Andrew Albert (@andrewjalbert01)
The La Salle basketball team has been known for its guards. From Tyreek Duren, the hero of the 77-74 overtime win over Villanova, to Ramon Galloway and Sam Mills, the Explorers have a plethora of talent at the guard position.
The same cam be said for the Rider Broncs, who utilize their own trio of guards to get the job done.
The Broncs showcase a three headed monster of guards in Nurideen Lindsey, Jonathon Thompsonand Anthony Myles that are all averaging 11 points per game or more.
“They are a completely different team in the way that they look (from last year),” Dr. John Giannini told CoBL on Wednesday. “Nurideen Lindsey has given them another high level guard. Their two other guards, Thompson and Myles are having great years. The three of them together are very formidable.”
“They are all big, athletic and skills. I think they are a very good team. I think that they have an inside-outside balance. And in college basketball the importance of good guards is by far the biggest thing, and they have multiple good guards. They are pressing, they are playing with good energy. They are big athletic too. They have A-10 size. They are a very good team.”
Rider has won their last two games including a 74-60 victory over University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, in which Myles led the team with 14 points and six rebounds.
“It is going to be a real hard game for us, but we have a real good team and you are supposed to be challenged,” Giannini said. “This is a real strong challenge, and probably a much bigger challenge than people realize.”
A big piece for Rider, who will try to play the role of spoilers, comes in the form of Lindsey, who played his high school ball at Overbrook High School in Philadelphia. Lindsey, who leads the Broncs in scoring at 15.6 points per game, has had a rather unusual route to Rider.
The 6-foot-3 guard originally committed to La Salle in 2007, but could not fulfill his commitment as he dropped out of Overbrook High. From there, he earned his GED, and enrolled in a community college in Oklahoma. He committed to play at St. Johns, and he saw action in nine game last season before transferring to Rider.
Alongside of Lindsey at guard is Thompson, who offers an advantage in rebounding. While he is just 6-foot-4, he is averaging just about five rebounds per game for the Broncs, which ranks second on the team.
“We box out. We don’t care who we are going up against,” Giannini said. “You are supposed to box out when the other team takes a shot so a guy like Thompson makes it imperative that you do because him and Stewart will really hurt you if you don’t keep him off the glass.”
The Explorers will have to hold the rebounding advantage if they want to take down the Broncos at home. La Salle has only out-rebounded their opponent in two games this season. Yet, both of La Salle’s forwards, Steve Zack and Jerrell Wright are averaging seven rebounds per game or more this season, with Zack leading the team with 7.5 per game.
Ramon Galloway, who scored 26 points in the win over Villanova, is the Explorers best rebounding guard, averaging 4.3 rebounds per contest. He, as well as the rest of the guard core will have to box out to keep the effective rebounding guards of Rider off the glass.
After their biggest win of the year so far, the Explorers are looking to keep the momentum going, and not fall victim to the “trap game.”
“Bob Knight used to say it is not who you play but when,” Giannini said during his press conference after the Villanova win. “You love to play teams after big wins. We are going to make sure that (beating Villanova) is not a negative effect. If you follow sports, you see a lot of people follow up a big win with a stinker. It happens all the time.”
Playing at Rider adds another dimension of difficulty for La Salle, as Alumni Gymnasium is a small, but raucous place to play.
“It is going to be very loud. It is going to be packed,” Giannini said. “I think over the years they have a great home court record. It is interesting, research has shown that it is not how big the crowd is, but how close they are to the floor, and how much of capacity you fill. They are right on top of you, it is loud, it is hot, it will feel like there are 10,000 people watching you because of the noise and the closeness of the fans.”