Courtesy of La Salle Men’s Basketball
On Sat., Sept. 12, the (0-1) La Salle Explorers Men’s basketball team faced off against the (1-0) Wagner Seahawks in their homecoming game. The Explorers lost on the road against the nationally-ranked Villanova squad last week, and Fran Dunphy was looking to gain his first win as the Explorer’s head coach at home. Luckily for him, the Explorers were able to overcome the Seahawks and come away with the win.
The Explorers were off to a quick start at the beginning of the game, immediately putting pressure on the Seahawks. Senior Guard Josh Nickelberry and Senior Transfer Hassan Drame put up 5 points each within the first 10 minutes of the game, allowing the Explorers to get an early 19-8 lead over the seahawks. The Explorers continued this trend during the rest of the half and were able to go into half-time with a 39-26 lead. The Explorers made a statement at the end of the half, with a dunk coming from Senior transfer Fousseyni Drame. The Explorers went 15/30 (50%) on field goals and 3/9 on three-pointers (33%) in the half.
The Seahawks came out of the half with much more energy than in the first half. Within the first few minutes of the half, the Seahawks could lower the Explorer’s lead to only 5 points. The Explorers, however, would not allow this comeback to continue and answered with their own 3-pointer bringing the game into a media time-out. The explorers continued their momentum, bringing their lead to 51-40. The Explorer’s defense held the Seahawks for the rest of the game while the offense continued their momentum throughout. The Explorers went off to win the game 77-69. This win marked Fran Dunphy’s first-ever win as the head coach of the Explorers.
The Explorer offense has been off to an explosive start thus far this season. The Explorers scored an impressive 68 points against a nationally ranked team and showcased this at home with their win over Wagner. Sophomore Guard Khalil Brantley scored 22 points against Wagner, an impressive show of skill. Brantley seems to have flourished more under Fran Dunphy, and it’ll be interesting to follow his progress throughout the rest of the season. If the Explorers can continue to play games like this, many more wins will be coming to 20th and Olney, and hopefully, a bid to the 2023 NCAA Championship.