idea what the “Dougie” was. I still don’t…Someone please tell me. It’s an energy drink right?)
Worst Mascot: I was not going to give out any negative awards until I saw “Spidey”, the mascot for Richmond. Throughout the weekend some mascots were good, some decent and just one…the void of rhythm. Spiders are known for their agility and quickness. Spidey would make his arachnid brethren wince. His jerky motions made Elaine Benes look like J-Lo. He reminded me of that drunk guy you see dancing horribly at a wedding and saying to yourself, “Wow that guy is hammered!” (Is that you in there Matt?)
The costume itself also left a little to be desired. Not many folks can pull off a cape with a sideways hat and converse, and Spidey was no exception.
(Dayton’s mascot receives honorable mention in the “poor dancing ability” category as well.)
So there you have it. A final recap of an exciting week of basketball at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Be sure to follow the action next weekend as several A-10 teams look to win the grand prize, NCAA Championship.
Yesterday Philadelphia was eliminated from the Atlantic 10 Tournament as Temple University and St. Joseph's both lost in the semifinals. This was the first time since 2007 that a representative from Philly missed out on a conference title.
This now creates a cluster of teams from the A-10 with aspirations of playing in the NCAA tournament.
Xavier and Temple should have already had their tickets punched by the selection committee prior to the start of the tournament. However with both of the front runners losing, and Richmond advancing to the final, one would think the Spiders now are going dancing.
That's what makes today's game all the more interesting. If Dayton ends up continuing their improbable run with a win, would the selection committee grant access to four A-10 teams? Does this mean a bubble team like Villanova would be left out in the cold? I can imagine smirks coming across the Temple fans faces right now. Their loss may have paved the way for Villanova in the NIT.
All hypothesizing aside, the Richmond Spiders will take on the Dayton Flyers in an exciting A-10 final in Atlantic City's historic Boardwalk Hall.
If I were a betting man...and I'm not, (I have been in Atlantic City for three days without placing a single bet) I would give the advantage to Richmond. The reason is simple; Dayton today will play their fourth game in six days. Richmond still is relatively fresh having had a first round bye.
Dayton however, has been the underdog in their three previous games as well. If college basketball has taught me anything, it's that strange things happen in March.
This will be an interesting match up between senior forwards Chris Wright and Justin Harper. Both have played exceptionally well this weekend. Chris Wright, in my opinion, is one of just a few NBA ready players I have seen this weekend.
Winner gets an automatic bid today as #9 Dayton takes on #3 Richmond in Atlantic City for the Atlantic 10 Championship.
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - Four the first time in four years the Temple Owls will not be crowned Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament champions as the Richmond Spiders were able to knock them off 58-54.
The Owls' poor shooting combined with timely baskets by Richmond's Kevin Anderson and Justin Harper were their undoing.
Anderson led all scorers with 22 points including several crucial jumpers in the game's waning moments. Harper has 18 points of his own.
All other Richmond players scored a combined 18 points.
Temple shot 35 percent from the floor (20 of 57) and all too often settled for contest three-point attempts. The Owls connected on just 28 percent from distance (7 of 25).
Juan Fernandez was the biggest culprit when it came to forcing bad shots. He was driving the ball and looking for contact rather than working for a better look.
Fernandez's final shooting numbers: seven points on 3 of 17 shooting and 1 of 7 from beyond the arc.
He did do some fine work setting up teammates as he dished out a career-high 10 assists. More deferrals from Fernandez would have probably gone a long way in changing the outcome of the game. The junior guard also pulled down a season-high seven rebounds.
Ramone Moore was another Owl who struggled shooting the ball as he collected 11 points on 4 of 12 shooting. The Philadelphia native made just 1 of his 5 three-point attempts.
Khalif Wyatt led the Owls with 15 points off the bench on 5 of 11 shooting but it was his attempt to draw a foul with 34 seconds remaining that nailed Temple's casket shut.
Instead of getting fouled, Richmond's Francis-Cedric Martel was able to steal the ball away which forced Wyatt to put him on the line intentionally. Martel made both free-throws to extend the Spiders' lead to three, 57-54, with 28 seconds to go.
