Atlantic 10 teams found themselves behind at that half by multiple possessions in all three contests on Day 2 of the NCAA Tournament. One team proceeded to get blasted. One came back but couldn’t get over the hump and one took control before blowing it.
UMass faced Tennessee first and got the doors completely blown off. The Minutemen never came within single digits following a 9-0 run by the Volunteers starting around the fourteen minute mark of the 1st half eventually losing by nineteen. Tennessee got twenty more opportunities at the free throw line.
Down ten to Memphis as late as nine minutes to play, George Washington couldn’t tie on three opportunities or get a key stop late in the game. Nemanja Mikic and Maurice Creek both missed late three balls while Michael Dixon, Jr scored the Tigers final seven points including a back breaking three at the two minute mark.
When I started this write up with five minutes left to play, I chalked this one up as a win. VCU had what seemed like a safe ten point lead before the Stephen F Austin Lumberjacks (Lumberjacks?) went zone, applied full court pressure and started a dramatic comeback that ended with a rare four point play to tie at the end of regulation. Jordan Burgess hit the first three in overtime, but SFAU rattled off the next four points from the free throw line before hitting two clutch jumpers following a Treveon Graham three. The Rams got the look they wanted to win at the buzzer but it just didn’t fall.
On the day, the league went a disappointing 0-3 but the sting was numbed by Mercer eliminating Duke and trash talking Coach K. Sure, the Atlantic may not have lived up to their six bids, but they’re certainly doing better than the coaches who opened their mouths before the dance have.