Day Two of Atlantic 10 Tournament: Saint Joseph’s advances, La Salle falls
Phil Martelli’s Hawks stay alive while three other teams advance to quarterfinals of Atlantic 10 Championship at Barclays Center.
The Atlantic 10 returned to Barclays Center for their conference tournament for the first time since 2016. Thursday was the first full day of action after Wednesday’s “play-in” games to fill the main bracket of the tournament. The tournament features VCU, the regular season champion and the favorite to win in Brooklyn. The other team to watch is Davidson, who at 21-8, is a longshot for an at-large bid to the tournament but a big run through the A-10 Championship could put Stephen Curry’s alma mater in The Big Dance.
Here is a recap of Day 2 of the Atlantic 10 Tournament, including a game that featured a longtime staple of the conference facing an in-state rival.
Saint Joseph’s 92, Duquesne 86
Both teams started the game on an offensive rampage. Duquesne and Saint Joseph’s shot over 50 percent from the field in the first half. The Hawks went into the locker room with a six-point lead (49-43), but the game was closer than that throughout the first 20 minutes. Charlie Brown Jr. and Jared Bynum led the way for the Hawks while the Dukes had three players in double-digits at the half.
The second half saw Saint Joseph’s hold on to their lead throughout. The Dukes continued to keep the game close until late in the half when the Hawks began to pull away. Defense became a focus for Phil Martelli’s team as Duquesne went 1-for-10 during a stretch that cemented the win for Saint Joseph’s. Brown finished with a game-high 24 points for the Hawks. Eric Williams Jr. scored 20 for Duquesne.
“Today we did it,” said Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli. “So I’m not going to spend any time wondering about where it’s been for the last four months. I’m going to say it was here for 40 minutes and can I get it back for 40 minutes tomorrow, because we’re going to need it.”
Saint Joseph’s now moves on to meet number two seed Davidson on Friday.
Rhode Island 76, La Salle 57
The first game of Session Two was a non-contest as Rhode Island dominated La Salle in the win. The Rams shot 45 percent from the field in the win, their second over the Explorers this season. Cyril Langevine, the Atlantic 10’s leading rebounder, led Rhode Island with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Fatts Russell added 19 for the Rams who now will face number one seed VCU on Friday in the first game of the day.
“We didn’t make shots. We all just got down on ourselves and everybody just kind of gave up,” said La Salle guard Pookie Powell. “Unfortunately, we got the loss but I felt like the effort going towards the end was there, but it was just too late.”
George Mason 59, George Washington 54
George Mason withstood a tougher than expected challenge from the Colonials as the Patriots held on to advance in the Atlantic 10 Championship. Justin Kier finished with 26 points for George Mason (18-14) who will now face number four seed St. Bonaventure in the quarterfinals. For George Washington (8-23), Armel Potter led the way with 12 points.
“You know, we’re really excited about that win,” said George Mason coach Dave Paulsen. “I think you get into conference tournament play, you know, you’ve got to win a game like that, a grind-it-out game.”
Saint Louis 71, Richmond 68
In a game that seemed over early in the second half, Saint Louis (20-12) came back to defeat Richmond (12-20) in the final game of the day. The Billikens took the lead for with under five minutes remaining and they never looked back.
Hasahn French scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Saint Louis as they advance to face Dayton on Friday.
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