An Abrupt End for the La Salle Season

The Explorers Fall 75 – 73 to Saint Bonaventure in a Tussle

BROOKLYN, NY 3/13/2024 –

A tightly contested game that could have gone either way over the last 12 minutes. In the end a three-pointer by La Salle guard Jhamir Brickus was off the mark, and a follow by Daeshon Shepherd could not find the rim, and Saint Bonaventure got a 75 – 73 win. The Bonnies advance to the quarterfinal round. The scrappy Explorers see their season end suddenly.

“I keep going back to the abruptness,” said La Salle Coach Fran Dunphy. “When you’re their age it’s different. When you’re my age it’s a daunting task to take a step away and think about the past days. Coming to a place like this. To be in an Atlantic 10 Tournament setting. To win our first game as we did, and come to where we needed to be at the end of the game. The abruptness of the season just leaves you empty. I’m very proud of these guys, and I appreciate them being with me.”

A Closely Contested Game

The Bonnies had the better of it in the first half and took a 42 – 34 lead at halftime. In the second half the Explorers used a 10 – 0 run to tie the game at 52 with just under 12 minutes on the clock. With just over 11 minutes to go La Salle took the lead on three free throws by Tunde Vahlberg Fasasi. From that point there were 8 lead changes and 3 ties until the horn sounded. Only on two occasions it was a four point game. From the six and a half minute mark, over the next three minutes the lead changed on five consecutive scores.

The last La Salle lead was 66 – 65 with 2:22 to play on a basket by Brickus. The score was knotted at 68 with a minute and a half remaining. The Bonnies then got back to back baskets for a four-point lead. With just 17 seconds to play Brickus drained three free throws. Saint Bonaventure forward Chad Venning made a free throw. He missed the second, and set up La Salle for one last chance.

Brickus took the ball down the floor. He was steered to the right corner where he put up a three. Shepherd got to the ball but he could not get his follow up to the rim. The horn sounded and the season was over. Just that abruptly.

“I just came off the screen,” Brickus said about the final play. “I had to get something up, and Shep (Shepherd) couldn’t get the tip.”

What the Numbers Say

Saint Bonaventure had a sizable rebound advantage in the first half 22 – 10, and a 12 – 4 edge on the offensive glass. La Salle won the battle of the boards 20 – 12. The players took it upon themselves to improve the numbers.

“I thought we rallied at halftime and made some good adjustments,” Dunphy said. “I thought the kids did a good job with that and they were very accountable to some of the plays that happened that were difficult for us. Our guys proved their mettle and did a good job and put themselves in a position to win the game. We just came up short.”

The Bonnies also had a 19 – 14 advantage in made free throws, and sank 12 of 13 in the second half.

La Salle had five players score in double-digits led by Brickus with 18. Rokas Jocius scored 16 points while Shepherd added 11 points. Khalil Brantley and Anwar Gill each scored 10 points. Brickus and Brantley accounted for 9 total assists.

St. Bonaventure had 6 players reach double figures with Mika Adams-Woods getting 15 points. Charles Pride scored 13 points. Assa Essamvous took down a game-high 9 rebounds.

The La Salle coach wanted another practice and game. But this season comes to a close as Dunphy kept coming back to, abruptly.

“I just want to practice and play another game with these guys, and when it ends, it’s so hard,” Dunphy said.

Written By: Glenn Papazian


Jhamir Brickus getting the ball up the court

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