Courtesy of La Salle Men’s Basketball
On Nov. 15, 2022, the La Salle Explorers were able to edge out Division II Queen’s University North Carolina to punch their ticket to the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic tournament. The La Salle Men’s basketball team then traveled to Jamaica on November 16, 2022, for a week full of practices and, if they were lucky, numerous different games. The Explorers failed once again to live up to their potential, being relegated to the consolation bracket after losing in the first round to Wake Forest. The Explorers then played Georgetown University for the loser’s bracket championship, where they managed to show why they were in the loser’s bracket, losing 69-62.
The first overseas game the Explorers (2-1) played was against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-0). The Explorers came into the game full of energy, as was evident with their 10-2 lead six minutes into the half, a lead that they achieved thanks to three-pointers coming from Senior Guard Josh Nickleberry and Senior transfer forward Hassan Drame. However, this lead was short lived, as the Demon Deacons were able to go on a 13-5 run against the Explorers, tying the game at 15 a piece. The Deacons and Explorers continued to trade point after point with one another, with the Deacons going on a 17-11 run to give them the lead. Despite this apparent setback, the Explorers were able to go on a 7-0 run against the Demons with only 1:30 left to play in the half. The Explorers were helped out by three pointers coming from Nickleberry and Sophomore Guard Khalil Brantley. The Deacons refused to go down without a fight however, and after a layup and a freethrow, were able to take the lead back from the Explorers at 35-33 heading into half time. The Explorers came out of half time with half the energy as the first, which showed in their game play. The Explorers managed to take the lead back 3 separate times during the second half, but were ultimately outscored 40-30 to finish the game at a 75-63 defeat. The Explorers shot an absolutely horrific 21-53 (39.6%) from field goals but somehow managed to make an impressive 11-26 (42.3%) of their three-pointers. It seems like the wonderful warm weather of Jamaica affected the men’s ability to play, as they played perfectly fine in the cold weather of Philadelphia.
The Men’s team was then relegated to the loser’s tournament bracket after their loss to Wake Forest, where they would face off against the Georgetown Hoyas for the consolation game of the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic tournament. The first half of play has to be single handedly the worst basketball I have seen from the Explorers in my short three years of being an Explorer. The Explorers were outscored 21-41 in the half, and the Hoyas carried all of the momentum. The Hoyas were running circles around the Men’s team, and looked like the vastly superior team all throughout the half. The Explorers however, refused to go down without a fight. The Explorers came out of half time full of the energy and motivation that they lacked in the first half, and were determined to bring themselves back into the game. The Explorers were able to go on an 11-4 run within the first 3:14 of the half. Junior Guard Jhamir Brickus was responsible for 9 out of 11 of those points, and was a pivotal part of the Explorer’s offense in the second half. The Hoyas tried to maintain control of the game, but the Explorers momentum was simply too much for them to handle. The Explorers went on a 28-8 run to tie the game at 62 all, with only 2:14 left in the game. The Hoyas however, were able to stop the Explorers charge, putting themselves up 64-62. After an Explorer defensive foul, the Deacons were able to sink both free throws, putting them up 66-62. The Explorers tried to bring themselves back into the game, but the point deficit they allowed in the first half was too much to handle, ultimately causing the Explorers to lose 69-62.
These two losses for the Explorers have to be detrimental to the team’s morale, especially after the small momentum they had gained after their back to back wins. The Explorers now sit at 2-3 in the season, with no conference games being played yet. The Explorers will face off against Binghamton at home, where the athletic department will do a trading card giveaway, an issue I will talk about in future articles. For now, the entire school is disappointed by the men’s basketball team and how much money the school is giving them, rather than literally anything else at this school.