Jekyll & Hyde Explorers Edge Bison

La Salle lost a double digit lead for the fourth time this season in just its sixth game but managed to hold on and beat Bucknell 68-65 at Tom Gola arena. The Explorers were led by Kimmani Barrett's 15 points while Rodney Green chipped in 11 points.

Coming into this game La Salle was the heavy favorite against a rebuilding Bucknell Bison squad which was far removed from the glory days of NCAA tournament quality. The Explorers started out fast behind the improved Kimmani Barrett and his new found perimeter skills and some high energy play from 6"8 sophomore forward Terrell Williams. A surprise starter for foul-prone big man Vernon Goodridge, Williams scored 8 points on 4 for 6 shooting and used his length to get easy baskets against the smaller Bucknell lineup. La Salle would charge out to an 11-5 lead, but like other games this season, the offense would become stagnant from multiple turnovers and bad shot selection and the Bison quickly made it a game as Darryl Shazier and senior leader Justin Castleberry would hurt the Explorers from the perimeter and cut La Salle's lead down to three at halftime.

The second half has been both good and bad for La Salle this season. They usually play their best and sadly their worst basketball during these periods and sometimes in the same game. The Explorers would use an offensive surge from a wide array of players in the second half to push the lead as high as 16 points. Rodney Green began to get baskets in transition and off of steals, Yves Mekongo Mbala became more aggressive and attacked the basket which resulted in the traditional three point play, and Goodridge showed a low post game to score the basketball along the baseline. All of this surrounded a night in which the Explorers dominated Bucknell on the boards. That combination along with a more active defense allowed the Explorers to separate comfortably from the Bison.

While the Dr. Jekyll Explorers were enjoying a massive 16-2 run, Mr. Hyde was waiting to get into the game. At the 7:17 mark of the second half La Salle held the largest lead of the game. Then the inevitable started to happen as all of a sudden La Salle could not find the bottom of the basket which led to easy Bucknell transition baskets and wide open 3 point shots off of their transition game. Castleberry would do most of the damage draining five on the night. Barrett would help the Explorers weather the Bison charge by nailing three out of four free throws in the final thirty seconds to ensure La Salle's third victory of the season.

Three Stars of the Game:

Third Star: Vernon Goodridge
Second Star: Yves Mekongo Mbala
First Star: Kimmani Barrett

ExplorerHoopReport Most Valuable Player Award Standings for the Season

Kimmani Barrett – 9 points
Rodney Green – 7 points
Yves Mekongo Mbala – 7 points
Vernon Goodridge – 5 points
Jerrell Williams – 5 points
Ruben Guillandeaux – 2 points
Paul Johnson – 1 point

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