The second round of the Atlantic 10 tournament got underway Thursday afternoon, with No. 9 seed Richmond and No. 5 seed George Washington advancing into Friday’s quarterfinal round. The final two spots in the quarterfinals will be filled tonight, with a doubleheader at Barclays Center in Brooklyn tipping off at 6:30 p.m. on NBCSN.
In the first game No. 7 seed Rhode Island will take on No. 10 seed Massachusetts, with the winner facing No. 2 seed VCU Friday night. The two teams split the regular season meetings, with each protecting their respective home courts.
Approximately 30 minutes after the completion of the first game No. 6 seed Davidson will face No. 14 La Salle. Two of the Atlantic 10’s top scorers will be on display, with Davidson’s Jack Gibbs leading the A-10 with an average of 24.8 points per game and La Salle’s Jordan Price third in the conference at 19.1 ppg. The winner will advance to play No. 3 St. Bonaventure in Friday’s final quarterfinal.
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It’s day three at the Atlantic 10 tournament in Brooklyn, and the top four seeds will finally take the court. No. 24 Davidson, playing as a ranked team for the first time this season, is the top seed and they’ll take on La Salle in the first quarterfinal of the day. Bob McKillop’s team has far exceeded the preseason expectations, winning the outright regular season title and Tyler Kalinoski earning Atlantic 10 Player of the Year honors.
The Explorers will counter with shooting guard Jordan Price, and the action begins at Noon on NBCSN. And if you can’t get to a television, the game can be watched on NBC Sports Live Extra.
WATCH LIVE: Stream La Salle vs. No. 24 Davidson here.
Following that game, rivals VCU and Richmond meet for the third time this season with the Spiders having won both regular season meetings. Chris Mooney’s team has kept the live-ball turnovers to a minimum against the Rams, who have struggled with consistency since losing point guard Briante Weber to a knee injury.
VCU needs Treveon Graham and Melvin Johnson to be consistent scoring options if they’re to make a run in Brooklyn, as they survived a challenge from Fordham on Thursday. Also key for VCU: keep Richmond’s Kendall Anthony in check. The senior guard was a first team All-Atlantic 10 selection, and Chris Mooney’s team has played its best basketball of the season in their current six-game win streak.
WATCH LIVE: Stream VCU vs. Richmond here.
It’s been quite the turn of events the past three days for Saint Joseph’s. The Hawks sat on the bubble as they made their way to Brooklyn. For the third time in three days St. Joe’s prevailed, winning the Atlantic 10 Tournament championship with a 65-61 win over No. 23 VCU.
St. Joe’s (24-9, 11-5 A10) is rolling into the NCAA tournament with some serious momentum, made more notable since earlier in March the Hawks had dropped back-to-back games to George Washington and La Salle. Phil Martelli’s team entered the afternoon as a projected 10-seed in Dave Ommen’s latest edition of Bracketology. The Hawks will likely slide up with a win over a ranked opponent and becoming the A10 champs.
The Hawks have been tested this week in Brooklyn. Dayton, another bubble team, could have ended St. Joe’s run on Friday, but Langston Galloway, who scored 20 of his 31 points in the first half, saved his biggest three points for last, lifting St. Joe’s to a 70-67 quarterfinal win. The next night it was Halil Kanacevic turn to carry the Hawks.
He dropped 26 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in a semifinal win over St. Bonaventure, the eight-seed which knocked off top-ranked Saint Louis the previous afternoon. The only way the Bonnies would earn an NCAA bid is if they ran the table inside the Barclays Center.
No question St. Joe’s will be a tough out in next week’s tournament with its ability to get production out of Galloway on the perimeter and Kanacevic in the paint.
VCU, on the other hand, has lost for the first time in seven games. The Rams were without their top outside shooter Melvin Johnson. Without him, they missed 10 of their first 11 3-point attempts, ending the day 5-of-26 from behind the arc.
Both these teams are projected to be two of six bids for the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Saint Joseph’s was the favorite heading into Saturday’s Atlantic 10 Tournament semifinal game against St. Bonaventure, but after the Bonnies’ upset win over No. 1 seed Saint Louis the day before, could you really count them out?
The Hawks answered that question early in the second half on Saturday as senior Halil Kanacevic led Saint Joseph’s to a 67-48 win. With the score tied 29-all at the half, Kanacevic stayed aggressive for the Hawks and was the best player on the floor in the win. The 6-foot-8 senior had 20 points and 11 rebounds at the under 16 timeout in the second half and it was only his third 20-and-10 performance of the entire season. Kanacevic, of course, had 16 more minutes to play in the contest and finished with 26 points and 17 rebounds for the game.
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Not a single player on St. Bonaventure came close to touching those numbers as Charlon Kloof led the Bonnies with 10 points and was their only double-digit scorer. No player on St. Bonaventure eclipsed eight rebounds.
Langston Galloway added 18 points for Saint Joseph’s while Ronald Roberts, Jr. finished with 12 points.
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After dropping two straight games to end the regular season, Saint Joseph’s has bounced back with a solid week in the Atlantic 10 Tournament as they now own wins over Dayton and St. Bonaventure going into Sunday’s title game.