Our young Gophers have been matched-up with the La Salle Explorers in the first round of the NIT. The march to New York City is on and it begins in Philadelphia.
La Salle is a member of the Philadelphia Big 5 which is a loose affiliation of division 1 schools in the Philadelphia area. They share intense rivalries, a rich talent base in Philly and since 1955 they have crowned a Big 5 champion after each of the schools have played each other during the season. This year La Salle was only able to beat Penn, they lost to Villanova in OT and then in A10 conference play lost to St. Joes and Temple.
Here are some interesting facts about the La Salle Men's basketball program
- In 2005, Street and Smith listed La Salle as the 53rd greatest college basketball program of all time.
- They have 3 national players of the year to their credit. (Lionel Simmons-1990, Michael Brooks-1980 and Tom Gola-1955)
- NCAA Champions in 1954
- NIT Champions in 1952
And now let's take a look at the current roster of Explorers
This team has three guards who score 13+ points per game. They can all hit from behind the arc and they can all score in bunches, there is no sleeping on any of these guys.
G/F - Earl Pettis - A 6-5 senior and the team's leading scorer at 15.3 points per game. Pettis began his career at Rutgers and transferred to La Salle for his final two seasons. He shoots about 36% from three and was named the A10s Most Improved Player.
G - Ramon Galloway - senior guard who averages 14.2 ppg. Galloway is 6-3 and is dangerous from behind the three-point line where he hit over 43% on the season. He is also a transfer, this one from South Carolina. Galloway was named to the second team All-A10.
G - Tyreek Duren - 6-0 sophomore guard who averaged 13.5 points while shooting 40% from behind the arc. Another very good scorer that the Gophers will have to be aware of. He was actually recruited by La Salle.
Team Stats (without any actual stats)
Statistically this is a solid team both in scoring and in holding opponents from scoring. They really (REALLY) struggle rebounding the basketball.
This game should come down to who controls tempo and dictates style of play. If we can pound the ball inside to Rodney, Ralph and Eliason (in that order) we should be able to control things. If they are getting open threes and hitting them, they could win by 15. But we need to rebound each of their misses, every offensive rebound they get is an opportunity to hit another three.