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Friday, March 10, 2006

Lower Seeds Move On To The Semifinals Of The 2006 A-10 Men's Basketball Championship

(9)Temple 68 (1)George Washington 53
Senior Antywane Robinson scored a game-high 19 points and Temple improved to 22-2 all-time in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship after knocking of top-seeded and defending champion George Washington on Thursday afternoon, 68-53.

Temple (17-13) will take on the winner of this afternoon’s Saint Louis-Saint Joseph’s contest on Friday evening at 6:30pm. The sixth-ranked Colonials had their 18-game winning streak snapped, the longest in the nation.

Trailing 10-5 at the 14:51 mark of the opening half after a layup by GW freshman Rob Diggs, Robinson scored Temple’s next nine points as the Owls closed to within 16-14 with 12:35 showing on the clock. A three-point field goal by junior guard Carl Elliott pushed the Colonials’ lead to 23-18 with 8:00 to go before intermission. However, GW would be held without a point for the remainder of the half as Temple went on a 13-0 run. The Owls took a 31-23 lead to the lockeroom after forward Dion Dacons fed senior guard Mardy Collins for a dunk in the final seconds following a Dacons’ steal.

Temple scored five quick points in the opening minute of the second half before George Washington closed to within 50-43 on a basket by junior guard Danilo Pinnock with 8:05 remaining in the game. However, junior center Wayne Marshall scored eight of Temple’s next nine points, including a pair of foul line jump shots, as the Owls took a 59-46 lead with 4:45 to go. GW would get no closer than nine points the rest of the way in dropping its first game since Dec. 30.

“They [George Washington] have so many parts. They’re going to press you full court for 40 minutes,” said Temple head coach John Chaney, who earned his 741st career victory. “This is a good rebounding team. They had to negotiate passing the ball around. They want to fly. We just want to get back and make sure they’re looking at us playing defense. Athletes [like George Washington’s] are very difficult to play. They have a song and drum of their own.”

Marshall scored 15 points in jut 22 minutes of action while sophomore Mark Tyndale added 15 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Junior guard Carl Elliott scored 18 points while Pinnock dropped in 16 for George Washington (26-2), which was held to 11-for-38 shooting in the second half. The Colonials held a 48-37 advantage on the glass but committed 19 turnovers.

“I think the character of this [George Washington] basketball team has shown itself all year,” said head coach Karl Hobbs. “Temple played a fantastic basketball game. They never allowed our pressure to be a factor in the game.”

(5)Saint Joseph's 56 (4)Saint Louis 37
Senior guard Chet Stachitas scored 17 points and Saint Joseph’s closed out the opening half with a 15-3 run en route to a 56-37 win over Saint Louis on Thursday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the 2006 Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship, held at U.S. Bank Arena.

The fifth-seeded Hawks (17-12) will face Temple (17-13) on Friday at 6:30pm in the semifinals.

SJU scored the first seven points of the game and led 18-11 after a layup by Saint Louis freshman guard Kevin Lisch with 7:00 remaining in the opening half. It would mark the Billikens’ last field goal of the half, however, while Stachitas knocked down a pair field goals from beyond the arc to give the Hawks a 33-14 advantage at the intermission.

“I thought Chet’s movement was particularly impressive, considering how well Saint Louis guards you,” said Saint Joseph’s head coach Phil Martelli.

Saint Louis closed to within 34-20 with 17:21 showing on the clock before Stachitas sank a pair of free throws and senior guard Dwayne Lee nailed one of his two three-point field goals on the afternoon. The Hawks’ advantage swelled to 52-25 with 5:59 to play after sophomore Pat Calathes converted a three-point play. Lee finished with eight points and zero turnovers in 33 minutes of action while sophomore forward scored all 10 of his points in the opening half.

