First it was Dayton, then it was Richmond, and now it is Saint Louis. Time and again La Salle University has worked to bust the NCAA at large bids of the best teams in the Atlantic 10 conference. Tonight it was Saint Louis’s turn, as the La Salle Explorers defeated the Covid recovering Billikens, 82-75.
The La Salle Explorers were led by Guard David Beatty who finished the game with 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 assist. In addition to Beatty’s performance, La Salle also had help from Guard Sherif Kenney who has emerged as a consistent scoring option for the Explorers. Kenney scored 17 points with 13 of them coming exclusively from the free throw line.
On the other side of the ball, Javonte Perkins led the scoring effort for the Saint Louis Billikens. Perkins finished the game with 13 points, 3 steals, 2 blocks, and 2 rebounds. In addition to Perkin’s contribution, Jordan Goodwin also helped Saint Louis by scoring 12 points and grabbing 6 total rebounds.
Can Saint Louis Catch a Break?
I have been a guest on the A10 Talk podcast for the past few weeks. During the show I gone on the record saying that the Saint Louis’s Covid pause had me worried. I was afraid that the team’s extended period off would affect the sharpness of their play. Unfortunately, I think my fears became a reality last night. While the loss against a rising Dayton wasn’t terrible, a second loss to La Salle does not help SLU’s at-large bid hopes.
However, I do not think the Billikens’ hopes are out the window. First, the Billikens need to find their basketball rhythm. Shooting 21% from three, as they did last night, is not going to lead to wins. This team needs to find its footing and get back into basketball shape.
Secondly, if SLU can win out the rest of the season, and schedule a makeup game with Saint Bonaventure, there is a high probability that the Billikens will play their way into March.
La Salle Keeps Rolling
La Salle basketball is still missing “the guy” who can help take over games. However, finding someone like that doesn’t happen in the middle of the season, it happens during the recruiting calendar. The only fix available to the Explorers right now is to have an existing team member step up as a leader.
Luckily, Sherif Kenney is doing just that. Over his past four games, three of them have been +17 scoring performances. If Kenney can play this way every night, La Salle poses a serious threat to play their way to a Saturday game of the A10 Tournament. The Explorers bench depth is no joke, and their defense keeps all opponents within striking distance. If La Salle can find consistent scoring, no one in the conference will be safe.
Like the coverage and want more? Make sure to follow me on twitter @Jelly_Morelli and check out my podcast “Tony’s Takes” on Apple iTunes and YouTube.