(The scene at Barclays Center during Rhode Island- La Salle – Photo by Jason Schott)
In the second day of action at the Atlantic 10 Tournament at Barclays Center, Rhode Island rolled to a 76-57 win over La Salle to open the day, followed by George Mason outlasting George Washington, 61-57. In the night session, Saint Joseph’s won a shootout with Duquesne, 92-86, and Saint Louis won a close one with Richmond, 71-68.
On Friday afternoon, in the A-10 quarterfinals, Np. 1 VCU will play No. 8 Rhode Island at noon, followed by No. 4 St. Bonaventure taking on No. 5 George Mason at 2:30. The night session begins at 6:00 p.m. with No. 2 Davidson facing off against No. 10 Saint Joseph’s, followed by No. 3 Dayton and No. 6 Saint Louis at 8:30 p.m.
Rhode Island 76, La Salle 57:
This one was tight early, with Rhode Island up 20-18 halfway through the first half. The Rams then went on a 12-0 run and took a 32-22 lead into halftime.
Rhode Island took the game over in the second half, as they opened up a 19-point lead, 49-30, on a three-pointer from Russell Fatts at the 12:21 mark. They led by as many as 30, at 70-40, on free throws from Omar Silverio with 5:17 remaining.
Cyril Langevine led Rhode Island with 25 points on a near-perfect 9-10 from the field, with 12 rebounds for a double-double, along with 2 assists and a steal. Fatts Russell had 19 points (6-16 FG, 2-7 threes), with 7 assists and 4 rebounds. Jeff Dotwin had 12 points on 3-7 from the field (2-2 threes), with 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and a block.
Paul Shiri led La Salle with 10 points (3-10 FG, 1-8 threes), with 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal. He was the only La Salle player to score in double-figures as they were held to just 31.1 percent shooting, or 19-61, in the game.
Rhode Island Head Coach David Cox said of the game, “Well, I thought that was a tremendous all-around effort by our team today. I want to give a lot of credit to La Salle program and Ashley Howard, who I think is a tremendous young coach. He had those guys fighting all the way till the end.
I thought our guys stuck to the game plan today. On offense we played with tremendous pace. We shared the basketball with 17 assists, and then defensively, we limited their paint touches and forced them into shooting quite a few three pointers which were contested. It was 35 three-point attempts, which we didn’t necessarily think was their game or what they needed to do to win.
Great job following the game plan and, you know, now we live to see another day.”
Dotwin said of Rhode Island’s comfort playing in this tournament, “Has to do with a lot of experience. We’ve been in the A-10 Championship these last two years, so we’ve been here before. We know the position we’re in. We know what it takes to win and we’ve got these three guys right here that we’re just going to go out here and lead our young guys and hopefully just put them under our wing.”
George Mason 61, George Washington 57:
In the “Battle of the Georges,” No. 5 George Mason came back late to knock off No. 12 GW, 61-57.
George Mason was led by Justin Kier, who had 26 points on a superb 10-14 from the field, including 1-3 from long range, with 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and a steal.
Otis Livingston II, son of the CBS 2 sports anchor, had 12 points, most of which came down the stretch, as he overcame shooting 4-16 from the field, including 3-8 from behind the arc, with 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal.
Livingston said of what it means to come back to New York to play in front of your friends and family, “It means a lot. They support me a lot throughout my career here at George Mason. It’s always good to come home and play in front of them, and yeah, I mean, I just want to thank them for their support. But when I’m playing, I’m locked in on us and what we’ve got to do and hopefully we can win and keep winning games.”
GW was without their leading scorer, DJ Williams. They were led by Armel Potter, who had 12 points on 4-8 from the field, including 2-4 on three-pointers, with 4 assists and 3 steals. Justin Mazzulla, who contributed to their win over UMass in overtime on Wednesday, had 10 points (4-9 FG, 2-4 threes), with 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
Saint Joseph’s 92, Duquesne 86:
The nightcap opened with a shootout, as No. 10 St. Joe’s led No. 7 Duquesne, 49-43, at the half, and they held on for the 92-86 win.
