College basketball fans need not look further than this past weekend for proof that the Atlantic 10 Conference is one of the most exciting leagues in the country. From surprising upsets to overtime finishes, A10 basketball had it all this weekend. Let’s recap the best storylines and finishes that set the stage for the final week of regular-season play.
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Dayton Turns Upset Bid Into Beatdown of Saint Louis
The Dayton Flyers did more than just upset the Saint Louis Billikens on Friday night. They pummeled them. A midweek double-overtime loss to Rhode Island failed to tire out Dayton whatsoever. The Flyers jumped out to a 20-point halftime lead over SLU and never looked back on their way to a 76-53 Atlantic 10 basketball victory.
It wasn’t a great shooting night for star point guard Jalen Crutcher, but he made up for his 4-13 shooting from the floor by hitting 10 of 11 free throws. Crutcher led the Flyers with 19 points, six assists, five rebounds and a pair of steals in the win. Backcourt mate Ibi Watson chipped in 14 points and six boards. This victory gave Dayton a surprising season sweep of Saint Louis. The Flyers earned a five-point road win over the Billikens back at the end of January.
St. Joseph’s Outlasts La Salle in Big 5 Battle for First Atlantic 10 Basketball Win
It took St. Joseph’s a long time to get over the hump and win an Atlantic 10 basketball conference game. The Hawks sure found a way to do it in dramatic fashion. Ryan Daly’s 30-point performance powered SJU to a 91-82 overtime win over Philadelphia Big 5 rival La Salle.
Daly added seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks to his impressive stat line. He was joined in eclipsing the 20-point threshold by both Jordan Hall (22 points) and Taylor Funk (20). Hall put up a triple-double in the game with 12 rebounds and 10 assists to go with his big scoring output. St. Joe’s outscored La Salle 14-5 in the overtime period. The loss marked the continuation of a rough stretch for the Explorers who have now dropped four straight Atlantic 10 basketball games.
George Mason Upends VCU in OT
The Philadelphia Big 5 matchup wasn’t the only Atlantic 10 basketball game that required extra time on Saturday. Led by 27 points from Josh Oduro, George Mason earned a big road upset win over VCU, 79-76 in OT.
The 27 points marked a career-high for Oduro. Perhaps even more impressive is that he did it coming off the bench. Starter Jordan Miller also had a fantastic all-around game with 15 points, nine rebounds, three steals and two assists. The win leveled the Patriots’ A10 conference record at 6-6 heading into the regular season’s final week. Nah’Shon Hyland led VCU with 17 points. This marked just the third conference loss for the Rams on the season.
Richmond Takes Care of Duquesne
The Duquesne Dukes had been one of the hottest teams in Atlantic 10 basketball in recent weeks. Winners in four of their last five games, Duquesne would give Richmond all they could handle in their Saturday matchup. The Spiders managed to stave the Dukes off, in the end, to pick up a crucial 79-72 win.
The balanced scoring of Richmond was on full display in this game as all five starters scored in double figures. Blake Francis and Jacob Gilyard topped the list with 17 points apiece. Gilyard added four assists and a pair of steals to his line. Tyler Burton also made a notable impact with 16 points and eight rebounds. Duquesne center Michael Hughes led all scorers for the game with 20 points to go along with nine boards, four steals and three assists.
George Washington Knocks Off Rhode Island
This Sunday result is for anyone who needs further proof that the Atlantic 10 is one of the most wide-open conferences in the country. After beating Dayton in double OT earlier in the week, Rhode Island failed to handle an opponent that many believed they should have in George Washington. The Colonials pulled out a massive 78-70 home victory to get back to the .500 mark in A10 play.
James Bishop continues to be phenomenal for GWU. He led all scorers with 28 points in Sunday’s win. Forward Jamison Battle was right behind with 26 points while Ricky Lindo Jr. chipped in an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double. Four Rhode Island players reached double figures scoring in the loss, led by Ishmael Leggett’s 16 points.