Game 26 Preview: Rhode Island Rams vs La Salle Explorers

With only four games left in the season, the Rhode Island Rams look to close things out on a positive note. Rhody is back at the Ryan Center tomorrow afternoon to take on one of the better teams in the Atlantic 10. URI is three games back of the St. Bonaventure Bonnies for the 12th and final spot in the A-10 Tournament, so things don’t look very promising on that front. But the Rams continue to play with supreme effort game in and game out, and fans can watch some of the young guns continue to improve. Here’s a peek at tomorrow’s opponent:

La Salle University
Mascot: Explorers
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Conference: Atlantic 10
2012-13 Record: 18-7 (8-4)

The Explorers sit in fourth place in the A-10, poised for a first round bye when they get to Brooklyn. John Giannini’s club recorded their two biggest wins in the same week, topping Butler then VCU and opening eyes around the league. La Salle has also topped Villanova, Iona, Richmond and Dayton en route to their 18 wins so far. They’re coming off a 83-74 loss at Temple in which the Owls ran off 18 straight points late in the first half to essentially put the game away.

Projected Starting Lineups

La Salle
G: Ramon Galloway, Sr, #55, 6’3″, 180
G: Tyreek Duren, Jr, #3, 6’0″, 185
G: Sam Mills, Jr, #10, 6’2″, 200
G: D.J. Peterson, So, #1, 6’5″, 190
F: Jerrell Wright, So, #25, 6’8″, 240

Rhode Island
G: Mike Powell, So, #1, 5’11″, 175
G: Xavier Munford, Jr, #5, 6’2″, 180
G: Andre Malone, Sr, #12, 6’6″, 210
F: Nikola Malesevic, Sr, #23, 6’7″, 200
C: Jordan Hare, Fr, #4, 6’10″, 205

The Explorers are led by A-10 Player of the Year candidate Ramon Galloway. The senior passed Xavier Munford this week to become the league’s second leading scorer, averaging 17.3 points per game. He has scored in double-figures in all but three games for La Salle this season. Besides the points, Galloway also leads his squad with 3.8 assists per game, and is third in rebounds with 4.8. He’s coming off a double-double last time out against Temple, dropping 18 points and grabbing 10 boards from the guard position. Galloway is truly an outstanding all-around player, and Rhody’s guards are going to have their hands full trying to contain him.

La Salle can certainly score in bunches, but they don’t rebound the ball particularly well, which could work out to URI’s advantage. Dr. Giannini will often go small, as evidence by the four guards that are routinely in the starting lineup. The Explorers have only two players that average over five rebounds a game, and their leading rebounder (Steve Zack) comes off the bench. This likely puts the onus on Mike Aaman to do work on the glass in order to keep Rhody competitive in the rebounding department. La Salle has come up short in the battle on the boards in all but one of their losses.

This will no doubt be a difficult game for the Rams, but if they can turn their offensive woes around they can give themselves a chance in this one. If Rhody can control the glass and contain Galloway and La Salle’s other offensive threats, they could come away with the fourth conference win. And hey, they’re not mathematically eliminated from the A-10 Tourney just yet. URI will definitely need some help, but if they can grab a win tomorrow…we’ll see. GO RHODY!

Tags: Basketball La Salle Explorers Rhode Island Rams

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