February 3, 2021 –
The La Salle Explorers defeated three of the top preseason Atlantic 10 favorites. First, the Explorers won at Dayton, then at Richmond, and now claim a win over the Saint Louis Billikens 82 – 75 at the Gola Arena. The Explorers were led by David Beatty who scored a career-high 22 points in the contest. Wins like this give the Explorers belief.
“Me and coach tell the team all the time to believe in ourselves,” Beatty said. “The talent is there. We need to work hard every day, come and get better at practice, and everything will work out for us, and be the best team we can be at the end of March, then we’ll be fine.”
It was a tightly contested game. The Billikens lead 54 – 53 midway through the second half. The Explorers went on a 11 – 1 run to lead by 9-points with just over 5 minutes to play. La Salle closed out the game by making 10 straight free throws, then ended the game making 14 of 16. The only two baskets during that stretch were two press-breaking dunks by Jared Kimbrough. It is another sign of growth for LSU.
“They were stretching the game out fouling with three minutes left,” said La Salle Coach Ashley Howard. “I’m looking at the clock and said we have to make free throws. We did a good job of taking care of the basketball, getting the ball inbounds against their pressure. You have to make free throws to win close games.”
“We got the necessary stops we needed, made the free throws late when we needed, and those are the things you have to do against the best teams in the most difficult situations to get those wins.”
Sharif Kenney led the charge to the charity stripe and finished the game with 13 of 15 from the line. Overall, Kenney scored 17 points. Jack Clark had 15 making 6 of 8 from the field.
This was a hastily arranged game for Saint Louis who have played only twice since December 23rd. Their previous game was at Dayton. The Billikens were scheduled to play at Richmond over the weekend, but that game did not happen due to COVID protocols. The record for SLU is now 0 – 2 in conference and 7 – 3 overall.
La Salle improves to 8 – 10 and 5 – 6 in the Atlantic 10. Fordham looms next on the schedule.
“For us it’s all about fighting and staying in the game, and giving ourselves a chance to be in the game in the second half,” Howard said. “I felt like we did that today.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian