SALUTE TO CHAMPIONS: Men's Basketball
Twice a week this summer, Atlantic10.com will feature a sport-by-sport look back at the 2014-15 season and championships. Check back each week for a review of each sport. Today's look back: Men's Basketball.
For Atlantic 10 fans, the 2014-15 season proved to be one of the most competitive and most visible, as the league had 283 live games on television and digital platforms, including 205 on TV.
The league opened the season with 12 of the league’s 14 members earning opening-weekend wins. Another strong non-conference performance by A-10 teams was highlighted by George Washington upsetting No. 11 Wichita State on Christmas Day to win the Diamondhead Classic and a half-court buzzer-beater by George Mason’s Jalen Jenkins that was the No. 1 play on SportsCenter that night.
The real thrills came during league play when a topsy-turvy conference race resulted in the standings shifting significantly from January to March. This includes one fateful week in January when the league had three buzzer-beaters, starting with Bona’s Marcus Posley going coast-to-coast to beat Davidson.
GW’s Joe McDonald followed with an overtime putback that beat Dayton.
Posley then did it again, willing the Bonnies to a home win against VCU.
But it was A-10 newcomer Davidson that stole the show during the regular season. The Wildcats, picked 12th in the Preseason Poll that was announced in October during a successful Media Day at Barclays Center, claimed the regular season title their first year in the Atlantic 10. Davidson finished the league race at 14-4, ahead of second-seeded Dayton, upstart Rhode Island (third) and preseason favorite VCU (fifth).
With the exception of VCU upsetting fourth-seeded Richmond (70-60), the seeds held true into the A-10 Championship Semifinals. Davidson was challenged in the quarterfinals by La Salle, but a buzzer-beater by A-10 Player of the Year Tyler Kalinoski sent the Wildcats into the semis with a 67-66 win. VCU, which had been to the A-10 Championship game in 2013 and 2014, was hungry for a return and beat Davidson, 93-73. Dayton, which had surged since dismissing a pair of players in December, beat Rhode Island, 56-52, in the semis to set up a final between the hottest two A-10 teams. Third time was the charm for the Rams, who won their first Atlantic 10 title with a 71-65 victory over the Flyers.
Both teams, along with Davidson, Richmond, Rhode Island and George Washington all earned postseason bids. Davidson, Dayton and VCU played in the NCAA Tournament while GW, UR and Rhody all were NIT participants. Dayton, an 11 seed advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament, beating No. 11 Boise State 56-55 in the First Four on their own floor before advancing to face No. 6 Providence in Columbus, Ohio. The Flyers beat the Friars 66-53 and then lost to No. 3 Oklahoma 72-66 in the third round. No. 7 VCU lost to No. 10 Ohio State 75-72 in overtime in the second round game, while No. 10 Davidson lost 83-52 to No. 7 Iowa, also in the second round. Richmond advanced to the quarterfinals of the NIT with wins over St. Francis (NY) and Arizona State before losing to Miami 63-61.
Wildcats senior guard Tyler Kalinoski was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year while Bob McKillop was voted coach of the Year. VCU senior guard Briante Weber was named Defensive Player of the Year and Fordham freshman forward Eric Paschall was named Rookie of the Year. Richmond’s ShawnDre’ Jones was named the Sixth Man of the Year while Dayton sophomore forward Kendall Pollard was selected as the Chris Daniels Most Improved Player of the Year. Both McKillop and Dayton coach Archie Miller were named National Coach of the Year Finalists as well.
UMass’ Cady Lalanne was taken by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the NBA Draft and there were eight other former A-10 players that are playing in NBA Summer Leagues in 2015.
Previous Salute to Champions Stories
|Men's Cross Country||Men's Swimming & Diving||Golf|
|Women's Cross Country||Women's Indoor Track & Field||Lacrosse|
|Field Hockey||Men's Indoor Track & Field||Rowing|
|Women's Soccer||Women's Basketball||Women's Outdoor Track & Field|
|Men's Soccer||Men's Basketball||Men's Outdoor Track & Field|
|Women's Swimming & Diving||Men's Tennis||Baseball