St. Joe’s shot 47.5 percent (29-61) from the field in this one, and they were led by Charlie Brown, who had 28 points on a superb 10-14 from the field, including 2-5 from behind the arc, with 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal. Jared Bynum had 16 points (3-8 FG< 1-5 threes, 9-10 FTs), with 4 rebounds and 3 assists. Chris Clover had 15 points on 6-9 from the field (1-3 threes), with 3 rebounds and 2 steals.
Saint Joseph’s Head Coach Phil Martelli said of the win, “Well, right away, the six turnovers (for the entire game), it was sensational. I thought the balance of our team, Fresh hit a big shot. Charlie, early. Jared, when it got rocky in the beginning, we were down ten with seven minutes into the game.
“But I thought — it sounds crazy, but give up 86 points, but our defense was really good and guys that you don’t really expect to be defenders gave us everything that they had.
“There was a little bit of panic early, being honest. Everybody wanted to have a suggestion. But that was because they wanted to play Friday. That’s all we’ve talked about is playing Friday, and I’m happy for the players. I’m happy for the families. You know, you see the families behind the bench, so looking forward to competing against a great coach and an NBA backcourt tomorrow (against Davidson).”
Duquesne Head Coach Keith Drambot said of the game, “Have a lot of respect for Coach Martelli and his team, a lot of respect for Coach, been through some difficult times, both personally with the tragic losses of his parents, and a lot of injuries with his team.
“But we knew it was going to be a tough game. They have been playing better. They are healthier. They are difficult to guard because they can spread out, and you know, we just had a hard time, every time we got close, we made a defensive mistake which hurt us.”
Duquesne was led by Eric Williams, Jr., who had 23 points on 8-15 from the field, including 2-5 on threes, with 9 rebounds, just missing a double-double, along with 3 assists. Lamar Norman, Jr., had 18 points on 7-11 shooting (4-7 threes), with 4 rebounds. Marcus Weathers had 17 points (4-6 FG, 9-12 FT), with 10 rebounds for a double-double.
Saint Louis 71, Richmond 68:
No. 6 Saint Louis overcame a 36-30 halftime deficit, and put up 41 points in the second half to overcome No. 11 Richmond.
SLU was led by Hasahn French, who had 22 points on 11-16 shooting, with 4 rebounds, 2 blocks, and an assist. Tramaine Isabell, Jr., had 17 points (7-13 FG, 3-6 threes), with 5 assists, a rebound, and a steal. Javon Bess had 14 points (4-9 FG, 1-5 threes, 5-6 FT), with 6 rebounds and 2 assists.
Richmond was led by Grant Golden, who had 20 points on 7-16 from the field (1-2 on threes), with 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and a block. Jacob Gilyard had 12 points (5-12 FG, 2-8 threes), with 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and an assist. Nathan Cayo had 12 points on 5-8 shooting, with 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Andre Gustavson had 10 points (4-7 FG, 1-1 threes), 5 rebounds, and a block.
Saint Louis Head Coach Travis Ford said, “Wasn’t exactly how we drew it up. But let me first just say what a great job by Richmond. (Head Coach) Chris Mooney had his team really prepared, ready to go and he does such a great job and his team really played well. I just thought first half we, if you’ve watched us play we’re probably the most physical, maybe not the most physical, there’s some physical, but as physical a team as there is in our league. And for us to only have one foul at halftime and only one free throw that just goes totally against who we are. I’m not talking about, I’m talking about we didn’t play to our identity, we weren’t playing physical and aggressive enough in the first half. We had a lot of opportunities in the first half around the basket. We’d either drop, we had a charge, walks, and just gave up too many points in the first half. Second half we changed it up, we changed up our defenses quite a bit and went to our more aggressive defenses to try to, more than anything try to get ourselves going is one of the reasons I did it is to try to get ourself going. We never could get away from them. We just couldn’t get away. I thought we were playing pretty well second half but you look up at the scoreboard we’re still down five, still down six, still down seven. And it took a couple big shots by these guys, making our free throws down the stretch. And just a massive effort on the glass, just a massive effort rebounding. I think you saw a group of guys when it got under that 10-minute mark that just let it all hang out and it was a very impressive effort by these guys so we got to get back and get some rest.”