Enrique Carrasco, Editor
Men’s Basketball was off to a hot start in their season opener against Sacred Heart University in the Tom Gola Arena. At the end of the first half, the Explorers led the Sacred Heart Pioneers 30 to 26. Despite this lead, the Explorers allowed 19 unanswered points in the final six minutes of the second half, allowing the Pioneers to take the lead with two minutes left in the game. Despite this turn of events, the Explorers were able to mount a comeback late in the game and put themselves three points ahead of the Pioneers. After a missed free throw shot from the Explorers that would have put the game away for the Pioneers, the Pioneers were able to hit a buzzer-beating 3-point shot, sending the game into overtime. The Explorers failed to stop the Pioneers in overtime, allowing them to score 19 total points in only five minutes. Offensively, the Explorers heavily struggled to keep up with Pioneers, putting up only 14 points in overtime, effectively putting the game out of reach for the Explorers.
The real story behind the Explorers’ loss comes at the hands of all the missed free throws. Despite a Pioneer receiving a technical foul after slamming the ball against the floor, the Explorers failed to score a single free throw given to them from this foul. Throughout the entire game, the Explorers only scored six out of their 14 total free throws; in comparison, the Pioneers scored 11 out of their 16 free throws. These five extra scored free throws from the Pioneers managed to cement the loss for the Explorers.
Despite the at-home loss, the team put on a promising performance. The Explorers amounted to 15 out of 40 three-pointers made, and the defense managed to, at times, show that they were a real threat. The Explorers’ defense managed to come away with six steals, all of which resulted in points, as well as three shots being blocked. Junior guard Josh Nickelberry led the team in points, going 8-17 in field goals, but making zero of three free throws. Nickelberry finished the game with 22 total points and was a vital part of the Explorer’s offense.
Next up, the Explorers face off against the Albany Great Danes at their Homecoming game on Saturday, Nov. 13, at Tom Gola Arena. Make sure to come out and form a part of La Salle’s student section: the Explorer Entourage.