The Explorers, who were fortunate to escape with a victory after Penn missed game winning layups at the end of regulation and the first overtime, were led by senior forward BJ Johnson’s 20 points and 14 rebounds. The Syracuse transfer, who has been on professional scouts’ radars for some time, looked lost and frustrated by Penn sophomore AJ Brodeur’s physical defense. Despite the impressive 20 and 14 stat line, Johnson turned the ball over eight times, failed to garner a single assist, and fouled out with three minutes left in the second OT. La Salle fans must wonder what Johnson’s stat line will look like when he plays well.
Co-leading the charge for La Salle was junior guard Pookie Powell. The Memphis transfer used his quickness and guile to get into the lane and score at the rim finishing with 17 points and six rebounds. Sophomore guard Saul Phiri, who played just six minutes a game last year, played 47 minutes and finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
For the Quakers, Brodeur continued to impress, finishing with 12 points and seven rebounds. The 6-10 forward, who was named to the preseason All-Ivy Second Team, did an excellent job covering Johnson. Brodeur shot a surprising 6-of-7 from the line with a form that looks much improved from last season. Leading the Quakers in scoring was junior Max Rothschild and sophomore Ryan Betley. Rothschild posted his first double-double since his freshman year, while Betley increased his double-digit scoring streak to nine games.
The Quakers drop to 0-2 on the year and face Navy on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Explorers improve to 2-0 and face South Alabama at home on Thursday.
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