GW Hoops

You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?

1/24/2024 11:19 pm  #1

GW vs La Salle Game

14-5 GW off a narrow Quad 1 road game  loss to Richmond takes on La Salle next

La Salle is led by legendary Coach Fran Dunphy who has taken 17 teams to the NCAA tourney 

Does GW beat La Salle to improve to 15-5?

Predicted line?  rotation changes ?

Last edited by The Dude (1/25/2024 2:50 am)


1/26/2024 10:25 am  #2

Re: GW vs La Salle Game

La Salle Explorers

Date: Saturday January 27th, 2024
Time: 6:00 PM ET
Venue: Charles E. Smith Center
TV: Monumental Sports Network / ESPN+
Analytic Ranks: 226th (KenPom), 224th (EvanMiya), 208th (Haslametrics)
NET Ranking: 214th
2022-23 Record: 15-19, 7-11 (T-11th in A10)
2023-24 Projected Record: 14-17, 5-13 (14th in A10)

Head-to-Head: 27-18. The series has been split 2-2 in the 2020s following a four game win streak for GW from 2016 to 2019. Last year, GW took home the victory in Foggy Bottom, while La Salle held their own at Tom Gola.

In last year's 92-85 win in DC, GW went into halftime trailing by 2. It was a strange first half, as the Buff and Blue got out to an early 8-0 lead and held La Salle without a field goal for the first four minutes of the game and the final three minutes of the half. Unfortunately, the Explorers were getting pretty much whatever they wanted in the middle 13 minutes. Thankfully, La Salle had trouble stopping GW as well which kept things close.

GW ultimately pulled away in the second half, leading by 20 with three minutes to go but Dunphy refused to call things off. To their credit, LAS cut into the lead with five made threes in the final 1.5 minutes of the game. The Explorers finished with 13 made threes for the game - sounds familiar? On the other side, GW shot nearly 59% from the field, and 43% from 3 although they did not take too many shots from deep (just 14 attempts all night).

Four starters finished in double figures: JB (29 points, 9 assists), Hunter (21 points, 8 rebounds), Ricky (16 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks), and BA (15 points, 5 rebounds). Bench points went heavily in La Salle's favor, 42-4 as GW was dealing with a thin bench (our bench played 21 combined minutes  - I sometimes forget just how rough that situation was).

Offensive Efficiency: 187th (KenPom), 207th (EvanMiya), 189th (Haslametrics)
Defensive Efficiency: 272nd (KenPom), 252nd (EvanMiya), 238th (Haslametrics)
Pace: 232nd (KenPom), 219th (EvanMiya), 242nd (Haslametrics)
Roster Rank: 237th (EvanMiya)
Offensive Shot Quality Rank: 184th
Defensive Shot Quality Rank: 287th
Rim & 3 Rate: 79% (256th)

Strengths (2023-24 Season):
Opponent Steals Per Game - 4.7 SPG (T-10th)
3-PT Field Goals Attempted Per Game - 25.8 3PA (50th)
Field Goals Attempted Per Game - 62.2 FGA (53rd)
Opponent 3-PT Field Goals Attempted Per Game - 19.4 3PA (61st)
3-PT Field Goals Made Per Game - 8.6 3PM (T-70th)
Assists Per Game - 15 APG (T-89th)
Opponent 3-PT Field Goals Made Per Game - 6.7 3PM (T-113th)
Opponent Free Throw Percentage - 69.8% (116th)
Free Throw Percentage - 72.9% (117th)
Opponent Free Throws Made Per Game - 12.4 FTM (117th)

Weaknesses (2023-24 Season):
Rebounds Per Game - 34.3 RPG (265th)
Opponent Field Goals Made Per Game - 26.9 FGM (T-272nd)
Opponent Field Goal Percentage - 44.9% (274th)
Field Goal Percentage - 42.9% (278th)
Opponent Offensive Rebounds Per Game - 11.2 ORPG (T-278th)
Opponent 3-PT Field Goal Percentage - 34.8% (T-280th)
Defensive Rebounds Per Game - 24 DRPG (T-287th)
Free Throws Made Per Game - 11.7 FTM (T-294th)
Opponent Personal Fouls Per Game - 15.8 PF/G (T-295th)
Opponent Assists Per Game - 14.5 APG (T-305th)
Free Throws Attempted Per Game - 16.1 FTA (317th)
Opponent Rebounds Per Game - 38.4 RPG (T-321st)
Opponent Defensive Rebounds Per Game - 27.2 DRPG (323rd)

Key Returning Players:
Khalil Brantley (Junior; Bronx, NY) - 14.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 4.1 apg, 1.6 spg; 38% FG, 34% 3-PT, 75% FT per 33.7 mpg
      Last Season @ GW: 12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists; 4-17 FG, 2-5 3-PT, 2-4 FT in 37 minutes.

