College Basketball Nation: 2010 A-10 tournament

Video: Richmond coach Chris Mooney

March, 13, 2010
3/13/10
6:53
PM ET

Richmond coach Chris Mooney discusses the two classic games the Spiders have played against Xavier this season.

Video: Richmond guard Kevin Anderson

March, 13, 2010
3/13/10
6:44
PM ET


Richmond guard Kevin Anderson expects a much closer game against Temple on Sunday than the 71-54 Spiders win from Feb. 6.

Final: Richmond 89, Xavier 85 (OT)

March, 13, 2010
3/13/10
6:41
PM ET
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Some final thoughts as No. 3 Richmond (26-7) beat No. 2 Xavier (24-8) in the second Atlantic-10 semifinal here at Boardwalk Hall. The Spiders advanced to face No. 1 Temple (28-5) in Sunday's conference title game at 1 p.m. ET.

  • No offense to Temple but I'd take a rematch of this game tomorrow afternoon. Great emotion. Great drama. Great theater.
  • Kevin Anderson's driving layup with 3.1 seconds left tied the game at 73 and sent it to overtime. Then the Spiders seized the momentum and advanced to Sunday's final. In the extra session Richmond was 4-of-5 from the floor -- including 2-of-2 from 3 -- and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line. Conversely Xavier went just 2-for-11 from the field in overtime.
  • Anderson, the A-10 player of the year, was money in OT. The junior scored eight of his game-high 27 points on 2-of-3 shooting -- including 4-for-4 from the line.
  • Richmond beat Temple 71-54 on Feb. 6 in Virginia. But the Owls didn't have Juan Fernandez in the lineup and there's no reason to believe Sunday's final won't be a wire job.
  • Xavier isn't the same team when sophomore guard Terrell Holloway isn't on the floor. When he was in foul trouble his absence was felt. Beyond his ability, it's his attitude and swagger that helps to define the Musketeers. Case in point: Richmond took a 56-55 lead with 8:46 left for the Spiders' first lead in the second half. Next possession Holloway buried a 3 to regain the lead for XU. And remember that Holloway is the one who went to knock the ball out of the hands of Dayton's Rob Lowery after a timeout on Friday night, producing the technical foul that effectively ended the Flyers' season.

Halftime: Xavier 37, Richmond 33

March, 13, 2010
3/13/10
4:42
PM ET
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Some quick halftime thoughts as No. 2 Xavier (24-7) and No. 3 Richmond (25-7) play in the second Atlantic-10 semifinal. The winner faces No. 1 Temple tomorrow (1 p.m. ET) at Boardwalk Hall for the conference championship.

  • This would be a great best-of-seven series. The first meeting went double-overtime last month in Cincinnati. And if the first half today is any indication, this one should go down the wire too.
  • It's another one of those big boy games. Just like Xavier's slugfest with Dayton last night, the Musketeers like to play a physical brand of basketball and should provide challenges for whomever they draw in the NCAA tournament.
  • The first half saw the score tied five times and four lead changes. The largest lead by either team was Xavier's 37-31 late in the opening 20 minutes.
  • Xavier's defense is the ever-so-slight difference so far as the Musketeers have limited Richmond to just 11-for-33 from the floor, while XU is shooting 13 of 27 (.481) so far -- thanks in part to 20 to 12 points-in-the-paint advantage.
  • Richmond's David Gonzalvez leads all scorers with 16 points (9 of 10 FTs). Xavier doesn't have anybody in double figures but four players have scored at least six points.

Video: Temple coach Dunphy on Fernandez

March, 13, 2010
3/13/10
4:09
PM ET


Temple coach Fran Dunphy talks about what makes guard Juan Fernandez such a unique asset for the Owls.

