The first games of round 2 are complete. Rhode Island boatraced La Salle and George Mason felled George Washington in the Battle of the Georges. Here are three takeaways from those games.
Rhode Island is going to give VCU a hell of a game
The Rams looked nearly unstoppable today against La Salle. The Rams kept the Explorers under 30% shooting for most of the game, and Dowtin, Russell and Langevine dominated. Langevine especially came to play. The (second team) All-A10 big man scored 25 points on 9/10 shooting with 12 rebounds. Rhode Island has a top big man, a top backcourt, and loads of big game experience. Jeff Dowtin said after the game that URI-VCU is gonna be a dogfight and I do not doubt him.
Rhode Island has played in so many big games in the past few years, and that’s giving their players a lot of confidence regardless of what stage they’re on. La Salle? Not so much. No one on the Explorers has won a single A-10 Conference Tournament game in their entire career, from their freshmen to Pookie Powell, which is incredible in all the wrong ways. In the second game, GMU was led by upperclassmen Justin Kier and Otis Livingston. George Mason struggled through much of the game, but they were able to lock it down late, and having an experienced team gave them the needed edge over the Colonials.
Justin Kier deserves the accolades
Kier was named Most Improved Player and made all-A10 second team, and he showed exactly why in Barclays today. He put up 26-8-5 stat line and came up with big plays all game. In tournament play, big performances from star players can carry a team a long way, and Kier did just that against George Washington.