Jhamir Brickus (Senior; Coatesville, PA) - 9.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.2 spg; 47% FG, 38% 3-PT, 79% FT per 32.9 mpg
      Last Season @ GW: 7 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals; 3-8 FG, 1-3 3-PT in 36 minutes.

Anwar Gill (Senior; Washington, DC) - 7.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.3 apg; 45% FG, 28% 3-PT, 55% FT per 20.7 mpg
      Last Season @ GW: DNP (injury)

Daeshon Shepherd (Junior; Norristown, PA) - 6.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg; 49% FG, 27% 3-PT, 61% FT per 18.2 mpg
      Last Season @ GW: 14 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal; 5-10 FG, 1-3 3-PT, 3-5 FT in 21 minutes.

Key Losses:
Josh Nickelberry (Transferred to Florida State; Fayetteville, NC) - 10.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg; 41% FG, 40% 3-PT, 80% FT per 24.5 mpg
Fousseyni Drame (Transferred to Duquesne; Bamako, Mali) - 8.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1 spg; 43% FG, 26% 3-PT, 61% FT per 26 mpg
Hassan Drame (Transferred to Duquesne; Bamako, Mali) - 6.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1 spg; 37% FG, 31% 3-PT, 67% FT per 21.9 mpg

Key Transfers:
La Salle was unable to land any from the portal last offseason .

Six A10 programs saw coaching changes prior to last season. When it came to any discussion about this batch of new coaches in the A10, Archie Miller and Frank Martin often dominated most headlines. This was understandable to an extent - Miller had made the Elite Eight at a program within the same conference and Martin took South Carolina, a school that's always been more about football than basketball, to the Final Four. The fact that URI and UMass were able to land coaches of that caliber after several years of mediocrity provided excitement that the A10 was on the upswing.

Of course by the end of the year, both Miller and Martin's squads finished near the basement of the A10, only passing newcomer Loyola who struggled to find their footing in a new league. You can maybe make the argument that perhaps the rebuild job was tougher than anticipated at those two schools or that the two coaches did not correctly identify the talent needed (Martin's team also admittedly dealt with several key injuries) but that also takes away from the great job the other coaching newcomers did in their first year. Matt McKillop may be a bit of an exception given he took over for his dad but he also dealt with quite a bit of roster turnover and performed admirably.

Ultimately, Keith Urgo took home coach of the year honors in the league. CC did a hell of a job and was certainly in the running as well, but it was hard to overlook the Rams winning 20+ games for the first time in 32 years and what Urgo was able to do in the community to get fans to actually show up to games. There's always been the perception that Fordham has been the worst team in the league (cue the "Fordham too high" jokes), but is it also the worst job? Stadium published a chain of command for the league several years ago prior to Loyola joining the league (which I've referenced a few times here). It was a bit of a cop-out to place Fordham in a tie for last with one another school, but that school of course was La Salle.

When it comes to program history and admission requirements, La Salle may beat out Fordham (after all, they do have the national championship from 1954) but every other metric would likely either be a tossup or an advantage for the Rams. John Giannini, who's doing a pretty good job as a commentator now, had some really successful teams (notably the 2012-13 Sweet 16 squad) but saw his success start to fizzle out around 2015, which is the last time that La Salle finished above .500. Combine the lack of recent success with an endowment that's under 100 million (as of 2021 at least) and it's just an uphill battle for not just the sports programs, but the university as a whole. Earlier in the season, it was reported that La Salle had surpassed Temple in the NIL Space, which I find hard to believe given La Salle was basically inactive in the transfer portal last offseason (you can tack that on as another challenge for the school, although that's one that's challenging for most outside of the high-major ranks). On a more positive note, the school is renovating their arena which should add a bit more excitement for fans moving forward. As someone who does not care for the yellow hardwood at Tom Gola, hopefully the new design makes things look a bit more modern and fresh.

Following Ashley Howard's dismissal after four years that saw La Salle go a dismal 25-46 in league play over that time, it took time to fill the head coaching vacancy. Ultimately, Fran Dunphy saw an opportunity to give back to his alma mater and took the job as somewhat of a short-term solution. Urgo may have won coach of the year, but given the circumstances Dunphy deserved an award of his own leading La Salle to six conference wins with a roster that was worse than most. Just reading some of his quotes shortly after he was hired, I don't know how anyone can root against him:

"I didn't think it would happen like this, but there's only one place where it would have happened, and that's La Salle," he said. "I appreciate their confidence that I could help. I'm doing a good job, then let me know. If it's time for somebody else to do it, that'll be OK, too."