“I’ve been saying it for a stretch with this team. This was predicated on the defensive end. I thought we followed the plan,” said Martelli. “The offensive end was crisp for a long time in the first half, but we were lousy in the second half getting something going. We got ahead or ourselves a little offensively in the second half. It played out the way we thought at the defensive end.”

Vying for its first A-10 title since 1997, Saint Joseph’s extended its winning streak to seven games, the longest active streak in the Conference.

Appearing in its first-ever Atlantic 10 Championship, Saint Louis (16-13) was led by junior Ian Vouyoukas, the 2005-06 A-10 Most Improved Player who scored 15 points and added 10 rebounds. The Billikens were held to 31 percent shooting for the afternoon, including 6-for-25 in the opening 20 minutes.

(10)Xavier 59 (2)Charlotte 55
Sophomore Stanley Burrell knocked down three free throws in the final 15.6 seconds and Xavier rallied from a four-point deficit in the final 3:12 to edge second-seeded Charlotte, 59-55, in the quarterfinals of the 2006 Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship on Thursday evening.

No. 10 Xavier (19-10) will face the winner of the La Salle-Fordham contest on Friday evening at 8:30pm.

Junior Justin Cage’s three-point field goal with 10:05 remaining in the game gave the Musketeers their largest lead of the game at 44-36. However, Charlotte quickly pulled ahead, 50-49, at the 4:02 mark on a three-pointer by sophomore guard Leemire Goldwire, his third field goal from beyond the arc in a span of 4:35. He would add two free throws with 3:12 showing on the clock to give Charlotte a 54-50 lead.

Following a Xavier timeout, forward Justin Doellman hit a jumper in the lane and Cage scored on a put-back to tie the game at 54-54 with 1:23 to play. XU sophomore forward Josh Duncan was fouled with 1:03 remaining grabbing a rebound off a Goldwire three-point attempt that rimmed out and calmly sank a pair of free throws.

Leading 56-54 and the shot clock winding down, Burrell’s jumper was rebounded by Doellman, forcing Charlotte to foul. Burrell knocked down two free throws with 15.6 seconds to play and added another with five seconds left to seal the win. Doellman finished with a team-high h14 points and eight rebounds while Cage scored 13 on 6-of-7 shooting.

“Charlotte deserves a lot of credit. It’s a shame, the game was such a hard-fought game. They’re a talented team with a very good coach. I hope they get to keep on playing,” said Xavier head coach Sean Miller.

“We’re giving great effort. We have a lot of players in different roles, for example Brandon Cole now being a factor on the team. Our players really deserve a lot of credit.”

Playing in its first-ever Atlantic 10 Championship, Charlotte (18-12) was led by Goldwire, who scored 15 of his game-high 19 points in the second half. The 49ers were held to 27.3 percent shooting (9-of-33) in the second half and 31.1 percent for the game.

“We had 16 offensive rebounds to their five. Unfortunately, they got two really huge offensive rebounds at the end of the game,” said Charlotte head coach Bobby Lutz. “We’re obviously hugely disappointed with this loss and the one on Saturday [to George Washington]. Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to play in the NIT.”

An up-tempo first half that featured 11 lead changes saw Charlotte take a 24-23 lead with 2:44 remaining on a three-point play by junior Courtney Williams. Xavier regained the lead on the ensuing possession on a three-pointer from the top of the key by freshman guard Johnny Wolf and the Musketeers entered the lockeroom with a 29-27 advantage. Five of Xavier’s 12 first half field goals were from beyond the arc as XU shot 12-for-28 from the field in the opening 20 minutes of action.

(6)Fordham 64 (3)La Salle 62
Sophomore Bryant Dunston knocked down a pair of critical foul shots in the waning moments and Fordham withstood a furious La Salle comeback to earn a historic win on Thursday evening in the quarterfinals of the 2006 Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship.

The sixth-seeded Rams (16-15) advanced to the semifinals of the A-10 Championship for the first time since joining the Conference in 1995-96, where it will face No. 10 Xavier at 8:30pm on Friday evening.