The Owls went into halftime with a 31-30 lead which was impressive due to the fact that they were forced to battle through some serious foul trouble in the first half as Rahlir Jefferson was whistled for three infractions and Lavoy Allen two.
The Owls were able to hold a lead despite running a five guard offense for long periods in the game's opening 20 minutes.
Allen was the lone bright spot for the Owls as he extended his double-double streak to seven games with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Now Temple has to play the waiting game as they will find out tomorrow night where the Selection Committee will seed them.
The Hawk will never die. That is the motto St. Joe’s fans live by. Although the Hawk lives on, their season does not.
The Hawks have been playing on borrowed time throughout the past week. With a 9-21 record coming into the A-10 Tournament, not many people could have seen this coming. Yet the Hawks knocked off the four seed George Washington and five seed Duquesne.
Another A-10 Cinderella, the ninth seeded Dayton Flyers, were also underrated coming into the tournament. After defeating top seeded Xavier yesterday, they rode the momentum into today’s game and now, into the final.
Dayton were paced by Chris Wright who put up an impressive double double with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Wright put on a show with his Andre Iguodala like quickness and athleticism.
After jumping to an early 6-2 lead, the Flyers cruised through most of the game, holding off various St. Joe’s runs. Chris Johnson led all scorers with 19 points for the Flyers.
St. Joe’s went on a 5-0 run late in the second half making the fans from nearby Philadelphia rise to their feet. It was unfortunately too little too late.
St. Joe’s can hold their heads high. After a dismal regular season their young group finally put it together. The future looks bright for the Hawks as they return the majority of their squad next year.
The reigning NIT Champion Dayton Flyers will now take on the winner of the Temple/Richmond game in the A-10 final tomorrow at 1pm.
When Nucky Thompson (Enuch Johnson) built Boardwalk Hall with his bare hands, (Also incorrect) I'm sure he envisioned a day like today. (This statement has no historical accuracy whatsoever. My knowledge of the "Prohibition Era" consists of episodes of Boardwalk Empire.) The Atlantic-10 tournament arrived at this historic hall and did not disappoint.
With all three Philadelphia teams advancing to the second round, this had the makings of a possible Big Five showdown in the final. Although, for this to happen there would need to be upsets. And this Friday, upsets set the tone.
Xavier the top seed in the A-10 were caught off guard early by the Flyers of Dayton who took a nine point lead into the half. Xavier improved their play in the second half, but not enough as they were downed to 9th seed Dayton 68-67.
The key to Dayton's victory came on the glass. Dayton out rebounded the bigger Xavier 32-24. This was puzzling to me considering the size of Xavier forward Kenny Frease. As big as he looks on TV...he looks bigger in person. He is listed at 7'0" and 269 lbs, but with a neck he might pass for 7'2".
Junior forward Luke Fabrizius ended up being the hero for the Flyers as he buried two free throws with six seconds remaining to give Dayton a one point lead. And that is how it ended.
Continuing with the upset trend that dominated the early going of this tournament, 12 seeded St. Joe's knocked off #4 Duquesne 93-90.
Within the first five minutes I was calling my wife and asking her to schedule a chiropractor appointment for me. The two teams combined for 10 turnovers during that stretch.
The game settled into a back and forth battle for the remainder of the game. St. Joe's had nothing to lose and played like it. Every Duquesne run was met with an off-balance, shot-clock beating basket by St. Joes.
In the win head coach Phil Martelli recorded his 300th career victory.
The upset wagon then headed out of Boardwalk Hall for the evening as cross town rivals Temple and La Salle took the court. Temple jumped out to an early lead and did not look back as they went on to win 96-76. It was one of Temple's best offensive showings of the year as five players scored in double figures.
I have not hid my devotion to Temple basketball very well. I am supposed to remain impartial, however I am a fan of the Owls. Understand...my brother played for Fran Dunphy at U Penn and Ramone Moore is the starting two guard on my summer league team. If I wasn't partial to them I'd be turning my back on family...and the Unum summer league team of the Delco Pro Am.
