Scouting Report: St. Francis ( PA)

La Salle takes on its second Northeast Conference foe traveling to DeGol Arena in Loretto, PA to take on the Red Flash of St. Francis, PA. The Red Flash are coming off a big win versus fellow Atlantic 10 school St. Bonaventure. What can Explorer fans expect from the improving Red Flash? What are some of the key match-ups for this contest?

Projected Starters:

5 Chris Berry 6"4 SO. F
23 Bassirou Dieng 6"9 SO. F
21 J.R. Enright 6"10 SR. C
1 Devin Sweetney 6"4 FR. G
15 Cale Nelson 5"10 SO. G

The Red Flash is coming off an impressive 76-54 victory over St. Bonaventure this past Monday night. Freshman Devin Sweetney and sophomore Cale Nelson led the way as the Red Flash jumped out to a 10-0 lead and never looked back. The Red Flash were picked to finish last in the Northeast Conference behind Mount St. Mary's, who La Salle defeated last week, but they have not played like it. Fueled by an influx of experienced talent like Chris Berry, a transfer from JUCO powerhouse Lon Morris, and the sweet shooting transfer Nelson, and big man Bassirou Dieng who transferred in from Norfolk State. Add Sweetney, the cousin of NBA player and former Georgetown Hoya Michael Sweetney, to go along with talented returnees J.R Enright and Jelani Lawrence and it all adds up to a deeper and more talented squad than the one who visited Gola Arena last season.

The Explorers concern should be the 6"10 J.R. Enright. Enright scored 19 points on La Salle's frontline last season which included Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, Steven Smith. He will have a huge size advantage on this year's Explorer frontline, one which has not been very sturdy defensively this season. Enright will most likely play catch with the talented duo of Sweetney and Nelson and form an inside-outside scoring attack against the Explorers.

On the other hand, La Salle will bring much more size in the backcourt which may give the smaller St. Francis guards some trouble. La Salle is beginning to find 5 players from a young squad to be the steady force needed to calm the young team down in key situations. Darnell Harris, Rodney Green, Yves Mekongo-Mbala look to be three of those 5 players. Up and Down play from the rest of the roster has Coach John Giannini searching for a combination of players to join the other three players on the floor.

The keys to the game are defending Enright and the Red Flash's ability to shoot the three pointers. Rebounding and keeping St. Francis off the boards and denying second chance opportunities. Reducing turnovers on offense, like they did in the second half against Howard. Defense is they key. If they can defend well they can walk away from DeGol Arena with a victory. If they don't it will be a long bus trip home for the Young Explorers with a week to think about it.

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