A-10 Men's Basketball Notebook, Dec. 7, 2008

This is the Atlantic 10 Conference's men's basketball notebook for the week ending December 6, 2008. Ahmad Nivins of Saint Joseph's and Xavier's B.J. Raymond share player of the week honors. St. Bonaventure freshman Andrew Nicholson earned his third A-10 Rookie of the Week honor.


PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Ahmad Nivins - Saint Joseph's
Senior, Forward, 6-9, 235 lbs.
Jersey City, N.J./St. Anthony's HS

Nivins earns his second career A-10 Player of the Week honor after averaging 19 points and 14 rebounds over two contests...scored 20 points and pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds in Saint Joseph's 77-64 win at Lehigh on Dec. 2...had a team-high 18 points and 11 boards on Dec. 6 versus Creighton...made 12-of-18 field goal attempts in the two games...leads the A-10 with five double-doubles on the year.

B.J. Raymond - Xavier
Senior, Guard, 6-6, 226 lbs.
Toledo, Ohio/St. John's Jesuit HS

In Xavier's lone contest of the week versus Auburn on Dec. 3, Raymond scored a career-high 32 points on 10-of-13 shooting and added six boards in the Musketeers' 81-74 victory...drained a career-best seven three-pointers in nine attempts...leads XU in scoring (13.7 ppg.).

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK

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

Nicholson scored a season-high 16 points, grabbed nine rebounds and tied a program-record with eight blocks on Dec. 6 as St. Bonaventure downed Princeton, 60-53, in the Bonnies' lone contest of the week...made four-of-six shots from the field and 8-for-11 from the line, including all four of his foul shots in the final two minutes...is the first SBU student-athlete in program annals to earn three A-10 Rookie of the Week awards.


HONOR ROLL

FLYING HIGH

Dayton is 8-0 for the second time in head coach Brian Gregory's tenure at UD after the visiting Flyers edged Akron on Dec. 6, 54-50. In Gregory's first season at UD in 2003-04, the Flyers won their first nine games. Dayton has held each of its first eight opponents to under 40 percent shooting, including then-15th ranked Marquette in the finals of the Chicago Invitational Challenge on Nov. 29.

X-CELLENT

Xavier's 7-0 start is tied for the third-best start in program history and the best since its school-record 10-0 start of the 1996-97 season. The Musketeers are ranked 14th in the latest AP and ESPN/USA Today polls released on Dec.1.

PERFECT TEN

Dayton and Xavier are vying to become the first A-10 programs to begin a season with 10 consecutive victories since Saint Joseph's opened the 2003-04 season with 27 straight wins.

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, D.C.

ANYWHERE, ANYTIME

According to RealTime RPI, the Atlantic 10 ranks fourth among Division I conferences in Strength Of Schedule. A-10 teams have already faced 11 ranked opponents since the season opened on Nov. 11.

DANCING IN DAYTON

Perhaps being fleet of foot is the secret to Dayton's 8-0 start to the season. Senior forward Charles Little, who led the Flyers with 17 points and 10 boards in their 87-70 win over Troy on Dec. 2, is in a ballet class this semester. Sophomore Chris Wright, the MVP of the Chicago Invitational Challenge who leads the team in scoring (13.6 ppg.) and rebounding (7.3 rpg.), is studying tap dance this term. "Tap is really difficult to do, but it pays off. After my ankle injury last year, it really helps with my flexibility and footwork," says Wright.

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. 9 contest versus New Hampshire with 275 career three-pointers, including 14 career 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.

SLICK RICK

Massachusetts junior guard Ricky Harris scored a career-high 35 points in the Minutemen's 85-81 (OT) loss to Boston College on Dec. 6. It marked the highest single-game performance by a UMass player since Marcus Camby poured in 38 points versus Dayton on Jan. 4, 1996. Harris and Xavier's B.J. Raymond are the only players in the A-10 to score at least 30 points in a game this season. A year ago, there were 21 30-point outings by 10 different players, led by Charlotte's Leemire Goldwire with six 30-point performances.

DID YOU KNOW?

Entering play on Dec. 7, 16 of the league's 44 non-conference losses have been by four points or less. A-10 teams have also dropped six overtime contests, including two by Charlotte.

DISH NETWORK

Duquesne senior guard Aaron Jackson recorded a career-high 10 assists on Nov. 25 in the Dukes' 79-69 win 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 6.17 apg.

MILLER TIME

Xavier earned an 81-74 home win over Auburn on Dec. 4, giving head coach Sean Miller his 100th career victory. Now in his fifth season as head coach of the Musketeers, Miller boasts a career record of 100-39.

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 44-of-65 shots through the Hawks' first seven contests and leads the league with five double-doubles. SWIPING SPIDERS

Richmond is averaging 7.5 steals per game through eight contests after amassing a season-high 12 in the Spiders' 76-66 win over Delaware State on Dec. 6. UR has recorded at least five steals in 40 of their last 42 games. Guards David Gonzalvez and Kevin Smith share the team lead with 1.50 steals per game. Last season UR totaled 257 steals, just five shy of the school record.

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 19.0 ppg. this season, good for second in the A-10. 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.

COMING OF AGE

After averaging a modest 7.3 ppg. while ranking second in the A-10 in steals (1.79 spg.) last season, Rhode Island junior guard Keith Cothran has elevated his offensive game thus far in 2008-09. Cothran is averaging 15.8 ppg. and shooting 54.1 percent (57-of-109) from the floor. For his career, URI is 12-0 when Cothran scores 15 points or more. "Keith [Cothran] is the best slashing guard in the A-10," URI senior Jimmy Baron said.

ALL-TIME WINNERS

Below is a list of the current student-athletes who have garnered A-10 Player of the Week honors (number of selections in parentheses):

  • Dionte Christmas, TU (8)
  • Jimmy Baron, URI (2)
  • Ricky Harris, UM (2)
  • Aaron Jackson, DUQ (2)
  • Kevin Lisch, SLU (2)
  • Ahmad Nivins, SJU (2)
  • Rob Diggs, GW (1)
  • Dan Geriot, UR (1)
  • Chris Lowe, UM (1)
  • B.J. Raymond, XU (1)
  • Damian Saunders, DUQ (1)
  • Chris Wright, UD (1)

MEN OF STEAL

Charlotte enters its Dec. 10 contest at Mississippi State averaging 8.25 steals per game, good for second in the Conference. Junior DiJuan Harris leads the 49ers with 19 steals (2.38 spg.), including five versus Providence on Nov. 28. Last year, Charlotte registered 271 steals, its highest total since 1991.

STEPPING UP

UMass forward Tony Gaffney has opened his senior year in grand style. He has recorded four double-double performances - the first of his career - thru the Minutemen's first seven games - and blocked a career-best nine shots versus Boston College on Dec. 6. Gaffney leads the A-10 in rebounding with an average of 13.1 rpg.


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