Five games on the schedule with one major eye opener. And a team getting out of town with a win and an injury concern.
Rhode Island 70 Duquesne 54
Offensive efficiency: Rhode Island 104, Duquesne 81
Host Rhode Island snapped a three game losing streak, sending the Dukes to their 14th straight defeat. Rhode Island led by 18 at the half only to see Duquesne cut the lead to three possessions in the final stanza. The Rams answered with a run to seal the deal in the stretch. On Senior Day Rhode Island senior guard Ishmael El-Amin led all scorers with 21 points. Defense dictated for the Rams as they forced Duquesne into a 24% TO rate and 38% eFG percentage. Kevin Easley led Duquesne with 13 points.
La Salle 62 Dayton 60
Offensive efficiency: La Salle 100, Dayton 97
Dayton came in with a five game win streak. Host La Salle, a five game losing streak. Both expired as the Explorers pulled off the upset at Tom Gola Arena. Dayton led 36-21 with just under 18 minutes to play. Over the next eleven minutes the Flyers scored just seven points as that lead turned into a seven point deficit. A subpar game on the glass for Anthony Grant’s club proved to be their undoing. Dayton entered with a +7 rebounding margin and was beaten on the boards by a 38-29 count. La Salle enjoyed a 15-5 edge in second chance points. Dayton’s DaRon Homes and Koby Brea shared scoring honors with 18 points each. Holmes added 12 rebounds (5 offensive). Khalil Brantley came off the bench to lead La Salle with 17 points.
VCU 77 UMass 62
Offensive efficiency: VCU 101, Umass 82
A decidedly uptempo affair well suited for UMass’ liking. The offense, not to their liking. Minutemen were forced into a 23% TO rate. Three point shooting was not the answer as they misfired at a 3 of 19 (16%) clip from deep. Once again balance was the key for the visiting Rams. Three double figure scorers led by KeShawn Curry with a game high 19 points. Adrian Badlwin did not hit double digits nevertheless was still a factor handing out 9 assists. Trent Buttrick paced UMass with 12 points.
Davidson 66 Fordham 45
Offensive efficiency: Davidson 90, Fordham 62
No Foster Loyer. Shooting 18% from three. No problem. Davidson did it with defense. The Wildcats limited Forsham to 12 field goals and an eFG mark of 29% while forcing a turnover rate of an identical percentage. Fordham had one double figure scorer in Chuba Ohams with 15. Bob McKillop’s group spread the wealth with four in double figures. Sam Mennenga led the way with 17 points. Mennenga added nine rebounds. While Davidson struggled from three they did hit 55% from two point range.
St. Bonaventure 54 Saint Joseph’s 52
Offensive efficiency: St. Bonaventure 82, Saint Joseph’s 79
In what you can appropriately term a ‘rock fight’ St. Bonaventure won its seventh straight in a less than artistic game seeing three ties and six lead changes. Bonnies enjoyed a 30-10 advantage in points in the paint. Host Hawks found long distance shooting their specialty canning 11 of 27 for a 40% showing. Taylor Funk, the game-high scorer with 19, canned five of ten from beyond the arc for Saint Joseph’s. Jalen Adaway paced the Bonnies with 14 points and 7 boards. With just over eight minutes remaining, Bona’s Osun Osunniyi left the game with an ankle injury (his future status is uncertain). He was spelled by Abdoul Karim Coulibaly, who filled in admirably down the stretch.