A three-point play by Dunston at the 18:14 mark of the second half gave Fordham its largest lead of the game at 44-26. A pair of free throws by La Salle (18-10) sophomore guard Darnell Harris cut the deficit to 59-54 with 3:57 showing on the clock. Marcus Stout’s off-balance three-pointer as the shot clock expired was tipped in by sophomore Sebastian Greene to give the Rams a 61-54 lead with 3:19 to go.

A layup by A-10 Player of the Year Steven Smith with 1:11 remaining pulled the Explorers to within 61-60, capping off a 13-2 run which included just one Fordham field goal over the final 7:12. Fouled with one second remaining on the shot clock, Dunston knocked down a pair of foul shots to push the Rams’ lead to 63-60 with 32.6 seconds on the clock.

La Salle freshman Paul Johnson’s one-handed tip-in with 20.5 seconds left cut the lead to 63-62 before Stout made one of two at the line with 12.3 to go. Taking the inbounds under its own basket with four seconds remaining, Harris drove the left baseline and hoisted a floater that rimmed out as the final horn sounded.

Dunston finished with a game-high 19 points and added 10 rebounds while Greene chipped in 11 off the bench.

“Unbelievable game. We played like gangbusters. My guys played their hearts out,” said Fordham head coach Dereck Whittenburg. “La Salle came back in the second half, but we just held on and made enough plays to win the game.”

Harris paced the Explorers with 17 points while senior guard Jermaine Thomas added 11 points and six assists. Smith scored 10 points, including six in the final five minutes, in his final A-10 contest.

“We dug our ourselves way too deep a hole and it was too much to come back from,”
said La Salle head coach John Giannini. “I thought the first 25 minutes of the game was very poor on our part. But I give Fordham a lot of credit. We fought back at the end, but it was too little to late.”
A-10 Announces Men's Basketball All-Conference Teams

  • All-Conference Teams

    Steven Smith
    PHILADELPHIA, PA – For the second year in a row, La Salle senior Steven Smith has been selected Atlantic 10 men’s basketball Player of the Year in voting conducted among the Conference’s head coaches.

    The Atlantic 10 coaches also voted Tommie Liddell of Saint Louis as Rookie of the Year, Massachusetts’ Stephane Lasme as Defensive Player of the Year, Ian Vouyoukas of Saint Louis as the Chris Daniels Award winner as the league’s most improved player, Maureece Rice of George Washington as Sixth Man of the Year, and George Washington head coach Karl Hobbs as Coach of the Year. Brian Thornton of Xavier was selected as the Student-Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row in voting among the league’s sports information directors.

    Smith leads the Atlantic 10 in scoring, averaging 20.0 ppg upon entering this week’s Atlantic 10 Championship at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. The 6-7 senior from Philadelphia is also third in the A-10 in rebounding at 8.0 rpg. His .490 (204-416) field goal percentage ranks fifth in the Conference, while his 14 20-point scoring games is first. In earning his second Player of the Year award (he shared it with Pat Carroll of Saint Joseph’s last season), Smith becomes just the fifth player in league history to earn the honor twice, joining James Bailey of Rutgers (1978, 1979), Earl Belcher of St. Bonaventure (1980, 1981), West Virginia’s Greg Jones (1982, 1983), and David West of Xavier (2001, 2002, 2003).

    Smith is joined on the All-Conference first-team by Charlotte’s De’Angelo Alexander and Curtis Withers, Mardy Collins of Temple, Fordham’s Bryant Dunston, Rashaun Freeman of UMass, George Washington teammates Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Danilo Pinnock, Dawan Robinson of Rhode Island, Xavier’s Brian Thornton, and Ian Vouyoukas of Saint Louis.

