Courtesy of GoExplorers.com
READING, Pa. – The La Salle University men’s basketball team put together a strong defensive showing against the No. 11 team in the country, holding Miami (Fla.) to nearly 30 points below its season average. The Explorers (3-3) could not take advantage, however, struggling at the offensive end in a 57-46 loss to the Hurricanes (4-0) at Santander Arena on Wednesday evening.
Senior B.J. Johnson posted his fourth double-double of the season with 16 points and a career-high 16 rebounds for La Salle, who shot 28.8 percent from the field and failed to connect on a three-point attempt for the first time since March 6, 1989 (vs. Saint Peter’s – 843 games).
The first half was a physical battle that saw the two teams combine for 38 points on 13-for-55 (23.6%) shooting. Johnson and redshirt junior Pookie Powell led La Salle with six points apiece, while senior Tony Washington grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. The Explorers outrebounded Miami, 22-21, through the opening 20 minutes as they went into the locker room tied at 19-19.
A three-pointer from UM’s Sam Waardenberg pushed the Hurricanes in front by a 33-25 margin early in the second half, before La Salle responded with a run of its own. A jumper from senior Amar Stukes and an acrobatic tip-in from Johnson sparked an 8-0 spurt that tied the game at 33-all midway through the period.
The Explorers kept the margin within two possessions over the next five minutes, and Powell’s driving hoop put the score at 41-39 Hurricanes with just under five minutes left.
But Miami was able to gain some breathing room with 10 straight points that included a pair of three-pointers to extend the margin to 51-39 at the 2:57 mark. From there, the Hurricanes held La Salle at bay to extend their season-opening win streak to four.
Powell closed with a team-high 17 points for the Explorers, while Dewan Huell was the lone man in double figures for Miami with 16. Lonnie Walker, the Reading native that was playing in his home town a year after leading the city’s high school team to a state title, had five points and two assists.
La Salle looks to rebound on Sunday, Nov. 26, as it hosts Temple (3-0) for a Big 5 showdown at Tom Gola Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. and the game is set to air on NBC Sports Network.