(St. Joe’s taking on George Washington – Photo by Jason Schott – NY Sports Day)
The Atlantic 10 Championship at Barclays Center has gotten serious, as the tournament reached the quarterfinals on Friday afternoon.
Dayton 69, Richmond 54
The Dayton Flyers controlled this one from the start, and had a lead of around 20 points throughout the game.
Charles Cooke led Dayton with 14 points and eight rebounds. Kyle David had 11 points, four rebounds and two assists. Dyshawn Pierre had a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
Richmond was led by T.J. Cline, who had 25 points on 8-17 from the field, and six rebounds.
Dayton improved to 25-6 overall, 14-4 in Atlantic 10 play, while Richmond fell to 16-16, 7-11 in the A10.
Dayton Head Coach Archie Miller said, “Well, a really good start for us in Brooklyn. Our goal is to try to advance in any postseason event that we’re in, so the job got done. I thought our defense in particular in the first half was as good as it’s been. We sort of got our legs back under us compared to playing them a week ago. We were much tougher around the basket, much scrappier on the glass, and our defense carried us for most of the game. That’s a really good offensive team.
“Offensively we’ve got to keep getting better as we get ready to play in the next round or so, being more efficient. Sixteen turnovers today is one thing, but in the postseason you’re not going to be able to do that. We talked about rebounding after our VCU game and happy to see the margin there, 48-30. Keep getting better. We have a great opponent tomorrow, whether it’s St. Joe’s or GW, and we’ve got to get off our feet and get ready to go.”
Dyshawn Pierre said of the complete game Dayton played, “It was nice, especially having us start off on defense the way we did. I think we all took focus to playing hard, and our defense translated to our offense.”
Charles Cooke said of the offense was clicking right from the start, “Yeah, we got it going pretty early, got some good looks. We put in a lot of work the past two practices just trying to execute our game plan, so it felt like we got some really good looks to start off the game, which got us going for the most part.”
Miller said of his team being focused and fresh, “It was part of it. We played late last Saturday and took a couple days in a row off, get our legs back under us, and then I thought Tuesday and Wednesday we had about two of the best practices we’ve had since probably early January, late December. I mean, we looked the part. Competitive, guys were really working hard. And I thought that carried over as much as anything into our game today was an attitude. We brought what we worked on here, and we’ve got to get — we’ve got to get going a little bit better on offense just in terms of the ball movement, but I was happy with our effort level. We came in ready.”
Miller said of Dayton having a lot of defensive intensity coming out of the gate in the first half and if it was something he focused on going into the game or if it was just kind of something that happened, “No, we focused on that. We’ve been a little lackluster on defense a couple games ago, whatnot, and I thought we were back to ourselves when we played VCU on Saturday, a hard-playing team. At Richmond on Tuesday, they got 84 on us and killed us in transition and killed us inside. We had a heavy emphasis coming into this one, one, eliminating transition, and two, doing a much better job inside, and I thought that was a big key was them not being able to operate in and around the paint in the first half, guys did a good job digging balls out and being physical.”
St. Joseph’s 86, George Washington 80
St. Joseph’s overcame a 14-point halftime deficit to outlast George Washington, 86-80.
George Washington came out firing in the first half, as they shot 60 percent (18-30) overall and 11-16 on threes. They opened up a 49-35 lead at halftime.
St. Joe’s flipped the script in the second half, as they shot 56.7 percent (17-30) from the field and held GW to just 32.4 percent shooting (11-34) overall, while outscoring them 51-31.
St. Joe’s had a balanced attack, led by DeAndre’ Bembre with 21 points on 8-14 from the field, six rebounds, and three assists. Aaron Brown had 19 points on 6-11 from the field, five rebounds, and an assist. Isaiah Miles and James Demery had 15 points each, and Lamarr Kimble chipped in 11 points.
St. Joe’s Head Coach Phil Martelli said of the game, “The credit to GW for an unbelievable first half. I often say these guys, look, we have a game plan, and if the other team beats the game plan by making shots, then we shake their hand and get on the bus and go home. At halftime I told them — I didn’t mean at halftime that we would shake their hand and go home.
“Just a great — eyes were up at the halftime. They were quiet. They were nervous. But right in the beginning of the second half, we got three stops. We didn’t score, so you get a little bit concerned, and then we just chopped it up and said, each play, if we can get this play, then we can get the next play, and that’s really what we did.
“The zone in the last three minutes, all credit goes to Mark Bass. He was on me about the idea of playing what we call makes and misses, and I just was watching, and we were like in that stretch of time where we were down one, and I thought if they hit a three, it’s four, and I might walk home if that would be what would cost us the game.
“But once we got it tied, the zone was effective for us in DC against them, and it was certainly effective here. And then just in closing, kids like (Kevin) Larsen, (Joe) McDonald and (Patricio) Garino are what make the Atlantic 10 great. Those guys are really tough, fierce players. But there’s no nonsense. Not for four years. Not one word. Not one time. And it’s an honor to have competed against them for their careers,” said Martelli.
Dayton will face St. Joe’s in the Atlantic 10 semifinals on Saturday afternoon at 1:30 pm a Barclays Center.