Jekyll and Hyde have nothing on the La Salle men’s basketball team. Three days after beating arguably the best team in the Atlantic 10, the Explorers spent most of Saturday trailing by double digits against one of the worst teams in the conference.
The parallels go even further. La Salle defeated Fordham by 37 points in their first meeting. Things were different on the road.
La Salle hung around and shot the ball better in the second half, but so did Fordham. The Rams’ hot three-point shooting was too much to overcome. The Explorers lost, 76-68, at Rose Hill gym.
“I think we had a let down,” head coach Ashley Howard said. “We came out and didn’t have the juice that we talk about. The energy, the intensity, the focus on the defensive end wasn’t there.”
The any player, any day mantra for La Salle (8-11, 5-7 A-10) was true again. Christian Ray scored a career-high 18 points and added nine rebounds. The problem was that it simply took too long for his teammates to get going. At one point, Ray had 16 while the rest of the Explorers combined for 13.
“He was one of the guys that came out and played with that energy and that pop,” Howard said. “He came to play. He wasn’t a step slow.”
Jack Clark came alive in the second half and finished with 16 points. David Beatty, Sherif Kenney and Jhamir Brickus were also better.
Fordham (2-9, 2-9) entered Saturday’s game as the worst two-point and three-point shooting team in the A-10. The Rams saved their best shooting game for La Salle. They made 11 of 25 threes overall, including 6-for-12 in the second half. Ty Perry entered the game shooting 18% from three and knocked down six of his nine attempts.
“Once [the Rams] got that confidence, they made some tough shots,” Howard said. “There were several shots that they made with our guys completely on top of them.”
La Salle continues to be one of the most unpredictable teams in the A-10. The Explorers lost two of three before beating Dayton, had three straight double-digit losses before beating St. Joseph’s and Richmond, and have now lost three of four with the only win coming against previously ranked St. Louis.
“I think that’s the challenge that I’ve got to figure out,” Howard said.
Drexel hot offense overcomes turnovers at Hofstra
It’s not often that a team wins a game with 22 turnovers. Especially with the way the 22nd turnover happened.
Drexel was up three with 30 seconds remaining when Matey Juric launched a pass into traffic. It was picked off by Hofstra and resulted in two points.
T.J. Bickerstaff knocked down two free throws to give the Dragons the room they needed in their 73-71 win at Hofstra. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Pride and the first win at Hofstra since 2014.
Hofstra took 22 more shots than Drexel due to the turnovers and rebounds. The Dragons more than made up for the disadvantage by shooting 62%. Even though Hofstra had only 11 turnovers, both teams still finished tied with 20 points off turnovers.
“Not many live ball turnovers,” head coach Zach Spiker said. “I thought our guys just played with aggression. Sometimes when you do that, you turn it over. I thought our plan of attack was good.”
Drexel led by as many as 17 points and controlled the game until Hofstra’s Jalen Ray caught fire. He finished with 30 points, making eight three-pointers.
Bickerstaff scored 18 points, Camren Wynter added 16, and Zach Walton finished 11 points. Luke House played 12 minutes and nailed all three of his three-point attempts.
It was a big win for Drexel. The Dragons are off to a slow start in CAA after being picked third in the preseason CAA poll, but a win against Hofstra is something that hasn’t been familiar.
Temple women back at .500 after Wichita State win
Two losses at Tulane put Temple two games under .500 after its hot start in American Athletic Conference play. The Owls rolled up back-to-back wins against Cincinnati and Temple to get back to .500.
Temple defeated Wichita State (4-7, 1-5 AAC), 65-57, after a dominant fourth quarter.
The Shockers led, 49-45, entering the fourth. The Owls (7-7, 7-4) held them to 23% shooting in the final frame. Jasha Clinton (21), Mia Davis (16), and Asonah Alexander (12) combined for 49 points.
Temple will get a chance to avenge a 34-point loss against Houston at home on Wednesday.