Rams and Wildcats collide in A-10 bout

Mar 14, 2015 - 2:40 PM Brooklyn, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The 2015 Atlantic 10 Tournament semifinal round will begin on Saturday with a matchup between the tournament's top overall seed, the Davidson Wildcats, and the fifth-seeded Virginia Commonwealth Rams at the Barclays Center.

Davidson advanced to the semifinals on a last-second shot against La Salle in the quarterfinal round on Friday. The 67-66 victory helped the Wildcats advance in their first-ever appearance in the A-10 tourney.

VCU scored an upset in the quarterfinal round when it knocked off fourth- seeded Richmond on Friday by a score of 70-67.

The winner of this contest will clinch a spot in the A-10 Tournament championship game on Sunday.

This marks just the fourth time these teams will meet on the hardwood, with Davidson leading the series, 2-1. The squads split their two meetings this season with VCU defeating Davidson, 71-65, on Jan. 7, and the Wildcats embarrassing the Rams, 82-55, on March 5.

Tyler Kalinoski scored on a layup with one second remaining in Davidson's quarterfinal matchup against La Salle to help the Wildcats advance. Kalinoski scored 18 points in the victory while Jack Gibbs led Davidson with 22 points and six assists. Davidson converted only 38.7 percent of its field goal attempts, but that included 14 3-point field goals. La Salle netted 50 percent of its tries from the field, but that included just 7-of-21 from beyond the arc. The Wildcats also forced 15 turnovers, which they converted to 21 points.

Kalinoski is the Wildcats' top scorer with 16.9 ppg (third in the A-10) while Gibbs ranks second on the team with 16.0 ppg (ninth in the A-10). Davidson ranks first in the A-10 for scoring offense (80.6 ppg), field goal percentage (.476) and 3-point field goal percentage (.401). Davidson allows teams to score 68.2 ppg and ranks near the bottom of the A-10 for field goal percentage defense (.437). The Wildcats do, however, defend the perimeter well as they rank second in the league for 3-point field goal defense (.291). Davidson has the most team assists in the A-10 (504) and is managing a plus-2.07 turnover margin.

VCU netted 41.5 percent of its tries from the field against Richmond, including 10-of-21 from beyond the arc. The Rams also connected on 16-of-19 from the free-throw line. Richmond did manage to convert 57.4 percent of its field goal attempts, but the Spiders were outscored 30-15 on 3-point field goals, and Richmond also failed to score a single point from the foul line. VCU finished with more second-chance points (13-6) and bench points (30-7) than Richmond. The Rams' top scorer was Melvin Johnson, who finished with 23 points in the victory.

Treveon Graham is VCU's top scorer with an average of 16.4 ppg (sixth in the A-10) and is also the team's top rebounder with 6.7 rpg. The Rams rank second in the A-10 for scoring offense with 72.0 ppg, and the team converts 41.8 percent of its field goal attempts. The Rams hold opponents to 65.2 ppg and allow them to convert on 43 percent of their field goal attempts. VCU ranks first in the A-10 for total steals (322) and turnover margin (plus-6.28).

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