Catholic School Showdown: Fordham At La Salle
- CoachingThere are small signs of progress at Fordham under Tom Pecora, now in his third year. But the Rams are still buried in the Atlantic 10 basement and are just 6-17 overall.John Giannini is in his ninth season. Last year was his most successful, as La Salle won 21 games and qualified for the NIT, but this season is looking even better: the Explorers, 5-3 in the conference with wins over Butler and VCU, are making their case for best team in the Philadelphia area.
- OffenseThe Rams average less than one point per possession, which places them in the bottom half of Division I. This is not surprising considering their best player, senior Chris Gaston, has missed half the season with a knee injury. Gaston, who has led the team in scoring and rebounding since he stepped foot on campus, has not played since Jan. 16.La Salle has four players in double digits, led by senior guard Ramon Galloway at 17 points per game. A 40 percent three-point shooter, Galloway netted 31 in an upset win at VCU.
- DefenseFordham has struggled defensively all season; the Rams have given up 171 points over the last two games. Only a handful of teams in the country are worse at forcing turnovers.The Explorers do a good job of not fouling and creating turnovers. Steve Zack, a 6’11” sophomore, is their leading rebounder at 6.6 per game.
- Bench DepthThe Rams still have decent depth despite Gaston’s injury and another reserve’s transfer earlier in the season. Freshman forward Ryan Rhoomes has given Fordham quality minutes off the bench lately.La Salle doesn’t have much depth, giving significant minutes to just seven players. The Explorers are particularly light in the frontcourt.
This is a game La Salle can’t afford to lose if it wants to move up in the A-10 standings. Fordham’s only two conference wins came at home against Duquesne and Rhode Island, schools with a combined 1-15 league record. -Andrew Kahn, College Basketball Contributor