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1/28/2023 7:27 pm  #1

GW vs LaSalle Game Thread

GW is back on the road to face off against LaSalle next

Does GW improve to 6-3 in League play with another road victory???



2/01/2023 1:51 am  #2

Re: GW vs LaSalle Game Thread

La Salle Explorers

Date/Time: Wednesday February 1st @ 7:00 PM ET at Tom Gola Arena in Philadelphia, PA.
Preseason Ranks: 185th (KenPom), 156th (Bart Torvik), 208th (Sports Illustrated)
2021-22 Record: 11-19, 5-13 (T-12th in A10)
2022-23 Projected Record: 11-20, 5-13 (14th in A10)

Head-to-Head: 26-17. The Buff and Blue came out on top 89-87 last season in a high-scoring contest at home. GW took a two point lead into halftime and held on by the same margin. We fouled the Explorers on a made three with 5 seconds left which made it more of a game at the end than it should have been. Moore had a chance to win the game on a last second heave that hit the back rim (though looking at the play-by-play, I guess the shot wouldn't have counted since it wasn't registered as a miss). If you like a lot of offense with very little defense played this was a game to tune in for. The two teams combined to make 25 threes at a 48% clip with 37 total assists. Incredibly, GW came out on top despite being outrebounded by 20(!). We had 12 steals for the game, which may have ended up making the difference.

Four GW players finished in double figures. JB led the way with 27 points on an 11-14 performance from the FT line; Joe added 24 on seven made threes; Hunter had 13 points, 6 rebounds and 5 blocks; Brayon had 12 points and 8 assists.  

Offensive Efficiency: 278th (KenPom), 256th (Bart Torvik)
Defensive Efficiency: 233rd (KenPom), 235th (Bart Torvik)
Pace: 145th (KenPom), 139th (Bart Torvik)
Offensive Shot Quality Rank: 187th
Defensive Shot Quality Rank: 232nd
Rim & 3 Rate: 76% (209th)

Strengths (OOC Play):
Bench Points Per Game (69th)

Weaknesses (OOC Play):
Assist Turnover Ratio (253rd)
Free Throw Percentage (254th)
Scoring Defense (T-260th)
Blocks Per Game (T-267th)
Scoring Offense (T-271st)
Assists Per Game (T-274th)
Three Point Percentage Defense (274th)
Field Goal Percentage Defense (281st)
Rebound Margin (T-294th)
Field Goal Percentage (302nd)
Scoring Margin (304th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage (309th)

Key Returning Players:
Josh Nickelberry (Senior; Fayetteville, NC) 11.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg; 41% FG, 36% 3-PT, 72% FT
      Last Season @ GW: 13 points, 2 rebounds; 5-8 FG, 1-4 3-PT, 2-2 FT in 22 minutes.

Jhamir Brickus (Junior; Coatesville, PA) 8.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 3.3 apg; 45% FG, 36% 3-PT, 65% FT
      Last Season @ GW: 20 points, 2 rebounds, 8 assists; 7-12 FG, 5-8 3-PT, 1-1 FT in 32 minutes.

Khalil Brantley (Sophomore; Brooklyn, NY) 8 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1 spg; 35% FG, 27% 3-PT, 68% FT
      Last Season @ GW: 11 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists; 4-7 FG, 2-3 3-PT, 1-2 FT in 18 minutes.

Key Losses:
Clifton Moore (Transferred to Providence; Ambler, PA) 12.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.2 apg, 2.8 bpg; 49% FG, 25% 3-PT, 72% FT
Jack Clark (Transferred to NC State; Cheltenham, PA) 12 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.2 spg; 38% FG, 30% 3-PT, 80% FT
Sherif Gross-Bullock (formerly Kenney) (Transferred to Bryant; Washington, DC) 8.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2 apg; 36% FG, 33% 3-PT, 73% FT
Christian Ray (Transferred to Delaware; Gap, PA) 5 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.6 apg; 42% FG, 28% 3-PT, 53% FT

74 years young. Future hall of famer and one of La Salle's own, Fran Dunphy, took over the Explorer program this offseason after La Salle went 45-71 overall in the last four seasons under Ashley Howard (who may have also lost his opportunity at the Villanova job as mentioned in the Fordham preview due to his poor performance).

I'm not saying Howard didn't deserve to be let go, but generally when a school fires a coach you'd think they already have the successor lined up (or at least have an idea of who that would be). Whether they missed on their top choices or not, the perception is that Dunphy took the job partly because no one else wanted to and partly to perhaps build the program up enough that the job is somewhat more desirable for the next person.

I find it hard to imagine that Dunphy will even want to coach for more than a couple years at most so it will be interesting to see what happens in the coming seasons. A few years ago, La Salle was tied for last with Fordham in A10 job desirability from various coaches. Given how Fordham has turned things around of late, by all accounts it appears that LaSalle is in a distant 15th place in the league. While all schools took a hit during COVID, it's fair to question whether the school will be able to survive long-term. In a Forbes article from 2021, La Salle had a financial health grade of 'D' (GW was a B). It's a private school that has an endowment of just 80 million dollars.

