Enrique Carrasco, Editor
It has come to my humble attention that certain people are unhappy with what I have written in the past about a certain team on campus who went 15-19 (7-11 in conference) in the season and failed to make it out of the A-10 tournament. While I must admit that some of the comments I’ve made have been harsh, I have never made a statement that has not been true. My job as the editor for the sports section of The Collegian demands that I write about what I see and share it with the world. If the teams had not lost as many games and demonstrated their sub-par talent, I would’ve not written any of the articles I did. In other words: If you do not like my work, simply be better at the sport you have been playing for your entire life.
That being said, I believe it is important for the student body to hold our “representatives” (whether you like it or not, sports teams serve as representatives of our school) accountable for their shortcomings and failures. Just as I would expect one of y’all to hold me accountable for my articles, I hold others accountable for their mistakes. Without further ado, here is a recap of the Men’s basketball team’s horrific 15-19 season.
The basketball team was off to a putrid start against the Villanova Wildcats on the road. The (then ranked) no. 16 Wildcats were heavy favorites to win, coming from a spectacular 30-8 season where they made it to the Final Four of the March Madness tournament, where the eventual national champions, the University of Kansas, defeated them. On the other hand, the Explorers were coming off of a lousy 11-19 season under head coach Ashley Howard, whom Fran Dunphy replaced in the offseason. The Explorers were off to a terrible start, down 37-23 at halftime. At no point in the contest did the Explorers hold the lead, and Villanova was able to cruise into an easy 81-68 win over the Explorers.
However, this first losing streak was short-lived for the Explorers after they managed to beat out the Wagner Seahawks at home with a 77-69 win. This was the home opener for the Explorers and a crucial win for the squad.
The Explorers opened week two at home at the Tom Gola arena, where they faced off against (Division II) Queen’s University N.C for the play-in game of the Jersey Mikes Jamaica Classic. Unsurprisingly, the Explorers were able to beat this Division II basketball team and punched in their ticket to travel to Jamaica to continue playing.
The Explorers then traveled, via a private charter jet, to Jamaica (whilst the women’s basketball team traveled commercial to Alaska for a similar tournament). While in Jamaica, the Explorers faced off against Wake Forest University, whom they “surprisingly” lost 63-75 to. This loss placed the Explorers within the loser’s bracket. Whilst in the Loser’s bracket, the Explorers faced off against Georgetown University and “surprisingly” lost 62-69. This means the Explorers traveled (again, via private jet) to Jamaica and were unable to win a single game.
Weeks 3 and seven were, in my opinion, uneventful and, honestly, really boring to watch. The Explorers went 4-5 during these weeks, winning against Binghamton University, Penn (surprisingly), Bucknell, and Howard. The Explorers lost to Temple, Drexel, Cincinnati, Lafayette, and VCU.
The Explorers welcomed the New Year with a 77-75 OT win over Rhode Island at home. This win came from the backs of Sophomore Guard Khalil Brantley and Junior Guard Jhamir Brickus, who combined for a total of 42 points (29 and 13, respectively). This win put them at 1-1 in A-10 games. After this, the Explorers traveled to Massachusetts, where they barely managed to beat UMASS 78-77.
This win streak was short-lived, however, after the Explorers managed to lose five separate games in a row, losing to Fordham, Saint Josephs, Saint Louis, Davidson, and Rhode Island, whom they lost to after a missed dunk from Josh Nickleberry allowed the Explorers to lose by 2 points. I suggest reading more by reading my previous article Sports Commentary: Late Missed Dunk Costs Explorers the Win Over Rhode Island.
Weeks?? (I honestly ran out of inspiration to continue writing the article at this point and no longer wish to count weeks) aka the rest of the season
The Explorer’s losing streak came to an end after defeating George Washington at home. The Explorers used this momentum to go on a five-game winning streak. Defeating St Josephs, St. Bonaventure, Massachusetts (again), and Richmond.
However, this winning streak came to an end after losing to George Mason 66-70. The Explorers then went off to lose every game left in their season, losing to Duquesne, George Washington, Dayton, and the 10-20 (4-14 in conference) Loyola Chicago during their own senior night. The Explorers were unable to defeat a 4-14 team at home for Senior Night. Let that sink in.
A-10 tournament run
In the first round of the A-10 tournament, the Explorers faced off against Rhode Island University for what would be the third time these two teams met this season. The Explorers were able to outperform their previous A-10 tournament runs, finally making it out of the first round of the tournament. In the second round, the Explorers faced off against Duquesne, whom they managed to defeat 81-70. Their Cinderella run was cut short by the #3 team in the A-10’s, Fordham University, who easily defeated the Explorers 61-69. The Explorers reached the quarter-finals of the A-10 tournament for the first time since the 2015 season.
So that their entire season is perfectly recapped for your enjoyment and satisfaction. Although outperforming their previous performances, the team failed to live up to expectations. The team played sub-par against teams with low-level talent and was wiped out by nationally ranked teams. The team failed to create any kind of momentum and even failed to have a winning season. Why should we celebrate the fact that the team reached the quarter-finals? Is their one and only job not to win games? Do they not practice week in and week out in order to win and still fail to do so? The basketball team is able to convince everyone that they are accomplishing something but fail to make any kind of postseason run. Players are putting up numbers but are failing to win games. The fact that this is La Salle’s best season since 2015 despite the team failing to be above .500 speaks volumes about the ineptness and incompetence of the athletic department and the players on the basketball team.
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