Saint Joseph’s edged LaSalle 72-66 and George Washington stopped Fordham 53-49 in opening round action of the Atlantic Ten Tournament at VCU’s Siegel Center. Saint Joseph;s won their fourth straight and improved to 5-14 while LaSalle finished at 9-16. The Colonials are now 5-11 and Fordham ended their campaign at 2-12.
In the estimation of Saint Joseph’s coach Billy Lange, his Hawks were facing the “league’s most dangerous team” in the opener. Why?
“I was an assistant at LaSalle and know of the LaSalle ‘toughness’,” Lange said. “This LaSalle team plays with that toughness. They are dangerous at the wings with (Jack) Clark and (Sherif) Kenney. They have an elite rebounder in (Christian) Ray and a point guard in (Jhamir) Brickus- a player who reminds me of a Kyrie Irving or Steve Nash.” The Saint Joseph’s mentor wasn’t finished handing out praise as he called his own, Ryan Daly, ‘the most valuable player in the league.’
“There are talented players in this league,” Lange said, “but to me Daly is most valuable to what he brings to the team. Remove him , and you saw when he was injured, how much we struggled. He’s done so much to get us to where we are as compared to two years ago.”
Offensive efficiency: Saint Joseph’s 104, LaSalle 96
Kenpom MVP. Ryan Daly 23 points, 5 rebounds in 40 minutes
Offensive efficiency: George Washington 87, Fordham 80
Kenpom MVP. Ricky Lindo of George Washington with 21 points and 14 rebounds, both game-highs.
Fordham trailed by 15 the first half. The Rams battled back and took the lead with just under three minutes remaining in the game. They didn’t score again as the Colonials tallied the game’s last six points.
Rams struggled offensively but did put three players in double figures, led by Chris Austin with 12.
Next round, Saint Joseph’s faces UMass while George Washington squares off against George Mason.