La Salle (7-10 SU, 6-10-0 ATS, 10-6-0 O/U) at Duquesne (12-5 SU, 5-4-0 ATS, 1-8-0 O/U)
When and Where: Saturday, Jan. 13, A.J. Palumbo Center, Pittsburgh, Pa., 12:30 p.m. EST.
Line: La Salle -1.5
Duquesne looks to bounce back from its first conference loss and extend its home winning streak to nine games Saturday when it hosts La Salle.
Explorers looking to end a pair of losing streaks
La Salle (7-10, 1-3 Atlantic 10) has dropped four in a row on the road and three straight overall after an 86-79 overtime setback at Massachusetts on Wednesday night.
The recent swoon has coincided with leading scorer B.J. Johnson struggling to deal with an ankle injury. Johnson, who also leads the conference at 21.2 points per game, has missed four of the last five games with an ankle injury and is questionable for this game.
Pookie Powell tried to pick up the slack against the Minutemen, scoring a career-high 30 points, but he was trumped by Luwane Pipkins’ 44 points for UMass. Isiah Deas added 19 points and nine rebounds for La Salle, which shot just 35.1 percent in the second half and overtime.
Powell is averaging 18.7 points, but he has raised his game without Johnson, averaging 25.0 points in the last five games while shooting 50.5 percent and making 12 of 28 from 3-point range.
La Salle is last in the A-10 in defending the 3-point shot, with opponents hitting 39.0 percent from beyond the arc, and is 10th in the 14-team conference in scoring defense at 72.4 points per game allowed.
Dukes look for bounce back win and ninth straight home victory
Duquesne (12-5, 3-1) was knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten in conference play with a 78-67 loss at Virginia Commonwealth on Tuesday night that also snapped an overall three-game winning streak.
Mike Lewis II hit 6 of 11 from 3-point range and finished with 23 points for the Dukes, and Eric Williams Jr. added 16 points, but the rest of their teammates were a combined 11 of 31 as Duquesne shot 38.5 percent.
The 78 points allowed matched a season worst for the Dukes, who lead the A-10 in scoring defense at 62.5 points per game. They are 1-4 when allowing 70 or more points and 11-1 when holding opponents under that mark.
That stinginess has been apparent at the A.J. Palumbo Center, where the Dukes have held opponents to 56.6 points per game and 39.1 percent shooting during their eight-game run at home.
Lewis, who is hitting 38.6 percent of his 3-point attempts, leads Duquesne in scoring at 15.6 points per game while Williams is averaging 14.4 points. Those two, along with Rene-Castro Cannedy and Tarin Smith, have accounted for all but seven of the team’s 139 3-pointers.
Williams is averaging 9.5 rebounds to help the Dukes amass a plus-3.7 rebound margin.
La Salle is:
- 2-6 ATS in its last eight games as a favorite.
- 4-10 ATS in its last 14 games overall.
- 1-4 ATS in its last five games vs. Atlantic 10 opponents.
- 4-1 ATS in its last five games as an underdog between 0.5 and 6.5 points.
The Explorers won the only game between the teams last season, an 88-81 home victory as Johnson scored 18 points and Powell added 16 for La Salle. Castro-Cannedy went 5 of 7 from beyond the arc and finished with 19 for the Dukes, who have lost seven of the last eight between the teams.