Anyways, back to basketball. There's little doubt that Dunphy can coach - he's won 580 games in his career with stops at fellow Philly schools Penn and Temple. You don't win 64% of games in your career by accident. He took the Quakers to nine NCAA tournaments in the 90s and 2000s and the Owls to 8 in the 13 years after that. 7 of those seasons at Temple were in the A10, so he's familiar with the league. GW is 4-7 all-time against Dunphy (1-0 vs. Penn, 3-7 vs. Temple).

Dunphy has only been out of coaching for three years. It's not as if he is totally unfamiliar with the transfer portal era, but even in the last few years so much has changed around the sport. I wonder how he feels about NIL, especially as many longtime head coaches have opted to retire as retaining players has never been harder. He got first-hand experience this offseason when he had to basically re-recruit the entire roster. If I remember correctly, darn near every player on the roster entered the portal but credit Dunphy for being able to convince a few guys to return from last year's team - notably a number of players in the backcourt (Moore was a big loss having ranked 13th nationally in blocks per game last year). Basketball is a guard's game, so anytime a team has decent guards on the roster they have a chance at the very least.

The Explorers did not have a particularly notable OOC slate. They went 6-7 overall, with their best win being against Penn in overtime (or perhaps new to D1 Queens University by 12). They somehow managed to lose to Lafayette at home by 25. I'm not sure how that's possible. The one common opponent that both GW and La Salle had was Howard University, a game which La Salle won by 4 on the road. Similar to our game at Radford, I just shake my head when I see an A10 school playing on the road against a low major school. The margin of error for the league is small as it is so schools should be trying harder to not play road games where a loss may be a killer to teams in the rest of the league. In La Salle's case, they may need the guaranteed money so it might be more understandable.

If La Salle does have a strength this year, it's their ability to play up to 10 players on any given night. The Explorers ranked 69th nationally in bench production during OOC play. They certainly have the advantage when it comes to depth but really what team doesn't against GW at this point? Dunphy has gone with a number of different starting lineup combinations during conference play (it appears starting on any given night has to be earned during practice) so it's hard to say who will be starting but I'd guess he goes with a three guard/two forward lineup. La Salle has a strong three guard nucleus returning in Louisville transfer Josh Nickelberry, junior Jhamir Brickus, and sophomore Khalil Brantley.

Nickelberry is the lone double figure scorer returning from last year. He is a capable scorer but doesn't really provide much else on the court. Last season, he took nearly 60% of his shots from deep and made them at a respectable 36%.

Brickus is a good facilitator, having led the team with 3.3 assists per game last year. The only spot on the floor where he really lives up to his name is at the FT line where he shot just 65% last season. He too shot 36% from deep which made up roughly half of his shot attempts. That number is up to a team-best 43% from 3 this year.

Brantley was not as proficient a shooter as Nickelberry and Brickus, but somehow his game intrigued me the most of the three last year itself. He is a good on-ball defender and gives Dunphy lineup flexibility as a guy who can play on or off the ball. I'm not surprised he's leading the team in scoring and assists this year, although his efficiency still hasn't really improved. We will hopefully not be killed by his dribble penetration.

La Salle is not singly reliant on any one guy above which will make them a tougher guard, especially at their place. Hopefully we are able to change things up when inevitably at least one of the three has a good shooting game.

Also returning for the Explorers are DC native Anwar Gill, former GW target Daeshon Shepherd, and Rutgers transfer Mamadou Doucouré.

Gill won't wow you with his scoring or efficiency shooting the ball, but just does all the little things well. He will rebound the ball, defend multiple positions, and can play complementary playmaker in the halfcourt.

Shepherd was a guy I thought should have played more last year itself. On an Explorer team that isn't particularly offensively-inclined, he is a guy who can really score the ball at all three levels.

Doucouré may start, but isn't particularly an offensive threat on the court. He's a good rebounder in limited time and may give them a bucket here and there. At the very least, he occupies a lot of space in the paint which can lead to missed shots as the opposition tries to finish over him.

Dunphy brought in brothers Fousseyni Drame and Hassan Drame from the feel-good story of last March, the St. Peter's Peacocks this offseason (not the last St. Peter's guy we'll face this year). Of the two, Fousseyni is the slightly better scorer, rebounder, and defender but both have the length to be disruptive defensively and rebound at high rates. Don't be surprised to see both let it fly from deep on the offensive end. You have to play the percentages - both guys shoot under 30% from 3 so you let them take those shots but if they are making them consistently we obviously have to change up the game plan.

Finally, redshirt freshman Andrés Marrero and true freshman Rokas Jocius will see some spot minutes from off the bench. Marrero is a smooth wing who has shot the ball well in limited time (37%) and provides lineup optionality. After seeing consistent minutes during OOC play his minutes dipped in conference until their past two games where he's averaged 8.5 ppg in 23.5 mpg. Jocius is the tallest guy on the roster at 6-10 - he is a strong finisher at the rim, rebounds, and will occasionally take a three. Jorge Sanchez-Ramos may see some emergency minutes here and there - he randomly played a lot of minutes against Davidson a couple games ago but has only scored 1 point in 5 games this season.

