A-10 Men's Basketball Notebook, Dec. 21, 2008

This is the Atlantic 10 Conference's men's basketball notebook for the week ending December 20, 2008. Tommie Liddell of Saint Louis is the Player of the Week and Duquesne's Eric Evans is the Rookie of the Week.


PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Tommie Liddell - Saint Louis
Senior, Guard, 6-4, 195 lbs.
East St. Louis, Ill./Hargrave Military Acad. (Va.)

Liddell amassed two double-doubles in leading Saint Louis to a pair of victories...scored 12 points and added 11 rebounds, five assists and three steals in the Billikens' 55-38 win over South Carolina-Upstate on Dec. 17...scored 15 points, grabbed 11 boards and added two steals on Dec. 19 a Saint Louis edged Liberty, 73-70...blocked the potential game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer to preserve the win over Liberty...leads all A-10 guards with an average of 7.4 rpg...became the first SLU player to register a double-double in consecutive games since Ian Vouyoukas (Dec. 12 / Dec. 16, 2006).

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK

Eric Evans - Duquesne
Freshman, Guard, 5-11, 195 lbs.
Detroit, Mich./Northwestern HS

Evans earns his second A-10 Rookie of the Week award after averaging 14.5 points and shooting 73.3 percent (11-for-15) over two games...knocked down 8-of-11 shots from the field en route to scoring a season-high 18 points in Duquesne's 86-60 loss to Old Dominion on Dec. 17...scored all 11 of his points in the second half on Dec. 20 as the Dukes turned aside Rice, 80-64...added three rebounds and two assists and knocked down three-of-six attempts from three-point range on the week.


SHOT CLOCK SNIPPET

According to RealTime RPI, the Atlantic 10 ranks fourth among Division I conferences in Strength of Schedule. A-10 teams have already faced 17 ranked opponents thru games of Dec. 20 and the league is seventh in the conference rankings according to CollegeRPI.

HONOR ROLL

  • Dayton senior forward Charles Little scored a game-high 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting in the Flyers' 75-44 win over UNC Greensboro. Freshman swingman Chris Johnson added 12 points and nine boards in the victory
  • Senior guard Aaron Jackson of Duquesne averaged 12 points and 7.5 assists in a pair of contests on the week
  • George Washington senior forward Rob Diggs scored 17 points and added five boards and three blocks on Dec. 17 in the Colonials' 63-50 win over American
  • Junior forward Kimmani Barrett of La Salle averaged 16.6 points and 7.6 rebounds and registered his first double-double of the season with 18 points and 12 boards at Cornell on Dec. 20
  • UMass senior center Luke Bonner set career highs in points (15) and rebounds (nine) on Dec. 20 as the Minutemen turned aside Hofstra, 97-81. UMass freshman guard David Gibbs added a season-high 11 points versus Hofstra
  • Senior guard Jimmy Baron of Rhode Island scored 16 points, grabbed five rebounds and added four assists in the Rams' 86-82 loss to Oklahoma State on Dec. 20
  • Richmond sophomore guard Kevin Anderson scored 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting as the Spiders fell to 10th-ranked Wake Forest on Dec. 19, 86-79
  • Junior forward Maurice Thomas averaged 13.5 points and eight rebounds in a pair of victories for St. Bonaventure, while freshman forward Andrew Nicholson scored 19 points in the Bonnies' 86-78 win at Eastern Michigan on Dec. 20
  • Temple senior guard Dionte Christmas nailed six three-pointers and scored a game-high 21 points on Dec. 20 in the Owls' 71-59 loss at Kansas
  • Junior forward Derrick Brown scored 21 points as Xavier dropped an 82-64 decision to sixth-ranked Duke on Dec. 20

PASSING THE ROCK

Senior guard Chris Lowe of Massachusetts led the A-10 and ranked 13th nationally in assists (6.2 apg.) a year ago. The Mount Vernon, N.Y., native registered at least ten assists on six different occasions. By comparison, no other player in the Conference dished out 10 or more assists more than once in 2007-08. Lowe, who also paced the A-10 in assists in 2006 (4.9 apg.), seeks to become the first player in league history to lead the Conference in assists three times. Carl Smith (UM - 1984, 86), Shandue McNeill (SBU - 1995, 97) and Jameer Nelson (SJU - 2001, 02) are the only other players to twice lead the A-10. Lowe recorded his league-leading fourth double-digit assist performance of the season on Dec. 20 in the Minutemen's 97-81 win at Hofstra. He leads the A-10 with an average of 6.20 apg.

