DePaul vs. LaSalle Game Preview previews Saturday's matchup between the DePaul Blue Demons and the LaSalle Explorers at the San Juan Shootout.

Key Information

DePaul Blue Demons vs. La Salle Explorers - Saturday, December 22nd, 4:30 p.m. (Central) – San Juan, Puerto Rico

Television – none

Radio – WSCR AM 670

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Game Preview

Like DePaul, La Salle is a private Catholic school located in an urban setting (Philadelphia) and has had a rich past basketball tradition. Players like Hall of Famer Tom Gola, Lionel "L-Train" Simmons, Rasual Butler, and Tim Legler have played for LaSalle. It is one of 17 schools that have won both an NCAA title (1954) and an NIT title.

In La Salle's last game before heading to Puerto Rico, they lost to Morgan State 93-87 in Baltimore. Darnell Harris had 25 points, including seven of 13 from beyond the three point line, while Yves Mekongo Mbala had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Coming into the San Juan Shootout, La Salle was 3-4. All of the games have been close, with the margin of victory no more than six points in any of the games.

Coach John Giannini is in his fourth year at La Salle. He has a pretty young team, but a squad that has most of their core players returning for a second year. Giannini is a Chicago native having attended Fenwick High School in Oak Park and North Central College in Naperville. He also served as a graduate assistant under Illinois coach Lou Henson from 1987-89.

In the San Juan Shootout opener against Division II Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, the Explorers rolled to a 117-86 victory. LaSalle had eight players finish in double figures. Freshmen Jerrell Williams (20 points) and Kyle Griffin (16 points) led the way with career highs.

In the second game against Ole Miss, the Explorers charged back from a 14 point deficit in the second half to take a 60-58 lead with 10 minutes to play. In the end, the Explorers came up short in the 84-77 loss to Mississippi. LaSalle had five players in double figures with sophomores Rodney Green and Yves Mekongo Mbala leading with 15 points apiece.

This LaSalle group is not big in size, but has a lot of athletes in the 6-4 to 6-8 range. Look for DePaul to counter with their size at the shooting guard and small forward positions as well.

The leading scorer for the Explorers is senior Darnell Harris, a 6-1 shooting guard, averaging 17 points per game. He is a three year starter who has scored more than 1,000 points in his career. Despite his small size, he's more comfortable as a shooting guard than as a point guard. 6-5 sophomore guard Rodney Green (11.6 PPG, 5.3 RPG) and 6-5 sophomore guard Ruben Guillandeaux (11.5 PPG, 4.5 APG) are the other main scoring options for La Salle. Ruben missed the first five games and was supposed to be looked at as being the point guard on the team. Up front, 6-7 sophomore Yves Mekongo-Mbala (6.9 RPG) and 6-6 junior forward Paul Johnson (5.3 RPG) provide the bulk of the rebounding.

Off the bench, 6-6 sophomore guard Kimmani Barrett (6.7 PPG), 6-4 senior forward Sherman Diaz (3.6 PPG), 6-3 freshman point guard Kyle Griffin, and 6-8 freshmen brothers Jerrell (7.3 PPG) and Terrell Williams provide quality depth. Jerrell Williams had been the starter while Guillandeaux was out.

Notes: Blue Demons freshman point guard Michael Bizoukas is not expected to play in San Juan due to illness. Bizoukas had been recovering from a bout with mononucleoisis.

Junior forward Matija Poscic sat out the first two games in San Juan with a hip pointer.

The Last Time

Overall, DePaul is 6-2 versus La Salle. The last time the two teams met was back in 1989, with DePaul losing 83-62 at the Rosemont Horizon to a great 30 win La Salle team with Lionel Simmons, Doug Overton and Randy Woods on the squad.

LaSalle Roster

NO NAME HT/WT POS Year Hometown Last School

0 Partin, Darryl 6-4/180 Guard FR Seattle, WA Charis Prep (NC)

2 Griffin, Kyle 6-3/185 Guard FR Allentown, PA Germantown Academy

3 Diaz, Sherman 6-5/190 Forward SR Diego Martin, Trinidad/Tobago Life Center Academy (NJ)

5 Barrett, Kimmani 6-6/190 Forward SO Paterson, NJ Paterson Catholic

10 Green, Rodney 6-5/190 Guard SO Philadelphia, PA Prep Charter

11 Harris, Darnell 6-1/165 Guard SR Baltimore, MD St. Frances

12 Mekongo Mbala, Yves 6-7/210 Forward SO Elizabeth, NJ St. Patrick's

20 Williams, Jerrell 6-8/210 Forward FR Paterson, NJ Northfield Mount Hermon

21 Williams, Terrell 6-8/210 Forward FR Paterson, NJ Northfield Mount Hermon

31 Johnson, Paul 6-6/195 Forward JR Washington, DC Gonzaga

34 Guillandeaux, Ruben 6-5/185 Guard SO Brooklyn, NY St. Patrick's

35 Cohen, Brad 6-3/200 Guard JR Voorhees, NJ Eastern Regional

42 Danish, Greg 5-10/160 Guard FR Nazareth, PA Nazareth

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