La Salle (13-5) at (19) Virginia Commonwealth (16-4)
Saturday January 26, 8 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Lucas Gulotta, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Siegel Center (7,617) -- Richmond, Virginia. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: La Salle 9-1, VCU 10-1. Away Record: La Salle 4-4, VCU 5-1. Neutral Record: La Salle 0-0, VCU 1-2. Conference Record: La Salle 3-2, VCU 4-1. Series Record: Virginia Commonwealth leads, 3-0.
GAME NOTES: The La Salle Explorers look to knock off another ranked opponent as they challenge the No. 19 Virginia Commonwealth Rams in an Atlantic 10 Conference tilt at the Siegel Center.
This will be just the fourth meeting between these programs on the hardwood. VCU has won all three previous encounters.
La Salle clipped the ninth-ranked Butler Bulldogs, 54-53, at home in Philadelphia on Wednesday. The Explorers (13-5) are off to their best start since the 1990-91 team started 14-4. Senior guard Ramon Galloway made the game winning lay-in to lift the team past Butler. Galloway finished the contest with just six points, but he is third in the A-10 in scoring with 16.4 ppg. Tyreek Duren, who tallied a game-high 16 points versus Butler, is second on the squad with 14.4 points and 3.4 assists per tilt. Jerrell Wright and Steve Zack provide Dr. John Giannini with a pair of forwards with both interior defense and rebounding ability.
La Salle's 54 points in the win over Butler was the lowest in a win for the school since beating Xavier, 53-52, on Feb. 27, 2005. On the season, the Explorers are netting 71.7 ppg and allowing 65.3 ppg. Ball control is their biggest strength, as only Temple and Saint Louis average less miscues per tilt in the conference.
While the Explorers aim for consecutive wins, Shaka Smart's Rams will look to avoid back-to-back losses after being upset, 86-74, in an overtime thriller versus cross-town rival Richmond on Thursday. The Rams, who enter the weekend with the second most made 3-pointers (168) in the A-10, went just 3-of-17 from beyond the arc in the contest as Troy Daniels and Rob Brandenberg combined to go 3-of-15 from the floor. Juvonte Reddic notched a double-double of 20 points and 10 boards, while Treveon Graham had one as well with 15 points and 10 rebounds, but it was not enough as the Spiders sank 12-of-27 from long distance.
The Rams are shooting 46.4 percent from the field against A-10 foes. Graham continues to pace the club with his 16.2 ppg, hitting 49.3 percent of his field goal attempts and nearly 40 percent of his 3-point tries. Reddic (1395 ppg, 7.9 rpg), Daniels (12.3 ppg), and Brandenberg (11.1 ppg) have all helped VCU reach the lofty heights it has achieved this season, but the latter two will need to regain their shooting touch to keep it there.
Although the Rams are returning home, they will need to bring their best stuff against this feisty La Salle squad. Smart loves to apply full-court pressure to force the opposition into turnovers, but that will not be possible against a well-oiled Explorers' offense. La Salle is not going to come out of this one with a win if Daniels realizes his potential again, as many opponents felt his presence from 3-point range earlier in the season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia Commonwealth 77, La Salle 70
01/26 10:40:26 ET