Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Recaps
(Friday, March 15th)
Final Score: (16) Saint Louis 72, Charlotte 55
Brooklyn, NY (Sports Network) - Not even 11 free-throw attempts over the final five seconds would have bailed out Charlotte Friday.
Dwayne Evans had 25 points and nine rebounds in No. 16 Saint Louis' 72-55 rout of the 49ers in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
Evans was nearly perfect. He was 8-of-9 from the field and 9-of-9 from the foul line. Cody Ellis added 13 points, but was just 3-of-13 from the floor and 1-of-7 from beyond the arc for the Billikens (25-6), who have won 13 of their last 14 games.
"He's their best post player, and you wouldn't say that for a 6-6 guy on most teams," 49ers head coach Alan Major said.
Saint Louis will play Butler in Saturday's semifinals.
Charlotte (21-11) was trailing, 63-60, in the closing seconds of its first- round matchup with Richmond. After the Spiders elected to foul to try to prevent the 49ers from connecting on a game-tying 3-pointer, madness ensued. Thanks to a trio of technicals called on the Spiders, Pierria Henry hit eight of his 11 foul shots on Charlotte's final possession to lift the 49ers to a 68-63 win.
Chris Braswell tallied 20 points and 10 rebounds Friday in defeat.
The Billikens raced out to a 17-8 start and never looked back.
After consecutive 3-pointers by Ivan Benkovic and Braswell cut the deficit to 19-16 midway through the opening half, Saint Louis countered with a 13-0 run to regain control.
Mike McCall had seven points during the surge, which was capped on a Rob Loe triple for a 32-16 Saint Louis advantage. At that point, the Billikens netted 16 points off 11 Charlotte turnovers.
The Billikens took a 39-28 advantage into the break and led by as many as 18 over the final 20 minutes.
"I think we got the win kind of like we usually do," Saint Louis interim head coach Jim Crews said. "We get a little from the defense, a little inside."
Crews, filling in for the late Rick Majerus, led his squad to their first outright regular-season conference title since capturing the Missouri Valley Conference in 1956-57 ... Saint Louis shot just 37.5 percent (21-of-56) but forced 20 turnovers while giving the ball away just 10 times ... The Billikens also outscored the 49ers 25-12 at the free throw line.
Final Score: Butler 69, La Salle 58
Brooklyn, NY (Sports Network) - Rotnei Clarke had 14 points in Butler's 69-58 win over La Salle in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
Khyle Marshall added 13 points and five rebounds for the Bulldogs (26-7), who have won four straight games on the heels of losing three times in a five-game stretch.
Butler will play top-seeded Saint Louis in the Saturday's semifinals.
La Salle's top two scorers, Ramon Galloway and Sam Mills, combined for just seven points on 2-of-18 shooting.
The Explorers (21-9), who were without center Steve Zack and outrebounded by a 41-23 margin for the contest, will be sweating out a possible NCAA Tournament bid until Sunday.
Jerrell Wright split a pair of free throws to pull the Explorers within 39-38 early in the second half, but Butler countered with a 13-4 run to seize control of the contest. Erik Fromm capped the burst with a layup to vault the Bulldogs to a 52-42 cushion with 11:49 to play.
Mills' triple -- his lone field goal of the game -- cut the deficit to 64-58 with a little over five minutes left, but Clark answered with a trey of his own and the Bulldogs weren't threatened the rest of the way.
Earlier, Kellen Dunham's 3-pointer helped Butler jump out to a 15-6 advantage, but La Salle fought back and took its first lead when Tyrone Garland sunk three free throws and a triple around a jumper by the Bulldogs' Kameron Woods to give the Explorers a 32-31 edge late in the half.
Butler went into the break owning a 37-35 cushion.
Final Score: (25) VCU 82, Saint Joseph's 79
Brooklyn, NY (Sports Network) - Treveon Graham scored 17 points to lead five VCU players in double figures as the No. 25 Rams posted an 82-79 victory over St. Joseph's in an Atlantic 10 Tournament quarterfinal at the Barclays Center.
