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5 positive takeaways from an Atlantic 10 conference off to a shaky start

There’s no sugarcoating the league’s performance as a whole thus far: it hasn’t been great. George Washington and George Mason have sorely disappointed, La Salle and Richmond have lost buy games at home, and even Saint Louis and Davidson have struggled to take care of inferior opponents. However, it hasn’t been entirely dark skies across the league, as a number of teams have yet to have a blemish on their record and have even showed promise. Here’s a look at some of the more glass-half-full takeaways across the conference.

1. Sincere Carry looks like a potential A-10 ROY candidate

It wasn’t easy, but Duquesne escaped a home game against UIC where the Flames led all game. Well, they led all game until Sincere Carry tied the game with this driving layup, forcing overtime in Pittsburgh.

Carry went for 32 on the night and was the spark for Duquesne on an evening where Eric Williams Jr. was the only other player putting the ball in the basket. And it wasn’t only 32 points for Carry; he tagged on 8 assists and 4 steals, helping down a feisty UIC team that shot 53.8% from three. Duquesne needed that win badly, and the freshman point guard delivered. Can you say “clutch?”

2. Defense has propelled VCU to a 3-0 start

The Rams have yet to face anyone too difficult, but regardless, VCU has handled its first three opponents thanks to stellar defense. Allowing an effective field goal percentage of just 38.1% and a three point field goal percentage of just 28.9%, the Rams have been locking down. They also forced 27 Bowling Green turnovers en route to a 72-61 win on Tuesday night. Granted, the competition is about to get tougher at the Legends Classic, starting with a game against Temple in Brooklyn next Monday.

3. Charlie Brown is in mid-season form through 2 games with Saint Joseph’s

If you had any concern of Charlie Brown being rusty off a season-ending injury last year, think again. Brown has 41 points through 2 contests as the Hawks have rolled over Old Dominion and Monmouth at home. His talents will be crucial on Thursday against Wake Forest. The Hawks travel to Myrtle Beach for a preseason tournament where they’ll hope to escape with a few wins. A victory over the Demon Deacons could go a long way in the first round, and Charlie Brown is going to be a pivotal piece to the puzzle all year long.

4. Rhode Island’s opener was promising, but Tuesday night’s game will be very telling

Rhode Island goes on the road on Tuesday night to face a very solid Charleston team. David Cox’s squad will need to be locked in if it wants to pull of the victory away from home; luckily, some solid developments in the Bryant home-opener are there to build upon. Jeff Dowtin scored 17 points, had 9 assists, and pulled in 7 rebounds last Tuesday. Fatts Russell also went for a career-high 21 points in the 97-63 win. If the Rams want a chance to get a key win on the road, the backcourt has to be firing on all cylinders.

5. A-10 Player of the Week Kellan Grady willed the Wildcats to a win over Dartmouth

Credit Carter Collins for hitting the crucial three to tie the game late in the 2nd half, but Kellan Grady’s takeover late in the contest was absolutely pivotal for Davidson in escaping disaster. Going for 23 points on 9/15 shooting from 2, Grady was aggressive and got to the basket, and even though he didn’t hit a single three for the ‘Cats, he found a way to get the win for his team. Not to mention, three clutch free throws with a few seconds to go sealed the deal. It was a shaky win over Dartmouth, but Kellan Grady’s ability to step up and get the win is very promising for a team that didn’t fare too well in close contests last season.