If this weekend in A-10 hoops action proved anything, it’s that this conference race is wide open.
The VCU Rams came into the weekend as the lone undefeated team but left it with a blemished record and roster, suffering a home loss at the hands of rival Richmond and the unfortunate career-ending injury of starting point guard and reigning A-10 Defensive Player of the Year, Briante Weber.
Rhode Island won a key game over George Washington to help keep pace with the No.1 Rams while Dayton rolled to move to a VCU-matching 17-4 on the season and just a game behind at 7-2 in conference play.
Davidson on the other hand was on the wrong end of a Deandre Bembry comeback, as Saint Joseph’s erased a 13-point halftime deficit to hand the Wildcats their third loss of the conference season.
BEMBRY POSTS TOP INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE OF THE SEASON
We knew Deandre Bembry was good coming into this season. The sophomore is coming of an A-10 Rookie of the Year season but looks like a senior already with the Hawks and posted an eye-popping line in Saint Joseph’s upset of Davidson: 21 points, 17 rebounds and 7 assists.
Bembry has scored 20 or more points in his last five contests and is averaging eight rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.6 steals over that span. The dude is playing out of his mind. Unfortunately the Hawks are just 2-3 over that span and sit at 10th in the conference at 3-5, which is about the only thing from stopping Bembry from winning A-10 Player of the Year.
Bembry ranks first in the conference in scoring (17.8 ppg), ninth in rebounds (7.1), 11th in assists (3.1), third in steals (2.1) and 13th in blocked shots. He does however also lead in the conference in minutes played at an exhausting 37.8 per contest but appears to getting stronger and stronger as the season goes on.
RAMS LOSS TO RICHMOND IS SECONDARY TO LOSS OF WEBER
A home loss to conference rival Richmond is the last thing on the minds of Ram fans as Briante Weber’s career in Richmond is done after suffering ACL and MCL tears in his right knee late in Saturday’s contest. Weber was just 12 steals away from owning the NCAA’s all-time record. He had six against the Spiders and would have likely broken the record within the next three or for games.
In an odd coincidence, it was just a day past a full year since the two teams played on the same court where Richmond senior star, Cedrick Lindsay, saw his career end due to two knee injuries.
RICHMOND ENDS A BUNCH OF STREAKS
The Spiders picked up their first road win of the season while snapping VCU’s 12-game streak and 4-game streak over the Spiders. It was just Richmond’s second win over a kenpom top-100 teams since the Spiders’ Sweet 16 appearance in 2011, moving their record to 2-28 over that span.
Richmond’s defense was brilliant in the win, limiting the Rams scoring opportunities in the paint while holding the to just 3-20 from long range. Kendall Anthony continued his impressive senior season by dropping a game-high 22 points, 20 of which came in a big second half for the Spiders in the comeback win.
Richmond moves to 5-3 in conference play and are the favorite according to kenpom’s computers in all of the remaining games on their schedule.
DEFENSE CARRIES RHODY TO KEY WIN
Rhode Island used a strong defensive effort to hold on in a home win over GW, moving their conference record to 7-2 to remain tied with Dayton for second place in the Atlantic 10. The Rams shot an abysmal 1-14 (7.1%) from three-point land and were just 37.3% from the field, but forced 21 Colonial turnovers to escape a home loss.
Freshman Jared Terrell led all players with 17 points and had a career-high six steals in the win. Terrell has been a key piece in the Rams four-game winning streak, particularly in these last three games where he has averaged 18 points and is shooting 59.1% inside the arc 46.2% from distance. The emergence as an offensive threat from the top-100 freshman comes at the right time for a team that currently ranks 13th in conference play in offensive efficiency.
Hassan Martin notched his fourth double-double in conference play.
UMASS HANGS ON AT SLU
The Minutemen survived a road scare at SLU, 60-56. SLU’s Austin Gillman threw up a three at the end that would have given the Billikens their second conference win of the season but missed and Derrick Gordan added a layup at the buzzer to give UMass a four-point final margin. The win keeps UMass very much in the mix at 5-3. GW currently sits at fourth at 6-3 with the Minutemen, Richmond and Davidson having played one game less, all at 5-3. The top four teams in conference play get a first round bye in this year’s A-10 tournament in Brooklyn.
Dayton routed Fordham 101-77 and had three players finish with 20 or more points. Jordan Sibert posted a game-high 29 for the Flyers a night they shot 61.5% from the field.
La Salle wins at Saint Bonaventure, 66-56. It’s not easy winning at Olean, that is unless the Bonnies shooting 11.1% from distance. Overall just an odd weekend for a number home teams from beyond the arc.
Duquesne picks up second conference win against George Mason. Derrick Colter led all players with 16 points and six assists.
THIS WEEK’S MARQUEE GAMES
Friday – Dayton at George Washington, 7PM EST on ESPN2
Sunday – Rhode Island at Richmond, 2:30PM EST on NBC Sports Network