Dunphy was happy in retirement and wasn't sure he wanted to return to coaching -- even at La Salle -- until "that last ask, I said, 'OK, I'll try my best.'"

There are certainly major questions as to what the program will look like once Dunphy decides to hang it up. Dunphy, who is now 75, is currently the third oldest coach in D1 following the midseason retirement of Cliff Ellis at Coastal Carolina (speaking of CCU, did Bray get suspended again?). Only Dan D'Antoni (Marshall) and Leonard Hamilton (Florida State) are listed as being older. It's interesting that Josh Nickelberry went from one 75 year old coach to another this year. His departure was a tough one for the Explorers, as he accounted for nearly a third of their three point makes and shot a team best 40% from distance.

What Dunphy does give La Salle is the ability to compete on any given night. By all accounts, the players on the team love him with the way they show up to play with maximum effort. There's no denying his coaching ability - La Salle's win over Coppin State earlier in the year marked Dunphy's 600th win as head coach. According to this list, only 122 coaches across all levels of NCAA/NAIA have hit that mark prior to this season (and just 43 have done it at the D1 level). That's incredibly impressive and shows that regardless of NIL and recruiting challenges, coaching still matters a great deal. La Salle may be picked at the bottom most years, but as long as Dunphy is around you can guarantee that the Explorers will over-perform.

While La Salle did not utilize the transfer portal last offseason, they have enough pieces returning to remain feisty heading into this year. Khalil Brantley and Jhamir Brickus are back for another year and form one of the best backcourts in the A10 although most of the media tends to overlook them.

Brantley was the catalyst for pretty much anything La Salle did last season, as he paced the team in points, assists, and steals while also ranking second on the team in rebounding at 6'1". At times, he struggled to finish inside the arc but knocked down enough threes (34%) to keep defenses from completely sagging off him. He's scored 20+ in four games this season, but has already had more single-digit scoring performances (7) than he had all of last season (6) and is just 28% from 3 this season. Brantley has also shot under 40% from the field in La Salle's last five games so he enters the GW game on a bit of a cold streak. He will likely get his points but hopefully it continues to be due to volume going into tomorrow's game.

Brickus stands even shorter than Brantley (just 5'11") but he is just as disruptive defensively and is also a great passer (averages nearly 5 assists per game - leads the team this year). With Nickelberry out of the fold, Brickus is La Salle's best returning sniper. He only averaged about one make per game, but shot 38% from deep - that's up to 41% this year. Don't let his last name fool you - he put up 41 against Temple earlier in the year in a triple overtime loss. If I remember correctly, that was a game that La Salle should have won in a previous overtime had they fouled when up three. I think it was Settle (who chose the Owls over us in the offseason) who ended up making the three to force an additional overtime.

Also returning are Anwar Gill and Daeshon Shepherd. Both players can score inside and out to divert some attention away from the killer "b's" Brantley and Brickus.

Gill missed last year's game in Foggy Bottom, so you know he's going to be amped up to play in front of his family in DC. He made his return on Tuesday against Dayton after being sidelined nearly three weeks due to an ankle injury. Gill is not much of a three point shooter - he's a career 27% from distance - but is another guy who can pass, rebound, and defend at a high clip. Although he's just 6'4", he often plays one of the forward positions with Brantley and Brickus in the backcourt. On the year, he is averaging a career best 10.5 ppg while also shooting a career best 80% from the FT line.

Shepherd, a former GW target, is arguably the most dynamic player on the roster. He entered the transfer portal early in the offseason before ultimately opting to return to La Salle. Like Gill, he doesn't shoot it great from distance (career 28%, and just 1/16 in his past four games) but he will attack the hoop as both a scorer and rebounder. It will be important to box him out as he can sneak up on teams that are asleep at the wheel on the boards.

There are definitely questions about height down low on this roster as twins Fousseyni Drame and Hassan Drame opted to go across the state to conference foe Duquesne and Mamadou Doucoure graduated. Rokas Jocius is the tallest player on the roster at 6'10". The native of Lithuania (one of seven international players on the roster) shot the ball well from the field and even went 5/13 from 3 (although he's just 25% this year). To his credit as well, he did not foul out of a single game last year which is impressive even if he only saw 15 minutes or so per game. Jocius has upped his scoring and rebounding numbers from last year but is still shooting under 50% from the FT line. Obviously we don't want Stretch in foul trouble, but perhaps making him earn it from the line may be worthwhile given the numbers. Last year against GW, Jocius put up 10 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench.

The final notable returner from last year is Andrés Marrero, a sharpshooter from Venezuela. While he only saw around 11 mpg lsat year, Marrero took over half his shots from 3 and made 36% of his attempts. He has received twice as many minutes this year compared to last and is averaging roughly 9 ppg while shooting 41% from 3. Nearly 80% of his attempts are from 3, so you know what he's looking to do when on the court. In fact, he' s only shooting 33% from inside the arc so running him off the line and forcing him to adjust will be crucial. He only scored 5 points in last year's meeting in Foggy Bottom, but I'd expect him to be more of a factor this year.

