Explorers seek upset of eighth-ranked Cavaliers

Nov 28, 2014 - 4:41 PM Brooklyn, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The second contest of the night played at the Barclays Center will feature the LaSalle Explorers taking on the eighth- ranked Virginia Cavaliers in a non-conference tilt as part of the Barclays Center Classic.

LaSalle has opened its season up beautifully, entering this game with a 4-0 record. The Explorers downed Colgate and Quinnipiac to start the season, then defeated Saint Peter's (59-50) and St. Francis-Brooklyn (73-60) in consecutive games headed into the Brooklyn.

The Cavaliers, who were ranked as a one-seed last season in the NCAA Tournament, are already 5-0 to start this campaign. The Cavaliers have played four home games, but won their season opener against James Madison, 79-51, on the road. Virginia defeated Tennessee State, 79-36, in its last outing.

These two programs have only met twice on the court in their series history, with both contests going to the Explorers. The last game that was played between these programs, however, took place during the 1958 campaign.

LaSalle dominated St. Francis-Brooklyn in the team's most recent outing, and led by 11 points headed into the intermission alone. The Explorers connected on 46.6 percent of their shot attempts in the game, and were led by an outstanding 30-point, seven-assists performance by Jordan Price. Jerrell Wright chipped in with 19 points and nine rebounds, and Steve Zack notched a double-double with 14 points and 12 boards. LaSalle grabbed 44 rebounds as a team in the contest, and netted 42 points in the paint with 23 points coming off of St. Francis-Brooklyn turnovers.

LaSalle hasn't been known as an offensive squad this season, as the Explorers enter the contest with Virginia netting 62.3 points per outing. But the team has been stellar on the defensive end, holding opponents to 55.0 ppg and just 33 percent shooting from the floor. Price leads the team with a 19.3 ppg average, adding in a team-best 3.0 apg mark. Wright contributes 10.3 ppg as the only other LaSalle player to average double-digit points, and adds in 9.8 rpg to his stat line.

Speaking of teams founded on playing defense, Virginia allowed Tennessee State to score just 36 points on 29.2 percent shooting in the Cavaliers' latest contest. Meanwhile Virginia's offense was on the mark against the Tigers, netting 51.7 percent of its shots and grabbing 49 rebounds with 18 second- chance points in the lopsided win. Justin Anderson led the way for the Cavs with 20 points, while Anthony Gill chipped in 16 points with nine rebounds. Mike Tobey notched a double-double with 13 points and a team-best 16 boards in the contest.

Defense is once again the highlight for Virginia, as the team enters the clash with LaSalle holding opponents to a meager 44.6 ppg average. That's not a good sign for the Explorers, who are barely surviving some of these contests offensively. Anderson leads the Cavaliers with a 16.8 ppg average, while Gill is second on the squad netting 11.8 ppg. Malcolm Brogdon is the third and final double-digit point scorer on the team, checking in with 10.8 ppg for the Cavs. Tobey's 7.8 rpg mark in the highest on the squad, and Brogdon's 15 assists is also a team best.

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