With the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament just over a month away, the weekend was filled with down-to-the-wire thrillers, and a major upset could change the landscape drastically for the conference seeding.
Dayton improved their conference record to 5-3 with a suprising victory over second-ranked Xavier Saturday afternoon. The Flyers were heavily outrebounded, as forward Chris Wright had a game-high 9 boards. The Flyers, averaging 38.2 rebounds per game, had 42 against Xavier, 12 of which were offensive. Xavier forward Dante Jackson went 3-of-8 from beyond the arc, and now has a 3-point shooting percentage of 42.9 for the season.
With the win, Dayton improves to 16-6 on the season, winning their last two games by 17 or more points in those contests. The loss snaps a four-game winning streak for Xavier. Over the last 11 games, the Musketeers have gone 9-2.
49ers get past Rams
With the top spot still hanging in the balance, Charlotte traveled to Fordham Saturday to play the conference’s worst team.
To their surprise, the 49ers were not the superior team on the court in the first half, trailing the Rams at halftime, while missing three free-throws. Fordham hung with the 49ers late into the second half, but Charlotte was too much for them to handle. Fordham forward Chris Gaston put in a season-high 32 points, going 14-of-17 from the free throw line. Charlotte guard Derrio Green had a team-high 24 points, going 5-of-9 from three-point range. The loss puts Fordham at 0-9 in conference play, while Charlotte stays atop the ranks in the Atlantic 10.
Despite a top 20 position in the Associated Press poll, Temple has been fighting to stay in conference games, resulting in a 5-3 A-10 record. Richmond continued to state their case for a top 25 vote Saturday with a win at home against the nationally-ranked Owls.
Spiders pull off upset
Despite the efforts of Temple forward Lavoy Allen and his 19 rebounds, the Spiders converted more points both in total shots made and from beyond the three-point line. Richmond guard Kevin Anderson had 29 points in the contest – two points shy of a season-high. Richmond was on fire offensively, knocking down 57.8 percent of their field goal attempts, which was over 10 percentage points higher than their season average (.440). Despite out-rebounding Richmond in the second half, the Owls were not able to convert second-chance points and free throw attempts, ultimately losing, 71-54.
Richmond improved to 19-5 on the season, tying Rhode Island for third place with a 7-2 A-10 record. With the loss, Temple has dropped two of its last four games.
Mitchell, Spears win weekly honors
The A-10 Player of the Week Honors were announced Sunday afternoon, with Saint Louis guard Kwamain Mitchell and Charlotte forward Shamari Spears winning this week. Spears scored 15 points and brought down 12 rebounds in Charlotte’s victory. Mitchell helped the Bilikens win a highly-contested battle against La Salle, scoring 25 points in the 68-65 win. Fordham forward Chris Gaston took home the Rookie of the Week award, scoring a career-high 32 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, as Fordham fell to Charlotte 77-72 Saturday.
Flyers, 49ers meet
Dayton hopes to continue their run this week, as they face conference-leader Charlotte at home tomorrow. The Spiders travel to URI to see who ultimately emerges as third-place holder in the conference. Both teams will go into the matchup with four-game winnings streaks on the line.
Scott Cournoyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.