The final game of the evening was a gritty affair. I'm not sure if it was because of the late start, or the distance both teams traveled, but the players from Richmond and Rhode Island were MAAAAAD.
Between players yelling at the refs, coaches yelling at the refs, refs yelling at the coaches, players yelling at the coaches, players yelling at the opponents, players yelling at each other and players yelling at me, (kidding) I was sure the angry looking security officer with the mustache may be needed to breakup a scrum.
This game was a sloppy, hard nosed affair that saw the Spiders of Richmond advance to the semi finals with a 55-45 victory. Senior guard Kevin Anderson led the Spiders with 21 points.
Tomorrow St. Joe's plays Dayton and Temple will take on Richmond. Philadelphia has a chance to send two teams into the A-10 final for the first time since 2008.
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - It was close for a while and then it wasn't. Then it kind of was. And then Temple blew the Explorers out of Boardwalk Hall.
The Owls advanced to the semi-finals of the Atlantic 10 tournament four the fourth consecutive year after a 96-76 victory over the upset minded Explorers on Friday night.
The win was Temple's 10th consecutive A10 tournament triumph. They have not lost a game in Atlantic City since 2007 when they were bounced by St. Joseph's in the first round.
The Owls had five double-digit scorers led by Ramone Moore's game-high 23 points. The junior guard went 9 of 14 from the floor and also pulled down four board and dished out three assists.
As has become the norm, Lavoy Allen collected his 11th double-double of the year with 14 points and 12 rebounds. His double-double streak is now at six games.
The first team All-Conference selection also had a game-high six assists to go along with four steals and three blocks.
Khalif Wyatt (20 points on 7 of 12 shooting), Juan Fernandez (19 points on 6 of 13 shooting) and Aaron Brown (14 points on 5 of 11 shooting) rounded out Temple's double-digit scorers.
As a team, the Owls shot 52.2 percent (35 of 67) overall and 52.6 percent (10 of 19) from distance. They also connected on 16 of 18 free throws.
The Cherry and White had to shoot the lights out as, in almost a replay of their game last Saturday, the Explorers had little problem scoring the ball. La Salle shot 53.8 percent (31 of 58) from the floor and 50 percent (8 of 16) from beyond the arc.
Sophomore Aaric Murray led the Explorers with 22 points and 11 rebounds.
Turnovers proved to be their undoing as La Salle committed 22 miscues to Temple's six.
La Salle kept the game interesting for a while they held a 17-16 lead with just under twelve minutes to go in the first half. A Wyatt jumper ignited a 17-5 run that turned the deficit into a 33-22 lead. From there the Owls held La Salle at bay as they never led by less than nine points for the rest of the opening stanza.
Senior Ruben Guillandeaux cut Temple's lead to six, 51-45, in the second half after a three-pointer with 14:55 remaining. Temple answered with a 10-0 run that Moore started and capped with a three-pointer and a layup respectively.
That run signaled the beginning of the end for the Explorers as Temple extended its lead to as many as 23 points.
Temple will face the winner of Friday night's final quarterfinal matchup between Richmond and Rhode Island. The Owls are the highest seed left standing and the odds on favorite for the four-peat.
St. Joseph’s surprise A-10 tournament run continued today with a 93-90 overtime win over #4 seeded Duquesne. The Hawks now advance to the semifinals to face Dayton, who upset the #1 seeded Xavier earlier today.
St. Joe’s led by as many as 11 and held a three point lead inside of two minutes, but Duquesne fought back to take a lead with less than a minute left. With 22 seconds left Sean Johnson hit two free throws to give the Flyers a two point lead, but St. Joe forward Ronald Roberts would get free for a game tying dunk with 4 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
St Joe’s would build a six point lead in overtime, but once again Duquesne fought back… but this time they would only close the gap to 1 as Phil Martelli’s young Hawks squad claimed their second straight upset.
St. Joe’s next faces Dayton in the semifinals tomorrow at 1 pm.
It's Championship Week in college basketball and no city is better represented than Philadelphia...At least in the Atlantic-10 Tournament. Lasalle, St. Joes and Temple all advanced into Friday's quarterfinals.
