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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 15, 11 a.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Tom Gola Arena (3,400) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: SJU 9-3, La Salle 8-3. Away Record: SJU 5-3, La Salle 2-6. Neutral Record: SJU 2-1, La Salle 2-2. Conference Record: SJU 6-3, La Salle 4-5. Series Record: SJU leads, 63-54.
GAME NOTES: Philadelphia Big 5 and Atlantic 10 rivals are set to square off at Tom Gola Arena, as the La Salle Explorers host the Saint Joseph's Hawks.
Saint Joseph's has gone 12-3 since falling to Villanova on Dec. 7. The Hawks, who are coming off last Saturday's 69-62 home win over VCU, will play four of their next six contests on the road.
Meanwhile, La Salle has dropped two straight and five of its last six, including last weekend's 65-63 setback to Saint Louis in the final seconds. Although that loss came on the Explorers' home floor, they have won 17 of their last 21 at Gola Arena.
These teams are playing each other at Gola Arena for the first time since March 3, 2001 -- every other La Salle home game in the series since then has been played at The Palestra. Saint Joseph's leads the all-time series, 63-54.
Hawks guard Langston Galloway led all scorers with 24 points in the team's win over VCU, while freshman teammate DeAndre Bembry scored 18. Saint Joseph's led by 13 late in regulation before VCU reeled off 10 straight points to make things interesting down the stretch. Ultimately, the Hawks won despite shooting just 6-of-21 from beyond the arc (.286) and 13-of-20 at the foul line (.650). Points have been fairly difficult for the team to come by of late, as it ranks second-to-last in the A-10 in scoring average during conference play (67.1 ppg). The defense has gotten the job done however, limiting foes to 67.4 ppg in that span. Galloway is averaging a team-best 15.7 ppg and nearly three 3-pointers per game (2.9), which ranks second in the conference. Ronald Roberts (12.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg), Bembry (11.2 ppg) and Halil Kanacevic (10.9 ppg, 8.7 rpg) are also averaging double figures for SJU.
While the Hawks boast a couple of capable big men in Kanacevic and Roberts, the Explorers have one of their own in Steve Zack (9.7 ppg, 9.8 rpg), who leads the A-10 and ranks fifth nationally with 13 double-doubles. That marks the most double-doubles by a La Salle player since K?Zell Wesson had 16 in 1998-99. Tyreek Duren paces the squad in scoring with 14.5 ppg and is a 38- percent 3-point shooter (41-of-108). Tyrone Garland (13.5 ppg) and Jerrell Wright (12.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg) also average double figures. Trailing by seven with just over three minutes to play against Saint Louis last weekend, the Explorers rallied to tie the score at 63-63 on Duren's layup with 33 seconds remaining. However, Billikens guard Jordair Jett ended it on a contested layup with 3.7 seconds on the clock. The loss spoiled another double-double by Zack, who piled up 15 points and 13 boards. Wright had a team-high 21 points, while Duren scored 14.
These teams have been veering in opposite directions of late, but the records often go out the window when these city rivals meet up. The Explorers may be able to keep this one close, particularly since they are at home, but look for the Hawks to squeeze out the win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Joseph's 70, La Salle 68
02/15 10:15:55 ET
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