Final: Temple 57, Rhode Island 44

March, 13, 2010
3/13/10
3:21
PM ET
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Some final thoughts as No. 1 Temple (28-5) beat No. 5 Rhode Island (23-9) in the first Atlantic-10 semifinal here at leaky Boardwalk Hall. The Owls now wait to face the winner of the second semi between No. 2 Xavier and No. 3 Richmond in Sunday's championship game (1 p.m. ET).
  • Is Temple that good or has the competition here in AC been that bad? It's probably somewhere in between. St. Bonaventure wasn't going to give the Owls much of a test but Rhode Island should have done more given everything that was at stake. Instead, the Rams couldn't deal with any kind of prosperity yet again and now must wait and see if the NIT phone rings.
  • After sprinting to a 17-point halftime lead, Temple spent the second half running its offense and nearly all of the shot clock each time up the floor. And just like Friday's quarterfinal, the Owls took care of the ball. A 7 turnover effort (with 18 assists) against the Bonnies was followed up by just 7 turnovers (with 12 assists) vs. Rhody. And keep in mind that a few of those turnovers were shot-clock violations that likely wouldn't have happened in a tighter game.
  • Field goal accuracy continued to elude Rhode Island in the second half. After going 7-for-30 (.233) in the first half, the Rams shot just 9 of 29 (.310) in the final 20 minutes. Give Temple's defense credit as that's where this game was lost and won.
  • Temple's biggest lead was 22 points at 40-18 early in the second half. The Owls had two players in double figures, led by Ryan Brooks' 16. Rhode Island's leading scorer was Keith Cothran with 11 points.
  • So, is Temple really that good? Stay tuned on Sunday and beyond.

Halftime: Temple 34, Rhode Island 17

March, 13, 2010
3/13/10
2:12
PM ET
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Some quick halftime thoughts as No. 1 Temple (27-5) and No. 5 Rhode Island (23-8) play in the first Atlantic-10 semifinal.

  • Just like Friday’s quarterfinal game vs. St. Bonaventure, Temple’s Juan Fernandez had another great start. The 6-foot-2 sophomore guard opened up by hitting a 3; then tied up URI center 7-0 center Will Martell for jump ball; followed up with a pair of runners in the lane; assisted on a Micheal Eric lay-in; and then hit a driving baseline runner. At that point it was 11-2 Temple and Fernandez had 9 points on 4 of 4 shooting and 1 assist.
  • Temple closed out the half with its largest lead of the game (17 points); URI has a long way to go before it can think about a lead. First, the Runnin' Rams better figure out how to shoot. URI was a dreadful 7-for-30 (.233) from the floor. Temple was 13 of 23 (.565) from the field. That's the difference in this game.
  • Ryan Brooks leads Temple with 10 points on 4 of 8 shooting. Martell’s 4 points lead Rhode Island’s scoring.
  • The first half was delayed approximately 10 minutes because of a leak in the roof. The delay occurred with 13:49 left and Temple leading 11-2. Even after play resumed, Boardwalk Hall maintenance workers were toweling off the spot near center court the next several stoppages of play. There is a significant Nor’easter hitting the Eastern seaboard this weekend with the heavy rain expected to continue through Sunday. I wonder if there’s a leak at the Palestra in Philadelphia (where I think this tourney should be played)?
  • Houston's surprising win over UTEP in the Conference USA final has put the Cougars in the field of 65. And it conversely has moved Rhode Island to outside looking in status in Joe Lunardi's latest Bracket Math. That should provide better motivation than anything URI coach Jim Baron could say in the locker room. Let's see if/how Rhody responds.

Previewing the A-10 semifinals

March, 13, 2010
3/13/10
11:00
AM ET
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- It’s another dreary, rainy and windswept day here in this gritty seaside city. In other words, a perfect excuse to hang out at Boardwalk Hall this afternoon to watch what should be two great games in the Atlantic-10 semifinals.

Three of the top four seeds advanced to the A-10’s final four, and in fact it’s the first time the top three seeds advanced this far since 2006. Temple, Xavier and Richmond are NCAA tourney locks and No. 5 Rhode Island woke up this morning as the last team in the field of 65 in Joe Lunardi’s Bubble Math.

No. 1 Temple (27-5) vs. No. 5 Rhode Island (23-8), 1 p.m. ET

What’s at stake: Temple is the only team still here in AC with a winning record (15-9) in the semifinal round. But the A-10 regular-season champion (Temple has the honor this season) hasn’t won the conference tourney title since George Washington in 2005. The Owls are the two-time defending champion in this tournament while the Rams won their only conference title way back in 1999.

Who has the edge: Temple is 2-0 against Rhody this year, including a tough four-point overtime win (68-64) in Kingston, R.I., on Jan. 10 and a 78-56 walk in Philly on Feb. 13. URI played its best defensive game of the season in beating Saint Louis on Friday but the Rams will have to come up with an even better effort against the well-rounded and versatile Owls. Lavoy Allen and Juan Fernandez present a challenging inside-outside attack to defend. And URI better be prepared to pound the glass like it did against SLU.

Statistically speaking: Temple has won seven consecutive A-10 tournament games and the Owls are now 7-1 all-time in conference tourney games played at Boardwalk Hall. The Owls also come in with a current eight-game winning streak.

