December 16, 2020 –
The La Salle Explorers opened conference play hosting the Minutemen of Massachusetts at the Gola Arena. La Salle wound up on the short end of an 85 – 66 decision. Massachusetts rode a career-high 37 points from their leading scorer Tre Mitchell to the victory. David Beatty picked up 17 for the hosts.
“Tre Mitchell is an NBA talent and he played like it today,” said La Salle coach Ashley Howard.
Bottom line was that the Explorers had no answer for the sophomore center who made 13 of 17 shots and was 9 of 14 from the foul line, and added two from distance. He was especially effective during a stretch in the second half when UMass put the game away. With just over 15 minutes to play and his team leading by two-points Mitchell scored 17 points in the midst of a 29 – 11 run to take a commanding 79 – 58 lead with just under three and a half minutes remaining.
“It may have appeared that we tried to defend him a multitude of different ways, but we didn’t do a good job in any of the ways we tried to guard him. We didn’t do an effective job.”
When the Minutemen did not get the ball inside they were able to score from outside getting 11 for 28 beyond the arc.
“I’m about our team bringing the fight and we didn’t do that in the second half.” Howard said. “I’m disappointed in that, but we’ll get better. We’ll learn from it. We have a lot of basketball to be played. This is about our journey of continuing to get better and be the best team we can be by the end of the year. This is a part of that process for us.”
Anwar Gill scored 9 points in the contest along with Jack Clark for the Explorers. Scott Spencer contributed 8 points for La Salle who shot 46.6% (27 of 58), and sank 8 of 19 from three-point land. Christian Ray pulled down a team-high 8 rebounds.
Carl Pierre had 14 points and made four three-pointers for UMass. Noah Fernandes contributed heavily to the Minutemen offense scoring 11 points and handing out a game-high 9 assists.
La Salle is 3 – 3 overall and 0 – 1 in the Atlantic 10. The Explorers take on Delaware on Saturday at home. It represents a chance to play and improve.
Written By: Glenn Papazian