Opponent Previews: La Salle (1/10)

Opponent: La Salle Explorers
League: Atlantic 10 Conference

Record: 7-9

Notable Wins:
Temple (7-8), Saint Louis (8-8)
Other Wins: Penn, Holy Cross, Mercer, South Alabama, Saint Peters

Notable Losses:
Drexel (7-10), Bucknell (8-8) Towson (12-5)
Other Losses: Villanova, Miami, Northwestern, URI, Boston College, VCU

Team Stats:                             UMass                     La Salle
Points Per Game                    71.1 (256th)           71.0 (Tied-258th)
Rebounds Per Game             34.6 (246th)           34.6 (250th)
Assists Per Game                   15.4 (88th)              11.4 (325th)
Points Allowed                       69.9 (Tied-121st)    71.6 (168th)

Starting 5:

B.J. Johnson: #20 Guard, 6’7, 200 lbs
21.2 PPG    8.9 RPG    .8 APG    1.5 SPG    .5 BPG

Pookie Powell: #0 Guard, 6’0, 180 lbs
18.0 PPG    3.9 RPG    3.2 APG    .9 SPG    .366 3P%

Isiah Deas: #10 Guard, 6’6, 185 lbs
9.9 PPG    3.1 RPG    .9 APG    .8 SPG    .3 BPG

Amar Stukes: #2 Guard, 6’2, 190 lbs
8.3 PPG    2.9 RPG    2.9 APG    1.1 SPG

Tony Washington: #5 Center, 6’10, 230 lb
6.3 PPG    5.6 RPG    .7 APG    .3 SPG    .8 BPG    .583 FG%

Key Role Player:

Saul Phiri: #13 Guard, 6’4, 210 lbs
4.7 PPG    4.6 RPG    1.5 APG    .9 SPG    .4 BPG

Last Year’s Highlights:

Prediction:

La Salle has faced very good competition this year, but was not able to pull of a marquee out of conference upset with a number of opportunities against top 25 calibar teams. The Explorers are led by dynamic forward, B.J Johnson, who leads the conference in scoring at just over twenty-one points per game and he is complimented by point guard Pookie Powell who ranks fourth in the A-10 with eighteen points per contest. As witnessed in the St. Bonaventure game, UMass failed mightily to compete with a duo of superstars despite a very average supporting cast around them. The Key will be shutting down at least one of La Salle’s stars, but it is highly unlikely they will be able to contain both of the volume scorers. C.J Anderson will return from his suspension and be counted on to lock up Johnson for the majority of the game. Rashaan Holloway remains out so expect huge minutes for Malik Hines and Chris Baldwin. If UMass defends consistently, they will have a shot, but they need 18+ from Luwanne Pipkins and good three point shooting from role players to realistically emerge with the victory.

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