Atlantic 10 Notebook: VCU, Dayton GW all earn victories over weekend

By Henry Brechter

(Chuck Myers/MCT)
(Chuck Myers/MCT)

George Washington rallied from an early second-half deficit to down Rhode Island 62-58 Friday afternoon in the nation’s capital. GW guard Patricio Garino (10 points) nailed a jumper with one minute, 32 seconds left in the game to break a 55-55 tie, which was followed by several clutch Colonial free throws to preserve a victory. GW is now 4-2 in conference play, and 15-4 overall on the season.

The Rams (11-8, 3-3 Atlantic 10) had control most of the game and led by as many as seven after Four McGlynn drilled a 3-pointer to give them a 46-39 lead. URI cooled off in the game’s final 10 minutes when the Colonials began to take over. A 9-0 run for GW erased the URI lead with 8:54 remaining.

Tyler Cavanaugh (13 points, 10 rebounds, one block) was the only other GW player with double-digit points, two of which came on crucial free throws in the games final minute. The junior forward continues to fuel the Colonials’ success with his all-around play, averaging 17.0 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting 53.8 percent from the field, including 42.6 percent on three-point attempts.

The game was originally scheduled for Friday night, but tip-off was moved up to 3:00 p.m., in anticipation of a severe winter storm that struck the Mid-Atlantic region later that evening.

Dayton tightens A-10 race

A Dayton victory was hardly in doubt Sunday afternoon, as the Flyers won their fourth straight game, beating Fordham 64-50 in the Bronx.

Dayton (16-3, 6-1 A-10) never trailed in the game, led by guard Charles Cooke’s 26 points. That figure was good for both a game-high and season-high.

With the win, the Flyers remain just one game behind A-10 leader VCU, who beat St. Bonaventure Sunday afternoon.

In addition to Cooke’s 26, the Flyers’ Scoochie Smith scored 14, while forward Dyshawn Pierre scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds.

Dayton also dominated on the glass, out-rebounding the Rams 39-28.

The closest Fordham (11-7, 2-5 A-10) came was within seven with 2:32 to play, after a Ryan Rhoomes dunk made the score 56-49. However, they only mustered one more point in the final minutes, and Dayton pulled away without much stress, as they had been doing most of the day.

Fordham got off to a hot start this season, winning nine of its first 10 games. But since the start of conference play the team has staggered, and has now lost five of their last seven, as the college basketball postseason race begins to take shape.

VCU rallies past Bonnies in second half

For the first 35 minutes of Sunday’s game, it looked like St. Bonaventure might knock off the A-10 conference leaders in their own house.

But Virginia Commonwealth scored 29 points in the game’s final 10 minutes to rally for an 84-76 victory at the Stuart C. Siegel Center in Richmond, Virginia.

The Rams (15-5, 7-0 A-10) trailed for most of the game but rallied late, led by the hot hand of JeQuan Lewis, who scored 26 points and dished out 7 assists.

Three other Rams players scored in double figures: Melvin Johnson scored 21 points, Justin Tillman added 17 and Mo-Alie Cox had 10, including a put-back late that gave VCU a 61-60 lead with 6:40 remaining.

Bonnies (12-6, 4-3 A-10) guard Marcus Posley led all scorers with 30 points and fueled a 16-8 SBU run coming out of halftime. Teammate Dion Wright added 18 points and 13 boards to notch his eighth double-double of the season.

After a shaky start to the season, VCU has ripped off 10 straight victories and is unbeaten in conference play. With Sunday’s win, the Rams remain a game in front of Dayton for the conference lead. The two frontrunners will meet for the first time this year in the season’s final game March 5.

Henry Brechter can be reached at [email protected]