-- The 63 points scored by Rhode Island on Friday were the fewest for the Rams in a win this season (they also scored 63 when beating Oklahoma St. 63-59 on Jan. 2). And the 47 points allowed by URI were the fewest for a Rams opponent this season (best the 57 allowed vs. Brown in the season-opening 78-57 win).

Quotable: “They are a very good top 20 team. Excellent players, great coach. They have excellent chemistry and its going to be an excellent challenge for us. We are looking forward to it. We have to be ready intense wise as the [Temple] crowd will be here. But, again, that is what you play for. Our guys are looking forward to the challenge.” -- Rhode Island coach Jim Baron

No. 2 Xavier (24-7) vs. No. 3 Richmond (25-7), 3:30 p.m. ET

What’s at stake: The bad news is that Xavier is just 3-6 in this round of A-10 play. The good news is that all three semifinal round wins eventually became conference tournament championships as the Musketeers are a perfect 3-0 in A-10 title games. Richmond has only played in one A-10 final (a 73-60 loss to XU in ’02) and is just 1-1 in the semifinal round.

Who has the edge: Xavier needed double overtime to beat Richmond (78-76) on Feb. 28 in Cincinnati. Here’s hoping the rematch is that good. The Musketeers had the tougher quarterfinal game as they erased a 15-point second-half deficit against Dayton on Friday night. When it counted, guard Terrell Holloway delivered, as he drew the decisive technical foul against Dayton’s Rob Lowery to effectively seal the XU win. Against Richmond last month, Holloway scored seven of his team high 24 points in the second OT.

Statistically speaking: Xavier has advanced to the A-10 semifinals for an eighth consecutive season and the Musketeers have won eight straight and 12 of their last 13 games.

-- Richmond is 4-0 on neutral courts this season and comes into Saturday’s game having won three straight and 11 of its last 12.

Quotable: “I think we are looking forward to the rematch because at the end of the regulation it was a dead heat and they were able to win the game in overtime. We’re looking forward to it. I know they’ll be ready. I know they’ll be prepared. I know they’re a great program. We’re just pleased to be able to advance and try to play Xavier again.” -- Richmond coach Chris Mooney

Video: Rhode Island coach Jim Baron

March, 13, 2010
3/13/10
1:06
AM ET

Rhode Island coach Jim Baron thinks the Rams' resume is tourney worthy regardless of what the bubble math might say.

Final: Richmond 77, UMass 72

March, 12, 2010
3/12/10
11:39
PM ET
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Some final thoughts as No. 3 Richmond beat No. 11 UMass, 77-72, in quarterfinal play in the A-10 tourney here at Boardwalk Hall. Up next for the Spiders is a semifinal matchup on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET against No. 2 Xavier.

  • Despite the closer-than-it-really-was final score this game was never truly in doubt for Richmond so it’s hard to say what it gained from the experience. UMass made a couple of runs in the second half and put up 51 points after halftime, which forced the Spiders to do more than simply go through the motions. So that may have been enough of a tuneup for what should be a great matchup on Saturday against Xavier.
  • Suffice it to say that it’s very unlikely Xavier will let Richmond sit outside the three-point line and take uncontested shots in Saturday’s semifinal. But that’s pretty much was UMass did on Friday night and the Minutemen paid for it. Dearly. Richmond was a lights out 9 of 13 in the first half from beyond the arc before it cooled down to just 2 of 7 in the final 20 minutes. For the game Richmond shot 55 percent outside of 3-point line.
  • The Spiders finished with five players in double figures, led by David Gonzalvez’s 15 points. UMass’ Anthony Gurley led all scorers with 24 points -- including 4 of 5 from 3-point range.
  • UMass finished the season 12-20, which can’t be what coach Derek Kellogg or athletic director John McCutcheon had in mind after last season’s 12-18 campaign. The Minutemen do lose their best player in senior Ricky Harris, but the rest of the young lineup got some valuable experience in beating Rhode Island in the regular-season finale just to qualify for the A-10 tournament. And then UMass went on the road and beat Charlotte to advance to Atlantic City.