Troy Daniels accounted for four of the Rams' 11 makes from 3-point range as part of a 14-point effort, with Rob Brandenberg adding 13 and Darius Theus contributing 12 on 5-for-5 shooting to a balanced attack that enabled VCU (25-7) to prevail in its first-ever A-10 Tournament outing following a 17-year tenure in the Colonial Athletic Association.
The second-seeded Rams earned a matchup with Massachusetts in Saturday's second semifinal.
Carl Jones poured in a game-high 29 points and Langston Galloway finished with 25 for 10th-seeded St. Joseph's (18-13), which had reached the quarters with a 58-57 edging of Xavier in Thursday's first round.
VCU hit on four of its first five field goal attempts in jumping out to an 8-3 lead and never trailed at any stage, though the Hawks were within two points on several occasions during the first half and put forth a belated but unsuccessful comeback bid in the game's final stages.
St. Joseph's trailed just 21-19 with 6:25 remaining in the opening period, before the Rams closed out the frame with a 12-4 run to take a 10-point advantage into the locker room. Theus buried a three to began the critical spurt, then capped it with a midrange jumper just prior to the buzzer to put VCU ahead by a 33-23 score at the break.
The Hawks came out strong following the intermission, though, with a Galloway steal and layup followed by Jones' 3-pointer bringing St. Joe's within 38-35 just over three minutes into the second half.
That was as close as the Hawks would come, however, as VCU caught fire from the perimeter. Back-to-back triples from Daniels and Graham concluded a 9-2 spree that made it a 47-37 game with 14 minutes to play, and the Rams ripped off nine consecutive points later on to go up 58-43 at the midway stage of the final session following Theus' runner in the paint.
"We messed up on a couple (assignments)," Galloway said. "They hit jumpers when they needed to, and that was the difference in the game."
VCU was still in front by 15 with two minutes remaining, but St. Joseph's didn't go down easy. The Hawks strung together nine straight points down the stretch to close the gap to 72-66, and a Jones trey that came after two Brandenberg free throws created a five-point spread with 50 seconds left.
"Just went out there playing loose," Daniels said. "We have to play our basketball, and we just attack the ball. Coach gave us the green light, and we made the shots, and he didn't have a problem with it."
Galloway and teammate Papa Ndao each sank 3-pointers in the last nine seconds, but the Hawks couldn't quite get over the hump as VCU made 8-of-10 free throw tries in the final minute.
Theus added six assists along with his 12 points ... The teams went to overtime in their regular-season meeting in Richmond, with the Rams coming away with a 92-86 win on Jan. 17 ... VCU guard Briante Weber came up with five steals in the game and now has 91 this season, breaking the school single-year record set by Rolando Lamb (88) in 1984-85 ... Jones eclipsed the 1,800-point mark during the contest, joining current Orlando Magic guard Jameer Nelson and Bernard Blunt as the only players in program history to reach that mark ... VCU improved to 16-0 this season and 32-2 during Brandenberg's career when he scores 11 or more points.
Final Score: Massachusetts 79, Temple 74
Brooklyn, NY (Sports Network) - Chaz Williams poured in 28 points as the Massachusetts Minutemen advanced to the Atlantic-10 Tournament semifinals with a 79-74 upset of the Temple Owls at the Barclay Center.
UMass (21-10), which also knocked Temple out of the tourney a year ago, got 15 points from both Freddie Riley and Terrell Vinson. The Minutemen will take on VCU in Saturday's semifinals.
Khalif Wyatt hit on just 2-of-11 shots from beyond the arc but had 19 points to pace Temple (23-9). Rahlir Hollis Jefferson added 17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists and Scootie Randall netted 12 points for the Owls.
At halftime Temple clung to a 38-37 edge after shooting 46.9 percent from the floor. UMass shot at a 44.8 percent clip and stayed close by netting 10-of-11 attempts from the free-throw line.
After the break the Minutemen improved to 54.5 percent shooting while the Owls dipped to 36.7 percent. Temple still held a 64-63 lead with 5:42 remaining but a layup from Cady Lalanne and a 3-pointer from Riley helped the Minutemen take the lead for good over the next four minutes.
The Owls lost despite forcing a game-high 19 turnovers which led to 17 points. UMass had a massive 40-23 edge in rebounds.
03/16 00:48:18 ET