Rhode Island (9-8) at La Salle (9-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 15, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Tom Gola Arena (3,400) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: OSN. Home Record: Rhode Island 6-3, La Salle 5-1. Away Record: Rhode Island 2-5, La Salle 2-3. Neutral Record: Rhode Island 1-0, La Salle 2-2. Conference Record: Rhode Island 0-2, La Salle 2-0. Series Record: Rhode Island leads, 21-7.
GAME NOTES: The La Salle Explorers take aim at their fourth consecutive win, as they host the Rhode Island Rams this evening in Atlantic 10 Conference play at Tom Gola Arena.
The Explorers dominated Duquesne in a 75-56 final on Sunday at the Palumbo Center. Steve Zack logged a double-double consisting of 13 points and 11 rebounds. Tyreek Duren notched a game-high 23 points, and Tyrone Garland finished with 17.
La Salle has thrived at the foul line this season, as the Explorers rank third in the conference in free-throw percentage (.699). Duren is tied for first in the A-10 in assist/turnover ratio (2.4). Garland (14.1 ppg) leads La Salle in scoring, and he is followed closely by Duren (13.7 ppg) and Jerrell Wright (12.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg). Senior guard Sam Mills (8.3 ppg) is just behind Zack (9.9 ppg, 9.3 rpg), who heads the conference in rebounding. Zack is also among the top-5 in blocks (2.1 bpg). Wright is shooting 57.9 percent, which is also among the top-5 in the A-10.
Rhode Island is coming off a 69-56 loss at George Washington last Saturday. Hassan Martin logged a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Rams (9-8, 0-2), who have lost three of their last five. T.J. Buchanan added 13 points off the bench. The Rams will need to get off to a quick start against the Explorers, something Rhode Island didn't do in its last game. They had an awful first half, shooting just 24 percent from the field, including 0- of-7 from beyond the arc against GW.
The Rams are averaging only 67.1 ppg, which is next-to-last in the A-10. They're making just 30.1 percent from beyond the arc, which is at the bottom of the conference as well.
Junior transfer Gilvydas Biruta has been a player to watch for the Rams. He is averaging 11.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per tilt, while shooting 52.1 from the field over his last 11 games. Xavier Munford (15.4 ppg) and E.C. Matthews (12.1 ppg) are the two leading scorers for the Rams. Philadelphia native Biggie Minnis makes his homecoming tonight for the Rams. Minnis (5.5 ppg) was born in the City of Brotherly Love and played high school ball at Atlantic Christian School in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey.
The Rams have dropped their last three meetings against the Explorers, including an 72-65 decision last year in Rhode Island. The Rams haven't beaten La Salle since Feb. 2, 2010. Expect a big game from Duren and Zack, as the Explorers win their season-high fourth game in a row.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: La Salle 74, Rhode Island 67
01/15 10:32:40 ET