Halftime: Richmond 38, UMass 21

March, 12, 2010
3/12/10
10:25
PM ET
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Some quick halftime thoughts as No. 3 Richmond (24-7) and No. 11 UMass (12-19) play the last quarterfinal of the day in the A-10 tourney here at Boardwalk Hall:

  • This was the biggest mismatch coming into the quarterfinals and it’s living up to that billing. Richmond is running its offense seemingly at will while UMass seems to be going through the motions.
  • Here’s all you need to know from the first 20 minutes: The Spiders have as many 3-point field goals (9) as the Minutemen have total field goals. And Richmond is hitting at a nearly 70 percent clip (9-of-13) from beyond the arc. UMass is just 9-of-26 (.346) overall and an anemic 1-for-10 from 3-point land.
  • UMass’ best player, Ricky Harris, has been held to four points on 2-of-9 shooting – including 0-for-4 from beyond the arc.

Video: Dayton's Gregory on foul call

March, 12, 2010
3/12/10
10:13
PM ET


Dayton coach Brian Gregory discusses the controversial technical foul that was called on Flyers guard Rob Lowery with 33.6 seconds remaining in UD's 78-73 loss to Xavier.

Final: Xavier 78, Dayton 73

March, 12, 2010
3/12/10
9:43
PM ET
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Some final thoughts as No. 2 Xavier beat No. 7 Dayton in quarterfinal play in the A-10 tourney here at Boardwalk Hall. Up next for the Musketeers is a semifinal matchup on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET against the winner of the Richmond-UMass quarterfinal.
  • That perceptible thud you heard was Dayton’s season crashing to earth. The Flyers blew a 15-point second-half lead to their in-state rivals and Xavier walked away with a five-point win and berth in Saturday’s semifinals. Dayton heads back to Ohio and waits for a call from the NIT committee.
  • The Musketeers may have won the game on their own but the wild finish and result were due in part to an unfortunate incident in the final minute of the game. With Xavier leading 70-68, Dayton senior guard Rob Lowery brought the ball across halfcourt and the Flyers called timeout with 33.6 seconds remaining. On his way to the bench Lowery got tangled with Terrell Holloway and Lowery eventually pushed/punched Holloway. The result, after much discussion by the officiating crew and the two head coaches, was a technical foul on Lowery. Holloway buried the two free throws and the Musketeers found the finish line with relative ease.
  • What a brutal way for a team’s NCAA hopes to go up in flames. And what a brutal way for a senior -- Lowery finished with 14 points, four assists and four steals -- to effectively end the meaningful part of his career. Finally, given the physical nature of the entire game (54 total fouls), it was a very questionable technical foul call -- especially given how long the officials discussed the play before making a final determination.
  • Dayton shot 54 percent from the floor in the first half en route to a 40-35 lead. In the second half that changed for the worse and a 10-for-28 performance from the floor helped seal their ultimate demise.
  • Xavier won the game in part because of its performance at the free-throw line. The Musketeers were 12-of-14 in the first half and 21-of-27 in the second for an 80 percent rate for the game. XU also dominated the glass with a 39-28 rebound advantage.

Halftime: Dayton 40, Xavier 35

March, 12, 2010
3/12/10
7:43
PM ET
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Some quick halftime thoughts as No. 2 Xavier (23-7) and No. 7 Dayton (20-11) play the third quarterfinal of the day in the A-10 tourney here at Boardwalk Hall:

  • The Flyers came out, well, flying tonight. This game is being played at a frenetic pace and Dayton tried to run the Musketeers out of the gym -- just like the Feb. 6 game played at Dayton Arena and won by the home team 90-65. That’s unlikely tonight but Dayton needs a win to try and get back on the right side of the bubble and keep its NCAA hopes alive -- and Brian Gregory’s club is playing like it. And hitting 5 of 7 from beyond the arc doesn’t hurt either.
  • The Musketeers don’t need this game and in some aspects are playing like it. Chris Mack’s club is self destructing in a couple of key areas: more turnovers (10) than assists (4); and 3-point field goals, where XU is 1-for-8 (.125).
  • Dayton has three players in double figures, led by Rob Lowery’s 12 points (2 of 3 from 3) to along with 3 assists and 4 steals. Xavier’s Jason Love leads his team in both points (11) and rebounds (6).
  • Despite calling 24 total fouls, the officiating crew is letting these boys play. At times it looks like a full contact track meet. Suffice it to say, this game is not for the faint of heart in the paint, in transition or on the break. And players and coaches alike are taking every opportunity to point out all of the transgressions that haven’t been called. Here’s to more of the former (letting them play) and less of the latter (whining).

Video: Temple's Juan Fernandez

March, 12, 2010
3/12/10
6:07
PM ET

Guard Juan Fernandez talks about how this Temple team has many options on offense and is comfortable taking what opponents give the Owls.

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