Morgan State (0-4) vs. La Salle (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 22, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sports and Fitness Center (4,000) -- St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Television: None. Home Record: Morgan St. 0-2, La Salle 2-1. Away Record: Morgan St. 0-2, La Salle 0-1. Neutral Record: Morgan St. 0-0, La Salle 0-0. Conference Record: Morgan St. 0-0, La Salle 0-0. Series Record: La Salle leads, 3-1.
GAME NOTES: The first day of the 2013 Paradise Jam comes to a close with the matchup between the Morgan State Bears and the La Salle Explorers.
Both teams will continue to play in the tournament regardless of the outcome, with the winner facing the victor in the Providence/Vanderbilt matchup on Sunday, and the losers squaring off on Saturday.
Morgan State has yet to record a victory this season, losing its first four games against Ohio State (89-50), Towson (95-75), San Diego (68-61) and Ohio University (65-62). The Bears play their basketball out of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, and they will open league action at home against South Carolina State on Jan. 11, 2014.
La Salle brings an even 2-2 mark into this tournament, the team falling to Manhattan (99-90, 2OT) and Penn State (79-72), sandwiched around a pair of victories over Quinnipiac (73-67) and Siena (78-74). The Explorers call the Atlantic 10 Conference home, and they will begin their trek through league play against visiting George Washington on Jan. 9, 2014.
La Salle has won three of the previous four meetings with Morgan State, with all four taking place between 2006-10.
While the Bears have yet to break into the win column, they boast one of the MEAC's top scorers in Justin Black (20.0 ppg). Ian Chiles (10.8 ppg) is the only other double-digit scorer for a team that is shooting just 37.4 percent from the field, which includes a dreadful 22.5 percent showing from 3-point range. Morgan State is being outscored by 17.2 ppg, while being outrebounded by 7.2 rpg. The Bears do own a favorable turnover margin (+4.3), and they are coming off a game (3-point loss to Ohio U.) in which they coughed the ball up only nine times. Unfortunately, they connected on only 37.3 percent of their total shots, missing 13 of their 17 long-range tries along the way. Black and Chiles both scored 17 points in the setback.
La Salle is averaging a healthy 78.3 ppg, doing so behind a shooting effort that has the team dropping just 40.2 percent of its attempts, which includes a 31.3 percent effort from beyond the arc. Opponents are netting 79.8 ppg in hitting 44.8 percent of their total shots, including 43.2 percent of their 3- pointers. Tyreek Duren leads the team in scoring at 17.5 ppg, but Tyrone Garland is hot on his heels with 17.3 ppg. Jerrell Wright chips in 13.0 ppg, while also spearheading the unit's rebounding effort with 9.3 rpg. Duren is the assist leader with 4.8 per contest. Garland poured in 18 points, Duren had 16 and Wright (10 points, 10 rebounds) and Steve Zack (12 points, 10 boards) both logged double-doubles, but those efforts went for naught as the Explorers fell at Penn State earlier this week. Both teams shot nearly the same from the field, long range and the foul line, but the Nittany Lions turned 11 La Salle turnovers into 15 points, while placing five players in double figures.
Morgan State's season of woe is going to continue as the team, outside of Black and Chiles, lacks the overall talent and depth needed to compete with the better teams on its schedule, of which the Explorers are one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: La Salle 77, Morgan State 62
11/22 10:39:48 ET