PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Dionte Christmas - Temple
Senior, Guard, 6-5, 190 lbs.
Philadelphia, Pa./Philadelphia Lutheran Christian Academy
Christmas averaged 27 points and 7.7 rebounds while knocking down 14 field goals from beyond the arc over three games...shot 29-of-52 from the field and added four steals...registered his 10th career 30-point performance on Jan. 11 with 30 points in the Owls’ 75-68 win at La Salle...scored 25 points in 27 minutes of action on 5-of-5 shooting from three-point range as Temple turned aside Pennsylvania on Jan. 14, 78-53...scored 26 points and grabbed nine boards at Massachusetts on Jan. 17...named the A-10 Player of the Week for the third time this season and 10th time in his career, the third-most in league history.
ROOKIES OF THE WEEK
Alberto Estwick - Fordham
Freshman, Guard, 6-5, 195 lbs.
Brooklyn, N.Y./St. Anthony’s HS
Estwick averaged 18.5 points while shooting 12-of-20 from the field, including 9-for-16 from three-point range over two games...scored a season-high 20 points in the Rams’ 86-60 loss to Xavier on Jan. 11 and added a team-high 17 points on Jan. 14 in Fordham’s 72-71 setback at Dayton...also had five assists and four boards.
Chris Johnson- Dayton
Freshman, Guard/Forward, 6-5, 176 lbs.
Columbus, Ohio/Brookhaven HS
Johnson averaged 9.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in just 37 total minutes in a pair of victories for the Flyers...scored nine points and grabbed eight boards on Jan. 14 as UD edged Fordham, 72-71...scored 10 points on 3-of-3 shooting and pulled down nine rebounds on Jan. 17 in Dayton’s 78-69 road win at Duquesne...made all six of his free throw attempts on the week.
- Charlotte senior forward Lamont Mack scored a season-high 23 points on Jan. 14 in the 49ers’ 68-61 loss to La Salle
- Junior guard Rob Lowery averaged 14.5 points in leading Dayton to victories over Fordham (72-71) and Duquesne (78-69)
- Duquesne senior guard Aaron Jackson averaged 16 points and 4.5 rebounds over two games, while freshman swingman Melquan Bolding averaged 15.5 points and 5.5 boards
- Junior guard Ruben Guillandeaux averaged 15.5 points over two contests for La Salle
- Massachusetts senior guard Chris Lowe averaged 17 points and 7.5 assists while committing just three turnovers in two games
- Senior guard Jimmy Baron nailed five three-pointers en route to scoring a game-high 19 points on Jan. 15 in Rhode Island’s 67-65 loss to Xavier
- St. Bonaventure junior forward Maurice Thomas averaged 17 points and nine rebounds, while freshman forward Andrew Nicholson averaged 12 points and 4.5 boards over two games
- Senior forward Ahmad Nivins scored 16 points and pulled down 13 rebounds on Jan. 14 as Saint Joseph’s downed St. Bonaventure, 62-51
- Saint Louis guard Tommie Liddell averaged 14 points, 7.5 rebounds and five assists, while freshman guard Kwamain Mitchell averaged 11.5 points and five assists in wins over Massachusetts (69-64) and George Washington (63-59)
- Xavier freshman guard Terrell Holloway averaged 10.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in the Musketeers’ road wins over Fordham (86-60) and Rhode Island (67-65)
ONE FOOT AT A TIME
Charlotte head coach Bobby Lutz will be coaching barefoot on Jan. 18 in the 49ers' road contest at Saint Joseph's as part of an effort to raise awareness for Samaritan's Feet. Samaritan's Feet is a humanitarian non-profit relief organization based in Charlotte, N.C., whose aim is to put shoes on kids' feet all around the world. Last year, IUPUI head coach Ron Hunter coached in bare feet and garnered enough attention to raise over 200,000 pairs of shoes to help impoverished children all around the world and the U.S. He is asking coaches to join him this year during this weekend in which the nation honors Dr. Martin Luther King, "who is still the voice of the poor." The goal is to raise over 1,000,000 pairs of shoes. Those interested in donating to the cause can log on to www.SamaritansFeet.org to contribute shoes or make a financial contribution.
St. Bonaventure rallied for a 71-67 victory at Richmond on Jan. 17 and climbed to 7-0 on the road for the first time in program history. The Bonnies’ seven road wins mark their highest total since the 2001-02 campaign, while their two A-10 victories equals their total from all of last season.
DAYTON BY NUMBERS
Dayton is 6-0 this season in games decided by five points are less and their 13-game home winning streak - dating back to last season - is the longest in the Conference. In addition, UD is 35-4 under head coach Brian Gregory when it scores at least 75 points.
