WRITTEN BY BRAYN FONSECA
In what is likely to be their toughest challenge of the 2015-16 season, the St. Francis Terriers men’s basketball team (1-2) is on the road and ready to take on the (3-0) Louisville Cardinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Cardinals have begun the season with three consecutive blowout victories, outscoring their opponents 262-158 in the process. The Terriers lost by 16 points against the Saint Louis Billikens in their last outing, which was played on Saturday, November 21.
So far in the young season, the Terriers have struggled to consistently put points on the board. In their first three games of the season, the Terriers have only shot 39.3% from the field, and 57.8% from the free throw line.
However, the Terriers have shown the ability to hit from outside, nailing 29-of-85 (34.1%) from deep in their first three showings. This is a weapon that the Terriers will look to utilize in their showing against the bigger Louisville squad.
The Cardinals haven’t been through any adversity (on the court) to start the season, and have been able to handle their opposition with relative ease.
The 2013 National Champions are shooting 51.5% from the field to tip-off their 2015-16, campaign and the Cardinals have been much better than the Terriers at free throw shooting putting up a mark of 64.6%.
In the very early stages of the 2015-16 go-round, the Cardinals have been led by senior guard and Drexel transfer Damion Lee, as well as sophomore center and NBA prospect Chinanu Onuaku.
After averaging 21.4 points per game in his last year at Drexel, Lee has picked up right where he left off, leading the Cardinals with 18.7 points per contest, including a 24-point outburst against North Florida in his most recent showing.
The 6-foot-10 Onuaku is averaging 11.7 points and a team-high 7.7 rebounds so far, and has also been a force defensively by averaging 2.0 steals and 2.7 blocks per contest.
Onanku has been mocked as a late first-round selection for the upcoming 2016 NBA Draft by ESPN’s Chad Ford, and DraftExpress, and he’s also been ranked as a top prospect in the country.
The Terriers have gotten some solid production from their point guards thus far. Junior Yunus Hopkinson recently netted a career-high 25 points in the lone Terrier victory of the year. Sophomore Glenn Sanabria is averaging 10 points per game, and scored 11 and 14 points respectively in his most recent two contests.
The showdown between the Terriers and Cardinals will take place at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky.
The game will also be broadcasted live on ESPN 3 at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 24 2015.