Trust Factor Works in Favor of La Salle

The Explorers Advance in the Atlantic 10 With a 61 – 60 Win Over George Washington

BROOKLYN, NY 3/12/2024 –

La Salle Coach Fran Dunphy opened the postgame press conference by deferring to his two guards Jhamir Brickus and Khalil Brantley. Dunphy said his opening salvo would be trust. And the trusted Brickus who responded with a turnaround jumper in the paint with 20.8 seconds left that provided La Salle a 61 – 60 win over the George Washington Revolutionaries in the First Round of the Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship at the Barclays Arena in Brooklyn.

Brickus hit the shot, but George Washington had time to get a responding basket. The Explorers were confident that they could make one more stop.

“We were very confident,” said Brickus. “We came into the huddle and said we need just one more stop. That was our whole thing. Once we got that stop it was huge.”

George Washington got two shots away, the last by James Bishop IV that hit the side of the rim as the horn sounded.

Back and Forth Down the Stretch

The Revolutionaries had the lead for most of the game. The Explorers were down 34 – 27, but got hot from the field and took a 45 – 41 advantage into the last 8:41 in the second half. George Washington scored the next 9 points over a two minute stretch to get the advantage back. La Salle got a proximity three-pointer by Daeshon Shepherd, who scored 10 points, to pull to within a possession. The teams traded points until Shepherd made two free throws to tie the game at 57 each. Brickus would get the next Explorers points giving his team a 59 – 57 edge with 2:23 to play. Revolutionaries forward Darren Buchanan got the lead back with a three-pointer at the 1:56 mark. The clock wound down, then Brickus made the game winning basket. It was a game that the Explorers needed their resilience.

“We believe in each other,” Brantley said. “So at any point in the game, we feel like we can come back. It’s always about finding a way, chipping away.”

“You have to overcome a lot of adversity during the course of games, and during the course of the year,” said La Salle Coach Fran Dunphy. “For us tonight I thought, especially these two guys (Brantley and Brickus), you believe in them, you trust in them.”

What the Numbers Say

Brickus scored a game-high 21 points while Brantley added 15 points and a team-best 9 rebounds. La Salle took 67 shots and made 24 while George Washington took 49 making 17. A differential was the Revolutionaries went 16 of 24 from the free throw line while the Explorers were good on 5 of 8 from the charity stripe.

“I’m sure some of that is they’re drawing fouls,” said Dunphy. “We were ultra aggressive sometimes, and that may have helped that. But we found a way. That’s always the mantra we have. Let’s find a way.”

Bishop IV led GW with 19 points while Buchanan had 14 points, 7 from the free throw line.

Up Next

La Salle moves on to the second round and will face St. Bonaventure. Because of the trust Dunphy had in his players and their will to win.

“I wasn’t ready to go home,” said Brickus. “In that moment, I was just trying to do anything that I could do for my team to win.”


Written By: Glenn Papazian


Fran Dunphy

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