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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, February 24, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ryan Center (7,657) -- Kingston, Rhode Island. Television: OSN. Home Record: La Salle 11-2, URI 5-8. Away Record: La Salle 7-5, URI 3-7. Neutral Record: La Salle 0-0, URI 0-2. Conference Record: La Salle 8-4, URI 3-9. Series Record: Rhode Island leads, 21-6.
GAME NOTES: Two Atlantic 10 Conference teams on opposite ends of the standings will do battle on Sunday afternoon, as the Rhode Island Rams welcome the La Salle Explorers to the Ryan Center.
La Salle is in the midst of an outstanding season, as it sits at 18-7 overall and at 8-4 in the A-10, it has established itself as one of the conference favorites. The Explorers had been winners of four straight games heading into their bout with Temple on Thursday night, but they dropped the contest with their cross-town rival, 82-74.
URI has experienced far more downs this season at 8-17 and a lowly 3-9 in league action. The Rams actually built up a little momentum with wins over Dayton on Feb. 13 (75-72) and Duquesne on Feb. 16 (67-62), but they fell right back into their losing ways on Wednesday in a 55-42 home loss to Xavier.
Rhode Island leads the all-time series over La Salle, 21-6, and has won seven of the past 10 meetings, but the Explorers won the latest matchup, 80-66 on Jan. 21, 2012.
The Explorers pieced together an impressive offensive performance in their latest matchup, shooting 45 percent from the floor and 78.9 percent from the foul line while committing just six turnovers, but they had no answer for Temple, which shot 50 percent from the field. Leading the way in the eight- point setback was Ramon Galloway, who tallied a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, although he was a disappointing 4-of-15 shooting from the floor. Tyreek Duren had 16 points, Tyrone Garland netted 14 points and Sam Mills chipped in 11 points and three steals. On the season, La Salle is one of the A-10's most well-balanced teams, scoring 72.3 ppg, while allowing 65.3 ppg for the third-ranked scoring margin in the conference (+7.0). Galloway is one of the league's elite scorers with 17.3 ppg, and he produces in most categories with 4.8 rpg, 3.8 apg, 2.2 spg and 70 3-pointers. Duren is a great second scoring option with 14.6 ppg, Garland (12.1 ppg) is also dangerous in the backcourt, and Jerrell Wright brings 9.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg and nearly a block per game to the trenches.
Despite playing strong defense against Xavier its last time out, URI never stood a chance in the game, as it shot a woeful 24.1 percent from the field (including 5-of-30 from 3-point range) in its worst offensive performance of the season. Xavier Munford shot just 5-of-17 from the floor but finished with a team-best 15 points, while Mike Powell added nine points and four assists to the lackluster effort. The Rams' latest game was a microcosm of their entire season, as they typically put together solid defensive efforts (65.7 ppg) only to be let down by bad offensive outputs, as the team ranks last in the A-10 in netting a lowly 61.6 ppg on less than 40 percent field goal shooting. Munford is neck-and-neck with the Explorers' Galloway amongst the conference's scoring leaders with 17.3 ppg, although his field-goal percentage (.386) leaves much to be desired. Nikola Malesevic brings 10.4 ppg and 5.1 rpg to the table, while Andre Malone (9.9 ppg) and Powell (9.8 ppg) are also solid scorers.
URI will likely be able to slow down the Explorers' offensive attack, and it should receive a slight boost on its home floor. However, La Salle has won more game than it has lost on the road (7-5) and a trip to take on the underwhelming Rams shouldn't be much of a hurdle to jump over.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: La Salle 68, Rhode Island 60
02/24 10:31:46 ET
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