However, as of late, only one has the consistency to make a splash in the field of 68 this year. That team is Temple University.
The Owls have won 11 of their last 12 games coming into the A-10 tournament, despite injuries to Micheal Eric and most recently Scootie Randall. If I may venture a guess as to how the Owls remained so focused throughout the season I would give credit to Fran Dunphy.
Since arriving from the University of Pennsylvania five years ago, Dunphy has brought with him the discipline which helped Penn capture 10 Ivy League titles in his 17 years as head coach.
I dropped by the Liacouras Center this week prior to their match up with cross town rival Lasalle. What I saw confirmed my opinion.
Fran Dunphy's practices are a clinic of efficiency. Every minute of time is used in the most affective possible way. The schedule rarely deviates from the original copy nestled in Coach Dunphy's back pocket.
It is no surprise why the Owls are currently the only Big 5 team ranked in the top 25.
As Temple prepares for their second round match up tonight, Philadelphia fans may be closely following their progress. After all, they may be this cities only hope.
The two games Xavier won over Dayton in the regular season were decided by a total of 9 points. So it’s not a surprise that the #9 seeded Flyers hung with the Musketeers. What is surprising is that it took Xavier until the final minute of the game to take their first lead of the day.
On a Tu Holloway free throw, the Musketeers took a 67-66 lead with 23 second left. Dayton would miss their shot but Luke Fabrizius got the rebound and was fouled on the floor. He hit the first free throw to tie it, drawing a Xavier timeout with 5.8 remaining. When he made the second, Holloway tried a running NBA range three but it clanked off and the Flyers moved on.
Dayton shot better, handled the glass better, and went to the line more. But Xavier was pesky and forced enough turnovers to even the score late in the game. Holloway scored 23 and fellow guard Mark Lyons added 14 for the Musketeers.
But it was the balanced scoring attack of Dayton, specifically Chris Johnson and Chris Wright that put the Flyers over the edge. They’ll face the winner of Duquesne and St. Joe’s for a chance to go to the A-10 Championship and steal an automatic bid. Xavier should still be looking at a 5 seed in the tournament and will be a dangerous team to anybody who draws them, including a 1-seed.
On a night where Villanova was bounced out of the Big East tournament, two smaller Philly schools are making noise in the A-10. Earlier, La Salle upset St. Bonaventure and now St. Joe’s has knocked off the heavily favored George Washington 71-59 in overtime.
St. Joe was the last team to the qualify for the tournament after winning only 4 conference games all year. As the #12 seed, they had to travel to DC to take on George Washington, who went 10-6 in the conference. Regulation time went pretty much as expected for the Hawks. St Joe had trouble generating any offense and GW, who had been fantastic defensively down the stretch, held them to under 50 points. What wasn’t expected was that George Washington’s offense would go so cold. They shot just 35.7% from the floor.
So the game was knotted at 49-49 at the end of regulation, then the unexpected happened. The Hawks outscored the Colonials 22-10 in overtime to stun George Washington and advance to the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament.
St Joe’s had a balanced attacked 5 players in double figures and were efficient from foul line shooting 87.5%. George Washington was the polar opposite. Their offense was mostly reliant on Tony Taylor, whose 22 points was more than twice what the Colonials second leading scorer provided. Plus, they shot only 65% from the foul line. Phil Martelli has a lot to be proud of with the poise shown by this very young St. Joe’s team. This was a big spot against a good team on the road and gives the Hawks huge momentum heading into the next round of this tournament and next season as well.
Next up for St. Joe’s is a matchup with the #4 seeded Duquesne Friday in Atlantic City.
A busy night of conference tournament action has started off well for the Philly schools. The La Salle Explorers went on the road to St. Bonaventure and upset the Bonnies 75-73 in double overtime to advance to the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
The hero was senior forward Steve Weingarten, who hit the go ahead 3 with 30 seconds remaining in the second overtime to put the Explorers up for good. La Salle got off to a quick start, but fell behind by as many as 14 in regulation before coming back to force overtime. They also fell behind by 7 in the first overtime and yet again fought back to force another frame. Senior Jerrell Williams led the Explorers with 19 points and scored some key baskets late as La Salle overcame yet another deficit in the second overtime. Ruben Guillandeaux scored 18 and was responsible for the game tying shots in both regulation and the first overtime.
