A-10 Men's Basketball Notebook, Jan. 25, 2009

This is the Atlantic 10 Conference's men's basketball notebook for the week ending January 24, 2009. St. Joe's Ahmad Nivins and Justin Harper of Richmond are the Players of the Week and Xavier's Kenny Frease is the Rookie of the Week.


PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Justin Harper - Richmond
Sophomore, Forward, 6-9, 210 lbs.
Richmond, Va./Meadowbrook HS

Harper scored a career-high 28 points and grabbed nine rebounds on Jan. 21 as Richmond earned a 78-75 win over Rhode Island in its lone contest of the week...made 10-of-15 field goal attempts, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc...added a pair of blocks.

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

Nivins earns his fifth A-10 Player of the Week award after leading the Hawks to three victories while averaging 26.3 points and 14.3 rebounds...shot 25-of-34 from the field and 29-of-33 from the line...scored a career-high 34 points and pulled down 16 boards as Saint Joseph's edged Duquesne in overtime on Jan. 21, 99-98...has registered five consecutive double-doubles...his five A-10 honors are tied with Mardy Collins (Temple - 2005) for the fourth-highest single-season total in league history.

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK

Kenny Frease - Xavier
Freshman, Center, 7-0, 265 lbs.
Massillion, Ohio/Perry HS

Frease scored 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting in just 16 minutes of action on Jan. 24 as Xavier's earned an 80-70 victory at LSU...in three wins, Frease averaged 8.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 42 total minutes...made 12-of-17 shots from the field.


SHOT CLOCK SNIPPETS...

    Xavier is 5-0 in league play for the first time since 2001-02 and its 80-70 win at LSU on Jan. 24 snapped the Tigers' 17-game home winning streak.
  • Saint Joseph's improved to 4-0 in A-10 action for the first time since 2004-05 after edging Duquesne on Jan. 21, 99-98 (OT).
  • Dayton is 30-4 with sophomore forward Chris Wright in the lineup.
  • St. Bonaventure boasts a 7-0 road record for the first time in program history.

HONOR ROLL

  • Charlotte senior forward Lamont Mack averaged 19.3 points and 10 rebounds over three contests
  • Junior guard Marcus Johnson scored 15 of his team-high 17 points in the second half of Dayton's 63-61 victory at George Washington on Jan. 22
  • Duquesne junior guard Jason Duty scored a career-high 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting, while freshman guard Eric Evans added 13 points in the Dukes' 99-98 (OT) loss at Saint Joseph's on Jan. 21
  • Freshman guard Jio Fontan scored 17 points and added five steals on Jan. 18 in Fordham's 98-67 loss at Rhode Island
  • George Washington senior forward Wynton Witherspoon poured in a season-high 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds on Jan. 22 in the Colonials' 63-63 loss to Dayton
  • Junior guard Rodney Green of La Salle averaged 21 points and added six steals in three games on the week
  • Temple sophomore forward Lavoy Allen averaged 16 points and 8.5 rebounds, while freshman guard Juan Fernandez averaged seven points and four assists in leading the Owls to wins over Saint Louis and Charlotte
  • Junior forward Derrick Brown averaged 15.3 points and 6.3 rebounds while making 18-of-28 shots from the field in leading Xavier to three victories on the week

DAYTON BY NUMBERS

Dayton is 7-0 this season in games decided by five points or less and its 13-game home winning streak - dating back to last season - is the longest in the Conference. In addition, UD is 35-4 under head coach Brian Gregory when it scores at least 75 points.

FROM WALKING TO RUNNING

Duquesne walk-on junior guard Jason Duty, who joined the team on the day of the 2006-07 season opener only after a campus shooting left the roster decimated, may be the feel-good story in the Atlantic 10 this season. Duty, who gave up a gig as a singer and guitar player for a band called 'Mark this Day' to give Division I basketball a try, has made himself into one of the top three-point shooters in the league. The Cranberry Township, Pa., native currently ranks fourth in the Conference in three-point percentage at .427. An accounting major with a 3.75 GPA, Duty is also shooting .917 (22-of-24) from the foul line. He is second on the team in career games played (63) and third in career starts with 33.

