La Salle (14-15) at Saint Joseph's (21-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, March 9, 4 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hagan Arena (4,200) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: La Salle 8-5, SJU 11-3. Away Record: La Salle 3-8, SJU 8-4. Neutral Record: La Salle 3-2, SJU 2-1. Conference Record: La Salle 6-9, SJU 11-4. Series Record: Saint Joseph's leads, 64-54.
GAME NOTES: The Saint Joseph's Hawks will try to close out the regular season on a high note, as they battle the cross-town rival La Salle Explorers in an Atlantic 10 Conference clash at Hagan Arena.
The Hawks had won six straight games prior to their encounter at George Washington on Wednesday, when they lost 76-71. The season has still been a strong one for Saint Joseph's, which is 21-8 overall and 11-4 in conference play. It is the first time since the 2007-08 season that the Hawks have collected at least 21 wins.
Much was expected of La Salle this season after its surprise run in the NCAA Tournament last year. The Explorers have not lived up to those expectations, entering the regular-season finale at just 14-15 overall and 6-9 against the rest of the conference. A 59-57 loss to George Mason last time out marked their sixth loss in the last eight games.
These Big 5 rivals have been trading blows back and forth recently, with the teams alternating wins over the last six meetings. The Hawks claimed a victory most recently, earning a 75-64 triumph on Feb. 15. They lead the all-time series, 64-54.
Following a jumper in the paint from Tyrone Garland, La Salle clung to a 57-56 lead against George Mason with 44 seconds to play. However, the Explorers could not hold on as the Patriots got a layup from Marko Gujanicic at the other end and Tyreek Duren missed a 3-point attempt with three seconds left.
Despite relying on a guard-heavy lineup with plenty of postseason experience, La Salle has struggled to be efficient on offense. The Explorers are 12th in the A-10 in both scoring (67.5 ppg) and field goal percentage (.410), while assisting on 12.4 field goals per game. Duren (14.8 ppg, 3.4 apg) is the top playmaker on the roster, leading in scoring and assists. He finished with 13 points against George Mason, but on just 4-or-16 shooting. Tyrone Garland (13.1 ppg) and Jerrell Wright (12.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg) provide additional scoring depth. Garland had a strong game against George Mason, tallying 16 points, six rebounds and four assists.
DeAndre' Bembry scored a game-high 22 points and added eight assists to lead four players in double figures, but it wasn't enough for Saint Joseph's against George Washington. The Hawks were outrebounded 39-32 in the contest, and outscored from beyond the arc (27-24) as well as at the free-throw line (19-13).
Saint Joseph's has been a much more productive offensive team than La Salle this season. The Hawks lead the A-10 in field goal percentage (.473), while also shooting the best percentage from beyond the arc (.385). However, the Hawks play at a slower pace and thus are scoring a modest 72 ppg. Langston Galloway (16.6 ppg) heads up the squad, which relies almost exclusively on the starting lineup. Ronald Roberts (14.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg), Bembry (12.1 ppg) and Halil Kanacevic (10.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 4.5 apg) also figure into the mix, but depth is a concern with no reserve scoring more than 3.4 ppg.
Phil Martelli's Hawks have done a great job of not wasting possessions, taking good shots and limiting mistakes. La Salle hasn't been as efficient and will have trouble keeping up, even with the added motivation of the rivalry.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Joseph's 74, La Salle 67
03/09 10:21:01 ET