This means La Salle gets none other than the #2 seeded Temple Owls in the next round. Temple beat La Salle just two days ago 90-82
While the A-10 has always played second (or seventh) fiddle to the six power conferences, there are a ton of useful prospects that NBA scouts are keeping an eye on for the future. With round one missing on the higher profile teams, lets take a look at the lesser known prospects that have some intriguing upside.
Aaric Murray - C, La Salle
One of the A-10's best prospects has plenty of Philly roots. He's flashed a ton of potential in various points in the game but doesn't do well in dominating his opponents. He's got a lot of Lavoy Allen in him -- good on the glass, a nice outside shot, and a high basketball IQ. But unfortunately he's got the bad Lavoy as well. Too much complacency and not demanding the ball or controlling the tempo from the post. If he can continue improving his outside shot, his 6'10 frame will be really tough to stop anywhere on the court. He already said he won't be coming out this season, but after his junior year I think he'll jump ship.
Andrew Nicholson - F, St. Bonaventure
Matching up against Murray will be the Bonnies best player, Nicholson, the senior from Ontario. As a 6'9 junior without an outside shot, he's strictly an inside player in the vein of a Jeff Adrien minus the strength. He's a bit wiry at 225 pounds and despite a nice little post game, he could use a more reliable jump shot to turn himself into a guy like Anthony Tolliver. His offensive production is deniable though, he's gone for 30+ four times this season and topped off at 44 in a 4-OT game against Ohio on his way to a First Team All A-10 selection. It's unlikely he'll be drafted because of his limited defensive ability and unspectacular rebounding.
Delroy James - F, Rhode Island
It seems like Delroy has been at URI for a decade at least. Unfortunately, as his role and points have increased, his efficiency has gone down. He shoots an awful percentage from the outside and isn't tough enough on the boards to pass as an inside player. The best thing DJ has going for him is his defense. He gets to balls everywhere on the court and can guard three positions if need be. He'll be crucial if URI beats St. Louis to take on the tough Richmond squad. As a senior, he could get the Ryan Reid treatment as a surprise late second rounder in June.
Chris Wright - F, Dayton
Recognized as one of the most athletic wings in the entire conference, Wright hasn't improved upon his bright freshman season as much as scouts hoped. He shot 60% as a freshman and intrigued everyone with his tools, but it's gone down to a light 46% as a senior. His rebounding has steadily increased and with his ability to block shots at 6'8, he could be worth a shot in the draft for a team with patience in the second round. While his jump shot is still lacking, he has improved in other, less box-scorey places. His pro prospects may be the best in the conference.
Murray and La Salle tip off against Nicholson and the Bonnies at 5 PM.
The Saint Joseph Hawks travel to our nation's capital tonight to take on the George Washington Colonials in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament. Tipoff is at 7pm tonight and will be shown on CBS College sports. St. Joe's just barely qualified for the tournament with a 4-12 conference record and enter as the #12 seed out of 12 teams. George Washington enters the tourney as a #5 seed with a 10-6 record.
The story all year with Phil Martelli's St. Joe team has been their inability to score. They generated only 63.5 points per game this season, which is the second worst in the conference. They're being outscored by an average of 6.1 points per game, which is also near the bottom of the A-10. Their key player is sophomore guard Carl Jones, who averages 17 points per game. Also of note is freshman Langston Galloway, who averages 12.8 ppg and was named to the all A-10 freshman first team.
After a pretty poor season, Hawks fans don't seem to have a whole lot of interest in tonight's game. A bus that had been scheduled to take fans from the St Joe campus to GW has been canceled due to lack of interest...
George Washington is led by junior guard Tony Taylor, who scored 14.0 ppg this year. In GW's last game with St Joe's, Taylor set his career record for free throws made and attempted.
