A-10 Notebook - Nov. 30

By Atlantic 10 Conference

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Courtesy: Atlantic 10 Conference

Nov. 30, 2008

A-10 Notebook

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Damian Saunders - Duquesne
Sophomore, Forward, 6-7, 210 lbs.
Waterbury, Conn./Notre Dame Prep (Mass.)

Saunders averaged 19 points and 8.7 rebounds while shooting 62.2 percent (23-of-37) from the field over three games...had 15 points, four rebounds and three assists on Nov. 23 in Duquesne's 85-65 win over Furman...notched his first career double-double with 20 points and 12 boards in the Dukes' 79-69 victory at South Carolina-Upstate on Nov. 25...scored a career-high 22 points and pulled down 10 boards on Nov. 28 at #7/#5 Duke...added seven assists, four steals and three blocks on the week.

Chris Wright - Dayton
Sophomore, Forward, 6-8, 226 lbs.
Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison HS

Wright registered three double-double performances over four contests as Dayton won the Chicago Invitational Challenge...averaged 12 points and 10.5 rebounds and was tabbed the tournament's Most Valuable Player...had 10 points and 14 rebounds in the Flyers' 60-59 (OT) win versus Auburn on Nov. 28 and 13 points and 13 boards and four assists in Dayton's 89-75 victory over #15/#15 Marquette on Nov. 29...scored 16 points, grabbed 11 boards and added three blocks on Nov. 25 in the Flyers' 71-53 win versus Mercer.

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Andrew Nicholson - St. Bonaventure
Freshman, Forward, 6-9, 230 lbs.
Mississaugua, Ontario/Father Michael Goetz Secondary HS

Nicholson averaged 12 points, eight rebounds and 2.3 blocks over three games to earn his second consecutive A-10 Rookie of the Week honor...had 15 points, 11 boards and five blocks in his first career start on Nov. 23 as the Bonnies edged Rutgers in overtime, 64-63...scored 13 points and added nine rebounds versus Mississippi State on Nov. 25.

HONOR ROLL: Junior guard Rashad Coleman averaged 16.5 points in Charlotte's first two contests at the Anaheim Classic versus Arizona State and Providence...Dayton freshman swingman Chris Johnson averaged 8.8 points and 6.8 rebounds in four victories for the Flyers...junior forward Damian Hollis scored 13 points and grabbed seven boards, while freshman guard Tony Taylor added 10 points and four assists in George Washington's 70-64 win over Maryland-Baltimore County on Nov. 26...Massachusetts junior guard Ricky Harris scored a season-high 27 points on Nov. 29 in the Minutemen's 84-67 loss at Wisconsin-Green Bay...senior guard Jimmy Baron of Rhode Island averaged 20.3 points and shot 12-for-22 from three-point range over three games in the Philly Hoop Group Classic...Richmond junior guard David Gonzalvez poured in a team-high 25 points on Nov. 24 as the Spiders downed Florida Gulf Coast, 69-58...junior forward Maurice Thomas registered his first double-double of the season with 22 points and 12 rebounds in St. Bonaventure's 68-66 loss to Canisius on Nov. 29...Saint Joseph's senior forward Ahmad Nivins was the leading rebounder at the eight-team EA Sports Maui Invitational with 29 boards over three contests...freshman forward Brian Conklin scored a team-high 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting and added six rebounds on Nov. 25 as Saint Louis dropped a 71-57 decision at Nebraska...Temple senior guard Dionte Christmas scored a game-high 25 points and added six rebounds in the Owls' 83-73 loss at Buffalo on Nov. 29...Xavier junior forward Derrick Brown scored a career-high 23 points on 6-of-10 shooting and added six rebounds as the Musketeers earned a 60-53 win over Miami (Ohio) on Nov. 29.

FLYING HIGH: Dayton is 6-0 for the second time in head coach Brian Gregory's tenure at UD after the Flyers knocked off #15/#15 Marquette on Nov. 29 in the finals of the Chicago Invitational Challenge. In Gregory's first season at UD in 2003-04, the Flyers won their first nine games. With the win over Marquette, Dayton improved to 19-2 with tournament MVP Chris Wright in the lineup for his career, including a perfect 5-0 versus ranked opponents.

X-CELLENT: Xavier's 6-0 start is the fifth-best start in program history and the best since its school-record 10-0 start of the 1996-97 season. A win over Auburn on Dec. 3 would tie XU for the third-best start in school history with the 1955-56 and 1927-28 teams. Fifth-year head coach Sean Miller will be seeking his 100th career win on Dec. 3. Miller is 99-39 in his fifth season at XU. The Musketeers are ranked 16th in the latest AP top 25 poll released on Nov. 24.

SWEET STROKE: Jimmy Baron registered his third 20-point outing of the season on Nov. 29 with 23 points - including 11 in a row - in Rhode Island's 78-65 loss to #20/#22 Villanova. Baron earned All-Tournament honors at the Philly Hoop Group Classic and enters the Rams' Dec. 3 contest at Northeastern with 271 career three-pointers, including 14 performances with at least five field goals from beyond the arc. The senior guard nailed eight three's at Duke on Nov. 16, the most by an opposing player in the history of Cameron Indoor Stadium.

