While their 99-90 double overtime loss to Manhattan on Saturday afternoon qualified as one of the best games of the opening weekend, the way in which the defeat occurred revealed a big issue for the La Salle Explorers. That issue was rebounding, with the Jaspers out-rebounding La Salle 51-33 and finishing the game with a staggering offensive rebounding percentage of 55.8%.
So entering their game on Tuesday morning against Quinnipiac, which has been one of the nation’s best rebounding teams in each of the last two seasons, it was clear that Dr. John Giannini’s team would need a better performance on the glass in order to avoid an 0-2 start. The Explorers were by no means dominant on the glass against the Bobcats but they held their own, breaking even (43-43) on their way to the 73-67 victory.
Tyreek Duren led four Explorers in double figures with 17 points, but shot selection is another area in which La Salle will need to improve as they inch closer to the start of Atlantic 10 play. To be fair that issue’s to be expected at this stage, with La Salle beginning the (in-game) process of adjusting to life without leading scorer Ramon Galloway.
Galloway, who averaged 17.2 points per game last season, factored into nearly 29% of La Salle’s possessions and posted a shot percentage of 28.9% per kenpom.com. Even with key contributors such as Duren, Tyrone Garland and Jerrell Wright back, that’s a significant personnel loss and it will take this group some time to adjust.
As for Quinnipiac, which moved from the NEC to the MAAC during the summer, rebounding will continue to be a strength for them with senior forward Ike Azotam (17 points, seven rebounds) leading the way. And in freshman Kasim Chandler (team-high 19 points), the Bobcats have a guard fans will certainly enjoy watching develop. But on Tuesday it was La Salle’s improved rebounding effort that carried the day, resulting in both teams moving to 1-1 on the season.