City Sports Report

La Salle Explorers Venture Onward; Look to Upset the Wildcats

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UMass needed to win four games in four days to make it to the NCAA, but Jordan Price wasn’t going to have any of that. The Minutemen’s season is now likely over.

Donte Clark did as much as he could for UMass down the stretch. He finished with 23 points, two shy of his career high. He had an efficient outing, shooting 9-16 from the field, 3-5 from downtown. The rest of the team didn’t fare quite as well, ending the game 4-18 from behind the arc.

“22 percent from three once again has been one of our achilles heels,” UMass Head Coach Derek Kellogg said. “We hit the boards pretty good, I thought forced some tempo.”

The Minutemen did hit the boards pretty good, out-rebounding the La Salle Explorers 43-38, 19 of them on the offensive glass. Despite the advantage, the Explorers won for just the sixth time in 17 games this year when being outrebounded.

When UMass couldn’t hit from three, they looked to bring a more physical approach to the paint. It was messy throng of arms and legs, slap fouls, and bodies falling to the floor, but they couldn’t seem to get the calls they needed to get to the line.

Cady Lalanne ended his senior campaign at UMass with an impressive stat line of 17 points and 16 rebounds. Unfortunately, it was the last game he and fellow senior Maxie Esho will play as Minutemen.

“Those guys have been special and really become part of our family, the UMass community,” Kellogg said. “I’m happy for those guys that they graduated, and now they can go train for the next part of their careers, which I think they will both be able to play somewhere professionally.”

While they will lose Esho and Lalanne, they have Donte Clark to build off of.

As for La Salle, the Explorers will look to upset no. 1 seeded Davidson, a feat not entirely uncommon considering where they find themselves seeded. History is in their favor as the winner of the 8/9 seed has gone on to upset the no. 1 seed in three of the last four seasons. But Davidson is new to the party. This is their first year as members of the Atlantic 10 conference, and they’ll likely look to make a fair amount of noise in their first A-10 Tournament.

“They won this league for a reason,” La Salle Head Coach John Giannini said of their matchup with Davidson. “I tell people, look at national college basketball. You look at how unbelievably great Virginia’s defense has been this year. Well, Davidson is like the offensive version of them.”

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