Preview vs. Lasalle

By Steve DiMiceli

From time to time, I'm wrong. Last year, I predicted there was no way the Dukes would lose in Olean. Wrong. I thought Tony Taylor was going to contend for A-10 Player of the year this season. Wrong. And I also expected Lasalle having lost Frenchy and Aaric Murray to finish last in the A-10 this year.


The Explores come to the Palumbo Center tied for first in the A-10. The factor x that I didn't expect in my preseason predictions was for Ramon Galloway would come in and absolutely tear the league up. He's hitting half his three's in Lasalle's 4 guard set and he's not the only one playing at a high level. Senior Earl Pettis is having an all league type year. Tyreek Duren is the ball handler out of the group and Sam Mills rounds the guards out  but is a excellent weapon in his own right. At the lone forward spot, Dr. G. is contractually obligated to start at least one player named Jerrell. This year he's going with freshmen Jerrell Wright, a solid rebounder who has been a little foul prone at times.

 Rebounding, as one might expect, is a glaring weakness for Lasalle. FT shooting is a weakness you might not.  They take fairly good care of the ball and play stout defense.  Like St Louis, Lasalle is an excellent three point shooting team and rank 12th in the country. The good news is they don't shoot even as close to as good on the road as they do at home. Overall on the road, they are 3 - 5 with their best "road" win coming across town at the Palestra against Penn. The Explorers did play Temple and Dayton very tough on the road recently, but they were held to under 40% from three in both those games. They also have a bad away loss to Delaware.

 In a lot of ways, this years Lasalle team is very much like last year's Duquesne team. They either win going away or lose close ones. The Dukes will need to keep this one close for 40 minutes and if they do, they stand a good chance of winning. They may benefit from playing smaller  in order to maintain favorable match ups on the perimeter even if Andre Marhold is able to return from injury. They also need to keep Lasalle from getting second looks especially from three. The Dukes must keep their heads up if Lasalle jumps out to an early advantage. They're a very fast starting team, but they fade as the game progresses.  I'd like to see the Dukes play with confidence and go after Lasalle's inexperienced big men.

This is much more difficult game than I would have expected in November and much more important one for both teams. I wouldn't be surpised if this year's Lasalle team shares the same fate as last year's Duquesne team with a late season pitfall. Problem is, we don't play them in the late season. I suspect the Dukes will need to come from behind late to win this one and boy would it be nice to steal one late. Doesn't happen too often under Ron Everhart, but I can't say that I expect he'll be that out manned behind the bench.  If the Dukes win, Lasalle will have been swept out of Pittsburgh having already lost to Pitt when they were still good and Bobby Mo.

This game is a coin flip. I make no prediction on the outcome aside from one team will win the game.