    The All-Conference second-team consists of Jermaine Anderson of Fordham, Richmond’s Jermaine Bucknor, Stanley Burrell of Xavier, Carl Elliott and Mike Hall of George Washington, Saint Joseph’s Abdulai Jalloh and Chet Stachitas, Bryant McAllister of Duquesne, Dayton’s Brian Roberts, Antywane Robinson of Temple, and St. Bonaventure’s Ahmad Smith. Leemire Goldwire (CHA), Maureece Rice (GW), and Jermaine Thomas (LAS) garnered honorable mention acclaim.

    Liddell earned six Rookie of the Week awards in 2005-06, becoming the ninth player in A-10 history to earn at least six. The 6-4 guard from East St. Louis, IL, is all over the Billikens’ leader board. He is the team’s third leading scorer (10.5 ppg) and second leading rebounder, while his 76 assists and 28 steals lead the team. He also has 18 blocked shots - second-most at SLU.

    Joining Liddell on the All-Rookie team are teammate Kevin Lisch, Jimmy Baron of Rhode Island, Chris Lowe of Massachusetts, and Saint Joseph’s Ahmad Nivins.

    Lasme, who was named the Atlantic 10's Defensive Player of the Year, enters the A-10 Championship as one of the nation’s leading shot blockers, ranking third nationally with a 3.89 per game average. The 6-8 junior from Libreville, Gabon, is also pulling down 6.9 rebounds per game, with six games of at least 10 boards to his credit this season. Offensively, he is averaging 10.1 ppg.

    The All-Defensive team is comprised of Lasme, Collins, Hall, Mensah-Bonsu, and Justin Cage of Xavier.

    Vouyoukas was named the Atlantic 10's Chris Daniels Award winner, presented to the Conference’s most improved player. A year ago, the 6-10 native of Athens, Greece, averaged 6.9 points and 5.4 rebounds while seeing time in 27 games. This season, Vouyoukas is averaging team highs of 13.9 ppg and 7.3 rpg. His 54 blocked shots also leads the Billikens.

    Rice is the second consecutive George Washington player to garner Sixth Man honors, following in the footsteps of Pinnock. Rice has come off the bench in all 27 games for the Colonials to average 12.6 ppg - second-best on the team. The 6-1 sophmore from Philadelphia is shooting 45.7 percent (128-280) from the field, which includes a .398 percentage (35-88) from three-point range. His 81 assists and 43 steals rank third among the Colonials.

    Thornton has managed to combine academics and athletics very successfully since transferring to Xavier from Vanderbilt. The 6-8 senior from Louisville, KY, improved his game tremendously from last season before a broken ankle sustained on Feb.11 ended his season. Thornton posted averages of 15.3 points and 6.8 rebounds - both best for the Musketeers. His .640 field goal percentage (114-178) still ranks fifth in the nation and tops in the Atlantic 10. In the classroom, Thornton, who graduated last May, sports a 3.30 graduate school grade point average in Xavier’s MBA program. He also earned second-team Academic All-America honors this season.

    Thornton is joined on the Atlantic 10 Academic All-Conference team by Goldwire, Roberts, Stachitas, Peter Thomas of Richmond, and Fordham’s Nick Vita.

    Hobbs led George Washington to the fourth perfect record in A-10 history, taking his Colonials to a 16-0 league mark and a 26-1 overall record. George Washington enters the Championship as the top seed after posting a perfect 16-0 record in A-10 play and a 26-1 overall mark. The Colonials, who are ranked seventh by the Associated Press and sixth by USA Today/ESPN, enter the A-10 Championship with the nation’s longest winning streak at 18 games (the longest in school history). George Washington joins Saint Joseph’s (16-0, 2003-04), Temple (18-0, 1987-88), and Temple again (18-0, 1983-84) as those who posted perfect A-10 regular seasons. At 26-1, the Colonials have set a school record for wins. GW previously won 24 games in 1954-55 (24-6) and 1997-98 (24-9). In five season at Foggy Bottom, Hobbs is 90-54 (.625).

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