Scott Spencer had been struggling. He had one point and five turnovers in his first game of the season and was replaced in La Salle’s starting lineup.
Spencer showed glimpses in the next two games of the sharpshooter he was last season. On Tuesday, he was all the way back. In the closing minutes of the first half, the senior came full speed from the corner, took a handoff from center Tegra Izay, and rose up to bury a three-pointer. He finally looked liked the player who shot 43.8% on threes last season.
That three-pointer extended La Salle’s lead to 17 points during a 22-3 run to end the first half. Spencer and the Explorers continued their strong play in the second half and defeated Lincoln, 80-62.
“I felt like, early in the year, I was playing with too much weight on my shoulders, the weight of the world on every shot or every mistake,” said Spencer, who scored 13 points and was 3-of-5 on three-pointers. “I’m just getting back to having fun when I play.”
Jack Clark had a season-high 18 points against Army on Sunday, and he picked up where he left off. Clark led the Explorers (1-3) with 15 points. He and Spencer were joined by Clifton Moore (10) and Anwar Gill (10) in double figures.
Gill was sidelined the first two games due to an undisclosed injury, but his 10 points, five rebounds and three assists showed the impact he can have. Fellow freshman Izay and Jhamir Brickus were also productive. Izay showed his physicality with six points and five rebounds in just 11 minutes.
Brickus’ scoring was on display through three games. On Tuesday, he showed why head coach Ashley Howard believes his passing ability is a strength. He had a career-high eight assists.
“He’s a guy that can score, knows how to run a team, and can get guys open shots,” Howard said of Brickus. “Our guys are confident when he has the ball that he’s going to find them. There are going to be some growing pains there, but I’m very confident in him.”
It was La Salle’s first win this season. The performance wasn’t perfect. Lincoln (2-1) put together an 11-4 run midway through the second half to get to within nine. But Brickus found David Beatty for a three on the next possession, and the Explorers went on a 10-0 run.
Next up La Salle will play an improved Drexel squad. The Explorers dominated last season’s matchup and won 71-63.
“We still have a long way to go, but today was a step in the right direction for us,” Howard said.