La Salle Explorers (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS, 2-1 O/U) at Northwestern Wildcats (2-1 SU, 0-2 ATS)
Line: Northwestern -15.5
La Salle is 3-0 after beating South Alabama, 81-73 on Thursday at home. The Explorers finally leave Philadelphia to play Northwestern in Connecticut in the Hall of Fame Tipoff. The Wildcats lost to Creighton at home on Wednesday, 92-88.
Johnson dominates Jaguars
Senior B.J. Johnson scored 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead La Salle over South Alabama by eight on Thursday. The Explorers led by 20 points in the first half and were outscored 46-34 in the second half. Sophomore wing Isaiah Deas added a career-high 15 points off the bench while Saul Phiri, a 6-4 guard contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds.
The Explorers were a mediocre team last season at 15-15 overall and 9-9 in the Atlantic Ten. Senior guard Jordan Price (15.3ppg, 4.3rpg) has graduated so La Salle needs Johnson and guard Pookie Powell (13.7ppg, 3.1apg) to step up. Powell, who had 10 points, six rebounds and four assists on Thursday, injured his wrist last season at VCU and the team was never the same without him.
Defense continues to be an issue for Northwestern
Chris Collins had to be concerned after his Wildcats allowed 75 points in the opener against Loyola-Maryland. They struggled to beat Loyola (79-75) and St. Peter’s (75-66) in their first two games. That caught up with Northwestern when they fell at home to Creighton on Wednesday. They allowed the Bluejays to shoot 51.5 percent from the floor and 8-of-16 from beyond the arc. Turnovers were not a factor in this one as Creighton committed just nine, while Northwestern turned it over six times. The Wildcats were also outrebounded by five and made just 12-of-19 from the free throw line.
Junior forward Vic Law led the Wildcats with a career-high 30 points, while senior guard Bryant McIntosh added 24 points in 40 minutes. McIntosh (19ppg), Law (17.3ppg) and Scottie Lindsey (16ppg) comprise one of the top trios in the Big Ten. The Wildcats miss power forward Aaron Falzon (6-8, 225), who is questionable with a hip injury. He averaged 8.4 points and 3.4rpg two seasons ago and missed most of last season due to a knee injury.
La Salle is:
- 2-6 ATS last 8 vs. Atlantic Ten.
Something is wrong with Northwestern right now. I wouldn’t lay that many points in a neutral site against a decent La Salle squad. The lack of depth is also a concern with the Wildcats.