6-1-1...THE NEW PHILLY AREA CODE?

La Salle, Saint Joseph's and Temple enter their contests on Jan. 28 with identical 11-7 (.611) overall records. Moreover, the three programs are a combined 16-3 in the month of January.

RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT

Duquesne has attempted at least 20 three-pointers in each of its 18 games this season. Meanwhile, Saint Louis ranks second in the nation in three-point defense, holding opponents to a startling 26.6 percent (64-of-241) from beyond the arc.

MEMBERS ONLY

Rhode Island is one of only two teams (Missouri is the other) in the nation to register at least 24 assists and at least 10 steals in three different contests this season. Rhody had 24 assists and 13 steals at FDU, 24 assists and 10 steals versus Akron and 24 assists and 12 steals against Fordham.

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 128-of-190 shots through the Hawks' first 18 contests and leads the league with 11 double-doubles. Nivins has scored in double figures in 75 of his 111 career games and has reached double figures in rebounds 24 times, including 11 times this season, which is tied for tops in the A-10. He also boasts 21 career double-doubles.

ROAD WARRIORS

St. Bonaventure rallied for a 71-67 victory at Richmond on Jan. 17 and climbed to 7-0 on the road for the first time in program history. The Bonnies' seven road wins mark their highest total since the 2001-02 campaign, while their two A-10 victories equal their total from all of last season.

TRIPLE FIGURES

Saint Joseph's 80-68 victory over Pennsylvania and Xavier's 80-70 win at LSU on Jan. 21 raised the league's total to 114 non-conference wins this season, the second-highest total in league annals. The A-10 also surpassed the 100-win total in non-conference play in 2007 (104) and 2008 (130). A-10 teams have amassed 16 wins over BCS conference teams thus far, which ranks fifth nationally.

MUSCLING UP

According to RealTime RPI, the Atlantic 10 ranks fourth among Division I conferences in Strength of Schedule. In addition, A-10 teams have already faced 18 ranked opponents thru games of Jan. 24. Xavier is ranked sixth in the nation in the Strength of Schedule ratings thru games of Jan. 24 according to CollegeRPI.com. Temple has played five teams who reached the NCAA Tournament a year ago, while XU boasts six wins over BCS-conference teams this season.

FOUL FREE

Saint Joseph's senior forward Ahmad Nivins has registered 37 blocks and committed just 36 fouls thru the Hawks' first 18 games this season. What makes his low foul total even more remarkable is that Nivins leads the A-10 in minutes (39.56 mpg.).

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

EXPLORING NEW HEIGHTS

Rodney Green scored 22 points in La Salle's 62-54 win at Massachusetts on Jan. 24. It marked the junior guard's sixth 20-point performance of the season. By comparison, the Philadelphia, Pa., native scored 20 or more points just three times all of last season. Green is averaging 16.3 ppg., up from 13.4 ppg. a year ago. The win at UMass marked the Explorers' 24th road victory in Conference play since head coach John Giannini arrived at La Salle in 2004-05.

THAT'S A LOT OF VICTORY CIGARS

Temple's 80-53 win over Charlotte on Jan. 24 marked its 1,700th victory in program history.

DANDY ANDY

St. Bonaventure freshman forward Andrew Nicholson leads all freshmen nationally in both blocked shots (56) and field goal percentage (.615 - 91-for-148) entering the Bonnies' Jan. 25 contest at Dayton. Named the A-10 Rookie of the Week four times, Nicholson's nine blocks at Bucknell on Dec. 30 mark the highest single-game total in Division I this season. UMass forward Tony Gaffney also registered nine blocks on Dec. 6 versus Boston College.


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