The Colonials have been a very good defensive team at home, which should be worrying for a Hawks team that struggles to score. Over their last six home games, opponents have averaged just under 60 ppg against GW.
Both teams have actually won this tournament twice with St. Joe's most recent title coming in 1997 and GW's in 2007.
The Atlantic 10 Tournament tips off today at 5pm as Philadelphia's La Salle Explorers travel to St. Bonaventure, NY to face the Bonnies for the right to head to Atlantic City on Friday. La Salle, who comes into the tourney as a #10 seed, are kind of like the Golden State Warriors of college basketball. They can score, but they can't defend. They're averaging 77 points a game, which actually puts them among the highest scoring teams in the country. However, they allowing 78 a game with opponents scoring more than 80 points on them fifteen times this season.
The Explorers have three players averaging double digit ppg on the year with center and local Philly guy Aaric Murray leading the way with 15.1 points a game. Forward Jerrell Williams is scoring 13.7 a game while guard Ruben Guillandeaux provides 12.3 a game. This is what makes La Salle an interesting team, they score with anyone and if they're on their game they can give anyone a scare, but their defense is so bad that on nights where shots aren't dropping they get blown out.
One such blowout came at the hand of the very St. Bonaventure team they face today. Back in mid February the Bonnies routed La Salle 82-61 in New York. La Salle coach John Giannini said that St. Bonaventure was simply better in every face of the game that night.
"This is the first game I can remember in recent memory where we were just really, clearly outplayed in terms of effort," La Salle coach John Giannini said. "There's no question that St. Bonaventure was the better defensive team, the better rebounding team, the more energetic team, the physically stronger team, and the more aggressive team. I think they were better than us in every area of the game. I think our guys tried, but they were just better."
St. Bonaventure is led by the Atlantic 10's leading scorer Andrew Nicholson. The 6-9 forward is averaging 20 ppg and leads the Bonnies in rebounding(7.2/game), blocks & field goal percentage (.573 also a conference best). Nicholson was named to the Atlantic 10 first team yesterday. He scored 24 in his last meeting with La Salle.
The Xavier Musketeers edged Temple to win the regular season Atlantic 10 title by game and will enter the A-10 tournament as the #1 seed. Temple, Richmond & Duquesne finished #2-4 and along with Xavier have all earned a first round bye. This is the fourth time in the last five years that Xavier has entered the A-10 tourney as the top seed, but Temple has ended up winning it for the past three years. This season, Temple is seeking its conference record 10th A-10 tourney title.
The first round takes place at the campus of the higher seeds on Tuesday, but both of the Philly schools in the first round will have to go on the road. #10 seeded La Salle will head to Western New York to face St. Bonaventure. St. Joe's, who was the last team to qualify for the A-10 tournament will head to the nation's capital to face #5 seed George Washington.
The tournament then shifts to Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on Friday for the quarterfinals. Temple is set to face the winner of the La Salle/ St Bonnies game, so we have the potential of an all Philly quarterfinal matchup. Should St. Joe's get by GW, they'll have #4 seed Duquesne.
Tuesday, March 8
First Round - Campus Sites
#10 La Salle at #7 St. Bonaventure - 5:00 p.m.
#12 Saint Joseph's at #5 George Washington - 7:00 p.m.
#11 Saint Louis at #6 Rhode Island - 7:00 p.m.
#9 Dayton at #8 Massachusetts - 9:00 p.m.
Friday, March 11
Quarterfinals - Boardwalk Hall - Atlantic City, N.J.
Game 5 - #1 Xavier vs. #8/#9 winner - 12:00 p.m.
Game 6 - #4 Duquesne vs. #5/#12 winner - 2:30 p.m.
Game 7 - #2 Temple vs. #7/#10 winner - 6:30 p.m.
Game 8 - #3 Richmond vs. #6/#11 winner - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 12
Semifinals - Boardwalk Hall - Atlantic City, N.J.
Game 9 - Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner - 1:00 p.m.
Game 10 - Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner - 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 14
Finals - Boardwalk Hall - Atlantic City, N.J.
Game 11 - Winner of Game 9 vs. Winner of Game 10 - 1:00 p.m.
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