La Salle suffers 82-74 setback to No. 20 Northwestern

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. – The La Salle University men’s basketball team (3-1) suffered its first setback of the season on Saturday afternoon, falling to No. 20 Northwestern, 82-74, at the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament.

Senior B.J. Johnson scored a game-high 22 points for the Explorers, marking the third straight game that the 6-7 forward has eclipsed the 20-point plateau. Bryant McIntosh led the Wildcats (3-1) with 21 points and added seven assists.

“They’re a really good team, and it’s always hard to play a really good team after a loss,” head coach Dr. John Giannini said of Northwestern, who dropped its first game of the year on Wednesday to Creighton. “I think we showed tremendous heart in the second half. I just think we were too deep in a hole and we just didn’t have enough left in the tank.”

La Salle trailed by as many as 26 points before mounting a rally to pull within striking distance. A dunk and layup from Johnson capped a 12-0 spurt over a span of just 2:28 to drop the deficit to 52-38 with 16:06 on the clock.

Just over three minutes later, graduate student Amar Stukes converted a layup and Johnson scored four straight to cut the Northwestern lead to just eight at 59-51 with 11:50 remaining.

Another jumper from Johnson at the 8:38 mark put the score at 64-57, but that is as close as La Salle would get as McIntosh drained a three on the next possession and the margin remained in double figures for the duration of the game.

Northwestern went 12-for-21 (57.1%) from three-point range while the Explorers shot 5-for-21 (23.8%). La Salle did have a quality second half on the offensive end, scoring 50 points on 67.9 percent shooting.

The Explorers conclude play at the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament on Sunday, Nov. 19 against Boston College. The game will air live nationally on ESPN2, beginning at 3:00 p.m.

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