EXPLORING NEW HEIGHTS: La Salle's Rodney Green scored 25 points versus Connecticut and poured in 22 against Southern Mississippi in the Explorers' first two games at the Paradise Jam, one shy of his three total 20-point outings a year ago. The junior guard is averaging a team-high 14.4 ppg., up from 13.4 ppg. a year ago.

GOOD LINE, BAD LINE: Dayton closed out its 60-59 (OT) win over Auburn on Nov. 28 by making its final 15 free throws of the game. The Flyers' shooting wasn't all perfect, however, as they set an NCAA record by missing all 24 of their three-point attempts. The previous record was an 0-for-22 effort by Canisius on Jan. 21, 1995 versus St. Bonaventure. The odds that a team who was making 39.5 percent of its three-pointers going 0-for-24 in a game are six-in-one-million, according to Texas Tech professor Dr. Alan Reifman, on his website http://thehothand.blogspot.com/.

SELECT COMPANY: Temple senior guard Dionte Christmas averaged a league-best 19.7 points last season to become just the third player in Conference history to lead the Atlantic 10 in scoring in successive years. The two other players to hold that distinction are John Battle of Rutgers (1984-85) and St. Bonaventure's Earl Belcher (1980-81). Christmas is poised to become the first three-time scoring champion in Conference history. The Philadelphia, Pa., native is averaging a league-best 24.0 ppg. this season. In addition, with eight career A-10 Player of the Week honors, Christmas trails only Xavier's David West (14), Jameer Nelson of Saint Joseph's (13) and Massachusetts' Marcus Camby (nine) for the most in league history.

FISH IN A BARREL: Richmond shot 68.6 percent (35-for-51) from the field on Nov. 25 in its 85-74 win versus UMKC in the second round of the CBE Classic, the seventh-highest field goal percentage in A-10 history. The Spiders connected on 20-of-27 shots in the second half and finished the game missing just six shots (28-for-34) inside the three-point line. The league record for field goal percentage is .723 (34-of-47), set by Duquesne in 1991 versus St. Bonaventure.

GETTING CLOSE: Duquesne, which did not have a triple-double on record prior to Shawn James' 17 point, 11 rebound, 10 block performance against Saint Joseph's last season, has had a couple of close calls already this year in the form of 6-4 senior guard Aaron Jackson. In back-to-back games last week, Jackson - who is playing at the point - had 20 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists in just 28 minutes of action in a win over Furman and followed that with 15 points, eight rebounds and a career-high 10 assists in a victory at South Carolina-Upstate. Jackson has topped the 100-assist mark twice in his three previous seasons at Duquesne and leads the Conference with an average of 6.40 apg.

STRAIGHT SHOOTER: Saint Joseph's senior forward Ahmad Nivins seeks to join former George Washington standout Alexander Koul (1995-97) as the only players in A-10 history to lead the league in field goal percentage three consecutive years. Nivins shot .647 (165-of-255) from the field a year ago. The Jersey City, N.J., native has made 32-of-47 shots through the Hawks' first five contests.

CHAMPIONSHIP CHATTER: The Atlantic 10 Conference and CBS Sports announced a multi-year agreement for CBS to air the league's men's basketball championship final, beginning in 2010. The A-10 also announced a new format for the men's basketball championship to coincide with the 2010 title game being moved to Sunday on CBS Sports. The new format will continue to see the top 12 teams participate with seeds 1 through 4 receiving an opening round bye; however, the four opening round games will move to the campuses of the higher remaining seeded teams. Winners of each game will advance to the quarterfinals at a site scheduled to be announced later this winter for 2010 and beyond.

STREAKIN: Dayton junior Kurt Huelsman has started every game of his collegiate career, a span of 71 consecutive contests thru games of Nov. 29, while Rhode Island's Kahiem Seawright boasts the longest active streak of consecutive starts in the A-10 at 72 games.

Name - Consec. Starts
Kahiem Seawright, URI - 72
Kurt Huelsman, UD - 71
Jimmy Baron, URI - 65
Ahmad Nivins, SJU - 61
Yves Mekongo Mbala, LAS - 44
Derrick Brown, XU - 43

A SLAM DUNK: George Washington will face cross-town rival Maryland in the 14th Annual BB&T Classic at Washington's Verizon Center on Dec. 7. GW and Maryland co-host the event each year which has earned $7 million over the last 13 years for the National Children's Charities Foundation of Washington, DC.

DEFENDING ITS TURF: Dayton improved to 4-0 at home after its 71-53 win over Mercer on Nov. 25. The Flyers held its first three opponents under 50 points for the first time since the 1947-48 campaign and limited Mercer to 30.2 percent shooting (16-of-50) in the victory.

ON THE CUSP: Four of Charlotte's five losses have come by five points or less, including a double-overtime setback at Appalachian State on Nov. 19. One bright spot has been the play of junior point guard DiJuan Harris, who ranks second in the A-10 in assists (5.83 apg.).

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