SPREADING CHRISTMAS CHEER

For the 14th consecutive year, the Saint Joseph's men's basketball team undertook its annual Christmas charity project, "Hawks Helping Others," to aid needy families in West Philadelphia. With contributions from fans collected at the Creighton game on Dec. 6, the Hawks shopped at Target in nearby Bala Cynwyd on Dec. 13. The players were divided into groups and received a list of items needed by their "family." SJU's Campus Ministry assisted in the project, identifying the families in need.The Hawks wrapped all of the gifts and delivered them to their families on Dec. 20. "The players and coaches in this program have each been given a special gift, or talent, in life. This is a way that we, as a group, can give back to the community," said head coach Phil Martelli. "The experience that each of our guys will have when they deliver these gifts is something that I know they will cherish forever."

HIGH FLYERS

Dayton set a program record with nine dunks in its 75-44 win over UNC Greensboro on Dec. 20. UD has amassed 35 dunks on the year and is on pace to shatter the program's single-season record of 61.

SENIORS WITH STYLE

Temple's Dionte Christmas and Jimmy Baron of Rhode Island are among 30 candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the award was launched during the 2001-02 season to honor the attributes of college basketball seniors who remain committed to their university and pursue the many rewards that a senior season and complete college education brings. Based on criteria focusing on the "Four C's" of classroom, character, community and competition, the award winners will be selected by national balloting of head basketball coaches, national media and college basketball fans. Previous A-10 recipients include Xavier's David West (2003) and Jameer Nelson of Saint Joseph's (2004).

STREAKIN

St. Bonaventure earned an 86-78 win at Eastern Michigan on Dec. 20 to register its first four-game winning streak since 2000-01. In addition, the Bonnies have won their first three true road contests to begin a season for the first time since the 1967-68 campaign. St. Bonaventure's bench has won the scoring battle in each of the team's 10 games this season.

BOMBS AWAY

UMass tied a program record with 15 three-point field goals in its 97-81 win over Hofstra on Dec. 20. The Minutemen also made 15 field goals from beyond the arc versus Wisconsin-Green Bay (2007) and Temple (1997).

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 59-of-88 shots through the Hawks' first nine contests and leads the team with five double-doubles.

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). With nine career A-10 Player of the Week honors, Christmas trails only Xavier's David West (14) and Jameer Nelson of Saint Joseph's (13) and is tied with Massachusetts' Marcus Camby for the most in league history.

A MUST READ

Now in his 41st season as the voice of Duquesne basketball, Ray Goss has written a book detailing some of his experiences during his more than 50 years behind the microphone. "Misadventures In Broadcasting" is available for purchase online at www.raygoss.com, at upcoming Duquesne home games and at Barnes & Noble across the street from the Palumbo Center.

SEEING DOUBLE

Ahmad Nivins of Saint Joseph's has scored in double figures in 67 of his 103 career games. The senior forward has reached double figures in rebounds 18 times, including five times this season, which is tied for tops in the A-10. Nivins also boasts 15 career double-doubles.

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 ranks second in the Conference with an average of 6.10 apg. The Hartford, Conn., native needs 61 points to become the 32nd member of Duquesne's 1,000-point club, and with two more assists he will move into the fifth spot on the program's all-time list. Jackson's 6.1 apg. average is on pace to break the school single-season mark of 6.0, set by Norm Nixon in 1973-74 and matched by Nixon in 1975-76.

LIGHTS...CAMERA...ACTION

Temple and Massachusetts knocked off ranked opponents on Dec. 13 during an ESPN afternoon doubleheader. The Owls turned aside eighth-ranked Tennessee, 88-72, notching their first win over a top 10 team since a 68-53 win over No. 6 George Washington in the quarterfinals of the 2006 A-10 Championship. UMass edged No. 25 (AP)/No. 23 (ESPN/USA Today) and defending national champion Kansas, 616-60, at The Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. It marked the first victory over a ranked foe by the Minutemen outside their home state since they downed fourth-ranked Georgetown, 86-62, in the Regional Finals of the 1996 NCAA Tournament. A-10 programs have earned four wins over ranked teams in the past month, with Xavier edging No. 13/12 Memphis, 63-58, in the finals of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Nov. 23 and Dayton recording an 89-75 win over No. 15/15 Marquette on Nov. 29 in the title game of the Chicago Invitational Challenge.


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