By Chuckie Maggio @chuckiemaggio
The holiday season is a time of cheer and goodwill, but the past week had some Atlantic 10 teams yelling, “Bah, humbug!” The conference went 7-7 in the seven-day span, with the losses coming by an average of 17 points.
Which defeats were the most crippling, and who helped their cause this week? Here are the best and worst moments:
Team records this week: VCU 2-0, Dayton 1-0, Davidson 1-0, George Mason 1-0, Richmond 1-0, St. Joe’s 1-0, Fordham 0-1, George Washington 0-1, La Salle 0-1, Rhode Island 0-1, Saint Louis 0-1, St. Bonaventure 0-1, UMass 0-1.
Three stars of the week:
Jack Gibbs, Davidson. Gibbs, the third-leading scorer in the nation and early frontrunner for A-10 Player of the Year, had his second 41-point game of the season on Wednesday in a four-point victory over Morehead State. He was 13-of-18 from the field and was cooking from three, going 6-of-8 from behind the arc. He also knocked down nine of his 12 free throw attempts. The 6-foot junior guard is the first Wildcat with multiple 40-point games in a season since Stephen Curry had four such performances in the 2008-09 season.
Isaiah Miles, St. Joe’s. Miles starred in the first game of the A-10-ACC doubleheader in Brooklyn on Tuesday, scoring 36 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and blocking four shots in a win over Virginia Tech. The 6-foot-7 senior was 11-of-18 from the field and 11-of-12 from the free throw line, with eight offensive rebounds and zero turnovers. The Baltimore native has scored in double figures every game this season, sending a message to the rest of the league that St. Joe’s is no longer a De’Andre Bembry one-man show.
DeAndre Abram, George Mason. Before George Mason’s last two games against Longwood and Wagner, the 6-foot-7 freshman’s season high was eight points. He then scored 24 against Longwood on Dec. 19 and followed that performance up with a 27-point output on Tuesday, going 6-of-8 from three and 7-of-10 from the line. Defensively, he racked up 10 rebounds for his first career double-double.
Best win: St. Joe’s over Virginia Tech. St. Joe’s dominated a Va. Tech team that came in with a 7-4 record and nearly lost to Northwestern in overtime. A 48-32 rebounding edge and 6-of-10 mark from three in the second half helped power the Hawks to a 17-point victory in the Barclays Center, where they will play in the A-10 tournament.
Worst loss: La Salle loses 95-49 to Miami (FL). The Miami Hurricanes came into the Palestra ranked no. 13 in the country, but a 46-point loss was still inexcusable. The Explorers were outrebounded 51-24, shot 9-of-19 from the free throw line and allowed the Hurricanes to shoot 53.1 percent from the field. Jordan Price, the 12th-leading scorer in the country, was 2-of-11 from the field and scored just six points.
Best games in the week ahead: Davidson-Cal is a good one tonight, but the real attraction is Atlantic 10 conference play starting up this weekend. Saturday is the day to watch, with Richmond-St. Joe’s and Duquesne-Dayton in the afternoon on NBC Sports Network and St. Bonaventure hosting Davidson at 8 on the American Sports Network.