La Salle takes on Penn in a Big Five battle from The Palestra on Wednesday at 7pmET. Last year, the Quakers crushed the Explorers, 83-65 from La Salle. This season, the Explorers are 1-0, coming off a 70-64 overtime win over Iona on Saturday. Penn opened up with a strong win over Alabama by one on Tuesday, but then was crushed at Rice, 80-61 last Saturday.
Baby stepsLa Salle returns three starters from a 10-21 team that finished 810 in the Atlantic Ten. Head coach Ashley Howard struggled in his first season as he continues to overhaul the roster with his players. They lost last year's leading scorer Pookie Powell (15.9ppg) to graduation and also lost several transfers. They did add Clemson transfer Scott Spencer, who scored nine points, grabbed nine boards and dished out four assists in the opener against Iona.
Spencer is a 6-6, 205-pound wing who played sparingly at Clemson but has two years of eligibility remaining. In their 70-64 win over Iona, David Beatty led the Explorers with 15 points and added eight boards. He's a 6-2 senior guard, who averaged 7.7 points last season. La Salle blew an eight-point lead with 1:41 left in regulation, but once the game got to overtime, they shut out the Gaels completely, outscoring them 6-0. They also held them to 30% shooting from the field and to just 8-of-40 (20%) from beyond the arc. However, the Explorers also turned the ball over 17 times.
A letdown?After Penn upset Alabama on the road, they moved on to Rice from Houston and maybe struggled with expectations. As a 6.5-point favorite, the Quakers failed to deliver, falling behind by 12 at the half and losing by 19, 80-61. Penn shot just 38.5% from the field and 3-of-22 (13.6%) from beyond the arc. They even struggled from the line (8-15) and were outrebounded by 16. Jordan Dingle led the Quakers with 22 points on 10-of-18 shooting (2-8 3pt), while A.J. Brodeur (17.6ppg last year) added 20 with eight boards. Dingle is a freshman guard, who has to start because 6-5 junior Jelani Williams tore his ACL for the third time.
Jordan Dingle hit a fall away shot in the lane, to lead @PennBasketball to a season opening 81-80 upset over @AlabamaMBB. Dingle lead the Quakers with 24 points on 9-16 shooting from the field. The loss marred newly hired Alabama head coach Nate Oats' debut. pic.twitter.com/Jsmx8kuuK7— 🏀NCAAHoops24/7 (@NCAAHoops247) November 6, 2019
Shooters struggle sometimes on the road with lighting or depth perception. They really didn't shoot great against Alabama (8-26 3pt), but they held the Tide to just 35.5% shooting overall and forced 15 turnovers.
This is a pretty good Penn squad. They won 19 games last season and under Steve Donahue, will always be a threat to win the Ivy League.
La Salle is:
- 4-1-2 ATS last 7 on the road in series.
- Road team is 9-2-1 ATS last 12 in series.
Trends from Covers.com: Penn is:
- 3-7 ATS last 10 after a SU loss.