No road game is ever easy, and you know Dunphy will have his guys playing hard to make up for any shortages in talent. La Salle has played several A10 opponents close so I wouldn't be surprised if our game goes down to the wire as well. I personally think La Salle is better than their 262nd ranking in KenPom currently, but there won't be an easier opponent the rest of the way. Hopefully the good guys come out on top.

Projected Score: GW 76, La Salle 75. 55% chance to win (Bart Torvik). ESPN gives us a 42% chance to move to 6-3 in conference.


2/01/2023 11:09 am  #3

Re: GW vs LaSalle Game Thread

Another masterpiece by DMVPiranha.  Enjoyed the Brickus joke very much.

If you can regularly comment on only one topic on this site, it ought to be on these comprehensive previews.  La Salle happens to be one of those A10 teams that I am less familiar with than most others.  After reading this preview, I now have such a better idea of what to watch for.  DMVPiranha's efforts are tremendously appreciated.

Like Radford was for GW, I have to think that Howard will be returning the game next season at La Salle.  Also keep in mind that playing Howard, I am assuming but perhaps erroneously, is no longer the same drain on metrics than it used to historically be.

Does anyone remember what the A10 OOC scheduling policy was starting maybe 5 years ago give or take, and whether this is still in effect?  I know it had to do with eliminating or reducing "buy" games for all but the lowliest programs in the conference, with the intent being to not hamper the entire conference's metrics.


2/01/2023 1:42 pm  #4

Re: GW vs LaSalle Game Thread

If anyone is going to the game and would like to meet up, let me know. I’m up in Philadelphia for other reasons, and worked my scheduled to be able to go.

Last edited by BGF (2/01/2023 1:42 pm)


2/01/2023 2:00 pm  #5

Re: GW vs LaSalle Game Thread

I know the La Salle fans on Twitter are high on Rokas Jocius.  He's played like Chase Paar in A-10 play (and I think has been out with a concussion?) but had two good games in the OOC vs. Drexel and Temple.  As always, we need Dean, Lindo, and Brown to stay out of foul trouble.  



2/01/2023 2:22 pm  #6

Re: GW vs LaSalle Game Thread

The Drame brothers make me nervous (and a bit envious). Not lighting up the world, but they have at times, put up points and rebounds against some big name teams or A-10 opponents.
  As DMV in his always superb preview noted, they have not been shooting well from outside, but can let it fly (sounds familiar). Always worried about the next career high type game against GW, a tradition unlike any other, as Brickus seemed to have last year, according to DMV preview. Hopefully, if we leave them open from a difference, not a bad idea statistically, we won't pay for it karma-wise.
  The brothers were really tough, serviceable though not polished, inside players for their size in the tournament.
And we are very thin inside.



2/01/2023 7:11 pm  #7

Re: GW vs LaSalle Game Thread

As bad as Samuels has been playing, substituting him early for Lindo a good idea, as Ricky clearly did not seem ready to play.


2/01/2023 7:14 pm  #8

Re: GW vs LaSalle Game Thread

Could we have started the game any worse???


2/01/2023 7:14 pm  #9

Re: GW vs LaSalle Game Thread

The whole team begins playing bad. Let's start the game over.


2/01/2023 7:15 pm  #10

Re: GW vs LaSalle Game Thread

Turnover, turnover, turnover. down 13-5.


2/01/2023 7:16 pm  #11

Re: GW vs LaSalle Game Thread

Noel chimes in with his own turnover.


2/01/2023 7:18 pm  #12

Re: GW vs LaSalle Game Thread

Team is exhausted after 5 minutes.


2/01/2023 7:18 pm  #13

Re: GW vs LaSalle Game Thread

All unforced.


2/01/2023 7:20 pm  #14

Re: GW vs LaSalle Game Thread

14 possessions, 5 points.   And we hit a 3 on our first so we have 2 points in 13 possessions.  This is like what last year looked like. 

We need some energy and aggression.   We looks flat and passive.


2/01/2023 7:20 pm  #15

Re: GW vs LaSalle Game Thread

If I see one more Lindo three point attempt...


2/01/2023 7:22 pm  #16

Re: GW vs LaSalle Game Thread

zero energy, zero smarts


2/01/2023 7:22 pm  #17

Re: GW vs LaSalle Game Thread

What do you do when you get behind. Just give it to our 3 point specialist. Lindo. 17-5 sounds really good. 


2/01/2023 7:24 pm  #18

Re: GW vs LaSalle Game Thread

Why is Lindo keep trying 3's which he cant hit. Hey CC. What are you doing out there. Sleeping. 20-9.


2/01/2023 7:25 pm  #19

Re: GW vs LaSalle Game Thread

What is this hot fucking garbage?


2/01/2023 7:27 pm  #20

Re: GW vs LaSalle Game Thread

Lindo may be the worst of the group, but they are all stinking the court out, on both sides of the ball.


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