Outside of the six core guys above from last year, expect Tunde Vahlberg Fasasi and Ryan Zan to play roles as well.

Fasasi, a native of Sweden and true freshman, was a guy that GW was recruiting for a bit. Like Marrero, he's another guy who is looking to shoot from distance as over 70% of his attempts have come from there and he's made 36% of shots on the year despite shooting under 40% from the field overall. GW should be able to find success against him if they can force him off the line. Fasasi has been starting since Gill got injured so it will be interesting to see whether that continues as Gill works his way back.

Zan redshirted last year but he has seen his minutes go up during conference play with his ability to shoot the ball (he also entered the starting lineup in place of Jocius following La Salle's loss to Howard to close OOC play). That may not be apparent by his 31% shooting from distance, but he is very efficient from inside the arc. From whatever I've watched of La Salle this year, he is borderline automatic from the midrange so closing out on his jumpers will be crucial.

Coming off two tough losses on the road, I doubt GW will be looking past La Salle but the defensive effort will have to be better. Brickus, Marrero, and Fasasi can all shoot it at a high clip, and that's not including anyone else who may get hot if GW leaves them open. La Salle takes a ton of threes, so I'm interested to see how CC adjusts from the last game. They also do a decent job contesting the three themselves while not fouling too much (seems like another low FT shooting game until the refs decide to call things close).

While La Salle is very good at moving the ball on offense to find the open man without turning the ball over, they also allow opponents to run their plays without much opposition and make shots at a high clip. GW has not been very good at moving the ball for much of the season despite good shooting numbers. This is a good game to aim for 15 assists as a team. Rebounding should be in GW's favor with the height advantage but the team will still need to box out. La Salle will certainly come in with energy and GW will need to match that.

Projected Score: GW 81, La Salle 74. 73% chance to win (KenPom). ESPN gives us 65% chance to move to 4-3 in conference.


1/27/2024 5:50 pm  #3

Re: GW vs La Salle Game

So…the speakers in the Smith Center are fixed.  Too loud, but fixed.

Last edited by BGF (1/27/2024 5:50 pm)


1/27/2024 6:16 pm  #4

Re: GW vs La Salle Game

3-14 sounds good


1/27/2024 6:19 pm  #5

Re: GW vs La Salle Game

We’re watching some bad basketball right now, on both ends.


1/27/2024 6:20 pm  #6

Re: GW vs La Salle Game

And both teams


1/27/2024 6:22 pm  #7

Re: GW vs La Salle Game

No ESPN+. Will not come up.


1/27/2024 6:23 pm  #8

Re: GW vs La Salle Game

I’m watching


1/27/2024 6:24 pm  #9

Re: GW vs La Salle Game

Tennessee Colonial wrote:

No ESPN+. Will not come up.

You should count your blessings.


1/27/2024 6:34 pm  #10

Re: GW vs La Salle Game

Every team we play hits well from 3. 


1/27/2024 6:37 pm  #11

Re: GW vs La Salle Game

Hitting 3's for opponents is like us making layups. 50% for LaSalle. 


1/27/2024 6:53 pm  #12

Re: GW vs La Salle Game

Not sure we could play worse than we are. Lucky to be only 4 behind.


1/27/2024 6:59 pm  #13

Re: GW vs La Salle Game

We are a little flat tonight.

Love watching the defense from our freshman.


1/27/2024 7:02 pm  #14

Re: GW vs La Salle Game

Not a good half, but we just need to do in the second half what our last two opponents did to us. Protect home court.


1/27/2024 7:03 pm  #15

Re: GW vs La Salle Game

Everyone liked right the Dora’s half. We are better  this.  Knick down a couple of ion looks and defend Brantley better and we will be ok. O


1/27/2024 7:13 pm  #16

Re: GW vs La Salle Game

No better so far this half. Hard to see how we can win this.


1/27/2024 7:14 pm  #17

Re: GW vs La Salle Game

We are again demonstrating a lack of composure when things start heading south.  And my god, what is going. With Max?


1/27/2024 7:15 pm  #18

Re: GW vs La Salle Game

Came out like gangbusters in 2nd half. LaSalle I mean. Must have been a good 1/2 time talk.


1/27/2024 7:24 pm  #19

Re: GW vs La Salle Game

We just look lost and confused


1/27/2024 7:24 pm  #20

Re: GW vs La Salle Game

56-47. No D on this team. How is Tennessee doing?


Board footera


Powered by Boardhost. Create a Free Forum