PUTTING UP THEIR DUKES
Duquesne won its first three Conference games for the first time in program history posted its first seven-game winning streak since 1980-81. The catalyst for the Dukes is senior guard Aaron Jackson, a two-time A-10 Player of the Week selection this season. Jackson topped the 100-assist mark for the third time in four seasons with his four assists versus Dayton on Jan. 17 to become just the sixth player in team annals to register 100 or more assists three times. His 5.94 apg. average this season - good for second in the Conference - is approaching the school’s single-season mark of 6.0, set by Norm Nixon in 1973-74 and matched by Nixon in 1975-76.
Saint Joseph’s senior forward Ahmad Nivins seeks to join former George Washington standout Alexander Koul (1995-97) as the only players in A-10 history to lead the league in field goal percentage three consecutive years. Nivins shot .647 (165-of-255) from the field a year ago. The Jersey City, N.J., native has made 103-of-155 shots through the Hawks’ first 15 contests and leads the league with eight double-doubles. Nivins has scored in double figures in 72 of his 108 career games and has reached double figures in rebounds 21 times, including eight times this season, good for second in the A-10. He also boasts 18 career double-doubles.
Temple senior guard Dionte Christmas averaged a league-best 19.7 points last season to become just the third player in Conference history to lead the Atlantic 10 in scoring in successive years. The two other players to hold that distinction are John Battle of Rutgers (1984-85) and St. Bonaventure's Earl Belcher (1980-81). With 10 career A-10 Player of the Week honors, Christmas trails only Xavier’s David West (14) and Jameer Nelson of Saint Joseph’s (13) for the most honors in league history.
St. Bonaventure freshman forward Andrew Nicholson leads all freshmen nationally in both blocked shots (54) and field goal percentage (.628 - 86-for-137) entering the Bonnies’ Jan. 21 contest versus Xavier. Named the A-10 Rookie of the Week four times this season, Nicholson’s nine blocks at Bucknell on Dec. 30 mark the highest single-game total in Division I this season. UMass senior forward Tony Gaffney also registered nine blocks on Dec. 6 versus Boston College.
EXPLORING NEW TERRITORY
Rodney Green scored 20 points in La Salle’s 75-68 loss to Temple on Jan. 11. It marked the junior guard’s fourth 20-point performance of the season. By comparison, the Philadelphia, Pa., native scored 20 or more points just three times all of last season. Green is averaging 15.4 ppg., up from 13.4 ppg. a year ago.
Temple’s 78-53 win at Pennsylvania on Jan. 14 raised the league’s total to 111 non-conference wins this season, the second-highest total in league annals. The A-10 also surpassed the 100-win total in non-conference play in 2007 (104) and 2008 (130). A-10 teams have amassed 15 wins over BCS conference teams thus far, which is tied for fifth nationally.
GW shot a season-high 63.8 percent from the field and 80 percent from three-point range in its 88-83 loss at Duquesne on Jan. 14. The 63.8 shooting was the Colonials’ best effort since Dec. 17, 2005, when they shot .661 (37-for-56) against Maryland-Eastern Shore and marked the team’s third-highest field goal percentage in eight seasons under Karl Hobbs.
PASSING THE ROCK
Senior guard Chris Lowe of Massachusetts led the A-10 and ranked 13th nationally in assists (6.2 apg.) a year ago. The Mount Vernon, N.Y., native registered at least ten assists on six different occasions. Lowe, who also paced the A-10 in assists in 2006 (4.9 apg.), seeks to become the first player in league history to lead the Conference in assists three times. Carl Smith (UM - 1984, 86), Shandue McNeill (SBU - 1995, 97) and Jameer Nelson (SJU - 2001, 02) are the only other players to twice lead the A-10. Lowe recorded his league-leading sixth double-digit assist performance of the season on Jan. 17 in the Minutemen’s 79-75 win over Temple and leads the A-10 with an average of 6.25 apg.
PUT IT IN THE BOOKS
Rhode Island is 14-0 over the past three seasons when junior guard Keith Cothran scores 15 points or more.
Saint Joseph’s senior forward Ahmad Nivins has registered 31 blocks and committed just 26 fouls thru the Hawks’ first 15 games this season. What makes it even more remarkable is that Nivins leads the A-10 in minutes (39.27 mpg.).
THREE IS FOR ME
Duquesne has attempted at least 20 three-pointers in each of its 17 games this season.
Jimmy Baron of Rhode Island enters the Rams’ Jan. 18 contest versus Fordham with 298 career three-pointers, including 15 career performances with at least five field goals from beyond the arc. The senior guard nailed eight three’s at Duke on Nov. 16, the most by an opposing player in the history of Cameron Indoor Stadium.