By Paul Gotham
UD spreads it around
Heading into Saturday’s game, UD’s Flyers were 18-2 when three or more players scored in double figures, make that 19-2. Five Flyers (Devin Oliver, Khari Price, Dyshawn Pierre, Jordan Sibert and Vee Sanford) scored 10 or more as UD knocked off UMass, 86-79 for their seventh win in their last eight games. Not only did five different players get in the act, but Dayton showed nearly perfect balance getting 32 points in the paint, 21 points at the free throw line (21 for 33) and 27 from nine 3-pointers. The Flyers, who started A-10 play 1-5 now find themselves at 8-6 and one game out of fourth and a bye to the quarter-finals of the A-10 tournament. Worth noting Matt Kavanaugh didn’t score double digits. UD is 1-3 in the four games Kavanaugh has not played because of injury. The senior center only scored four yesterday. He also took just two shots. The Flyers will face their biggest test yet on Wednesday when they travel to St. Louis to take on a Billiken team which has dropped two straight.
The residual effect of HAVOC
VCU leads the nation in steals. They force more turnovers than any other team. Opponents commit miscues at an alarming rate versus the Rams, and yesterday was no different when VCU defeated N0. 8 St. Louis, 67-56. SLU committed 17 turnovers (the Bills average 12 a game) which VCU converted into 23 points. But, here’s the thing, SLU made just nine layups. VCU made 12 steals and allowed nine layups. They won that battle. It is also the way VCU grinds it out for an entire game that wears at an opponent. Other than a sequence early in the game where SLU turned it over on three straight possessions, the Rams kept at it for 40 minutes getting a steal here and a steal there to win that game. VCU closes the slate at Richmond and against St. Bonaventure.
Not so fast Chicken Little
Yes, St. Louis has lost two straight. No, the sky is not falling. The Bills have showed their feline tendencies throughout this season. How else can one explain the number of lives they have lived in close wins. Many will point to Duquesne’s 3-10 conference record leading into their 71-64 upset of the previously undefeated-in-league-play Bills. Duquesne pays Jim Ferry a healthy salary. The Dukes have as many athletic scholarships as SLU. In other words, this is possible. And Duquesne nearly got the Bills back in late January when SLU pulled out a 76-72 win. Maybe Ferry and the Dukes know something about SLU. Maybe they matchup well. Maybe Micah Mason likes playing against SLU’s defense. Makes him a rarity, but he looked it the other night.
On the other hand…Richmond
Wasn’t too long ago when Richmond’s Spiders looked ready to claim a top-four spot in the league. Comparisons to the Sweet Sixteen team led by Kevin Anderson and Justin Harper were reasonable. Then came a season-ending injury to Cedrick Lindsay and a defection on the part of Derrrick Williams, and UR has lost three of four and are tumbling faster than a pair of dice in Atlantic City. Not to mention Richmond finishes the season against VCU and at Dayton.
“We feel like we can play with anybody in the league.” Judging by their last four games nobody is in a rush to disagree with URI head coach Danny Hurley. The Rams have won two of three with three-point losses to UMass and St. Joseph’s. And nobody will be happy to play Rhody in Brooklyn.
Be very,very quiet. The Hawks of St. Joseph’s are hunting Billikens. And we won’t say anymore on the matter.