La Salle (8-2) at Siena (2-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 29, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Times Union Center (8,786) -- Albany, New York. Television: TCN, TWC Sports. Home Record: La Salle 5-1, Siena 0-4. Away Record: La Salle 3-1, Siena 1-5. Neutral Record: La Salle 0-0, Siena 1-1. Conference Record: La Salle 0-0, Siena 0-2. Series Record: La Salle leads, 4-3.
GAME NOTES: Not since the days of Lionel Simmons have the La Salle Explorers had a better start to a season. They'll try for a third straight victory in a non-conference contest against the Siena Saints.
The Explorers are coming off wins against Iona and Sacred Heart, although La Salle's last road game was a loss, to Bucknell on Dec. 15. Most recently, the team earned a 100-71 victory over Sacred Heart in a non-conference tilt last week. Six Explorers scored in double figures, paced by 22 from Ramon Galloway. La Salle, which held a 66-30 lead at the half, also received 16 points from starters Steve Zack and Jerrell Wright, along with 16 from Rohan Brown. Tyreek Duren scored 14.
The only better start for La Salle recently was when the Explorers were 9-1 during the 1989-90 season when Simmons was national player of the year. The 2005-06 squad also started 8-2. Galloway leads the Atlantic 10 Conference in scoring at 18.0 ppg. while Duren is sixth at 16.4 ppg. Galloway has scored at least 20 points in each of his last four games and has connected on at least three 3-pointers in each of his previous nine contests.
The Saints have one of the leading rebounders in the nation in O.D. Anosike (12.4 rpg), but have lost eight straight games mostly due to their ineffectiveness at the offensive end. Siena averages 58.4 points, which is next-to-last in the MAAC. The Saints have played just one game in the last 20 days, that being an 81-75 loss at Fordham on Dec. 23. Rob Poole had 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field, while Rakeem Brookins put up 18 points. Anosike and Evan Hymes chipped in 16 and 14, respectively. Anosike is seven points away from 1,000 for his career.
This is Siena's longest losing streak since dropping eight in a row during the 2004-05 season. They lost 10 in a row in 2003-04. Siena is second in the MAAC in field goal defense (.409), but still is off to its worst start through 12 games as a Division I program. Additionally, the Saints are 0-4 at home and have never started 0-5 as the host team.
The Saints, who are making only 57.9 percent of their foul shots, have had at least as many turnovers as assists in every game this season. They have four players averaging double figures in points, led by Brookins (14.0). Anosike (13.3), Poole (12.2) and Hymes (11.8) also average double figures.
La Salle leads the all-time series with Siena, 4-3, with all seven meetings coming when the Explorers were in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. This will mark the first encounter between the squads since March 8, 1992.
The Explorers, who are 10-2 in the month of December over the last two seasons, should be able to utilize some strong backcourt play from Galloway and Duren to come away with another victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: La Salle 74, Siena 66
12/29 10:32:51 ET