PHILADELPHIA– La Salle were the right side for pretty much all game both in the game and in the spread (+5) until they couldn’t knock down a shot nor could they defend a shot in the final five or so minutes.
They fell by a final score of 64-57 to Davidson on Tuesday night at Tom Gola Arena.
“We had our chances,” La Salle head coach Fran Dunphy said. “We’re struggling to score and we need to do a better job of running our stuff and when we do get to the rim, we got to finish at the rim and we didn’t do it quite as well as we could have.”
It started out odd for La Salle when Dunphy put out an unorthodox starting lineup unfamiliar to even the diehard fans when Andres Marrero and Jorge Sanchez-Ramos entered the starting lineup.
Marrero made his fourth start after playing 46 seconds in their last contest against Saint Louis and no more than 7:36 minutes in four games in 2023.
Sanchez-Ramos made his second start of the season and it was his first game action since December 21. He hasn’t played more than 15-minutes all season in four games played.
Notably, four of their five leading scorers didn’t play much in the first half. Khalil Brantley played only 16 minutes today, Jhamir Brickus played nine, Josh Nickelberry played just three, and Anwar Gill played seven.
“Their sense of timing was different than mine. We’ll just leave it at that” Dunphy said post-game. “Good guys, but you got to pay attention to detail.”
With four of their five leading scorers disciplined today, the bench guys filled in nicely.
Marrero played very well in the first half, scoring 10 points, but was shutout in the second half. The Drame twins, who are main features in the rotation, combined for 19 with Hassan scoring 11 and Fousseyni scoring 8. Daeshon Shepard continued to provide a great spark scoring a team-high 14 points.
But it just wasn’t enough for the Explorers. The problems started and ended with Davidson forward Sam Mennenga. The 6-foot-9 Kiwi went off for 27 points and his size just seemed like it was too much for the La Salle defense.
“I thought our bigs did a pretty good job of walling up and denying a little bit,” Dunphy said. “If we play them in the conference tournament we’re going to have to play them differently.”
The loss drops the Explorers to 8-12 and 2-5 in the A10 and extends the losing streak to four games. They’ll look to snap it on Saturday at Rhode Island at 2:00. The Explorers held off the Rams in their first meeting this year, a 77-75 win in overtime at Gola.
“Just keep plugging away and having good days in practice,” Dunphy said. ” We got a tough stretch here and it’s just going to take somebody making shots and really doing a better job at the defensive end.”
“We’re close, but we got to prove that.”