A Duel in Dayton
Two of the top teams in the conference faced off as George Washington traveled to Dayton in what would be the biggest A10 matchup of the season thus far. The game featured 19 lead changes in a nationally broadcasted game on ESPN2.
The Colonials looked to come in and get their second biggest win of the season behind their victory over #6 Virginia earlier in the season. Kevin Larsen and Tyler Cavanaugh carried the torch for George Washington with 16 and 18 points respectfully but a four minute scoring drought dashed their chances for a victory. Up on the Flyers 61-57, the Colonials went 0-5 from the field and 0-2 at the charity stripe, allowing Dayton to go on a 9-0 run and close the game out. Dyshawn Pierre would go on to lead all scorers with 27 points in the game.
The normally strong free-throw shooting team of GW went 5-15 from the line compared to the Flyers 16 of 17 who would go on to win 77-70. For now Dayton (14-3, 4-1) proved they still will carry the banner for the Atlantic 10 heading into the next couple of weeks, while George Washington (14-4, 3-2) has to play catch up from the top group.
Battle of Richmond
Once again the Battle of Richmond was a must see game for the Atlantic 10. Entering Saturday’s matchup VCU was on an eight game winning streak, including four in conference games.
In a high scoring affair Richmond led the game for a majority of the way with a lead for 30 minutes in the 45 minute contest. With little depth on their roster Richmond relied on seven players for the entire game, including when the game headed into overtime. Three of the Spiders played 40+ minutes as was the case with the Rams. Mo Alie-Cox tied a career high in blocks for VCU with five in 35 minutes played.
While JeQuan Lewis led the way for the Rams with 29 points, it was Melvin Johnson who came up in the clutch for the VCU (13-5, 5-0). With Johnson scoring 17 total points, six of them came in the overtime period as the Rams won 94-89. For Richmond (10-7, 2-3), T.J. Cline had 22 points along with 8 rebounds and 6 assists.
Jack Gibbs Scores 40 (again)
Davidson’s Jack Gibbs is doing all he can to run away with the A10 Player of the Year Award this season. In the Wildcats 86-74 win over Massachusetts on Saturday, Gibbs scored a career high 43 points, exactly half of his team’s total.
This is the third time he has reach the 40 point plateau this season with the earlier marks of 41 coming against Charlotte and Morehead State. With his result he was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Week for the second week in a row and for the fifth time this season. On the season he averages 25.7 point per game (four points higher than every player in the conference) and is the third highest in the country. Gibbs also holds the league high in assists per game (5.3).
Mason Gets First Conference Win
Closer to home for Patriot fans, George Mason claimed their first conference win of the season along with their first road win. Traveling to Saint Louis, Mason was geared up for their first winnable in-conference matchup against the Billikins.
Two Patriots Marquise Moore (22 pts, 10 rebs) and Shevon Thompson (14 pts, 11 rebs) stepped up big for Mason both earning double-doubles. Offensively the team had their best performance on the season, which had been struggling for a majority of the season. Five players, Moore, Thompson, Otis Livingston Jr. (17 pts), Jaire Grayer (14 pts), and Jalen Jenkins (11 pts) reached double figures. In addition the team had their third lowest amount of turnovers on the season with 10 and went 19-22 from the free throw line, their best mark on the year.
Topping the Billikins 92-79, George Mason (7-11, 1-4) heads to Fordham where many Patriot fans are using as a mark to determine the team’s growth from the previous year.
(Image Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Over a quarter of the way through the season, the VCU Rams lead the way with the only undefeated mark of 5-0 in conference play. However, with that being said they have only played one team that is in the top mark in the conference (Saint Joseph’s 85-82).
Dayton, Saint Joseph’s, and St. Bonaventure are tied for second with 4-1 conference records. The Bonnies have been the pleasant surprise of the Atlantic 10 so far but will have a big test this upcoming week against the Flyers and VCU Rams.
So far the Richmond Spiders (2-3) have faced one of the toughest schedules in conference play. That will continue this week as they play the Davidson Wildcats (3-2) and the George Washington Colonials (3-2). This week the Spiders have to win at least one game to stay in the regular season race for the conference title or if they want to have a double-bye into the Quarterfinals for the A10 Tournament.
With George Mason’s win there is a five way tie for tenth place at 1-4. The matchup against Fordham will allow one of the teams to break away from the bottom pack. The Patriots will also host Duquesne (2-3) on Saturday for their second game of the week.