PHILADELPHIA, Pa. 3/6/2012 – College basketball in March is quite simple, just win. There are no style points, nothing to work on, just establish the will to win. That is what faced the LaSalle Explorers and Richmond Spiders at the Gola Arena. A win and move on to Atlantic City for the quarterfinal round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament for a game against second seeded Saint Louis. Lose and wait for a phone call that may or may not come. The LaSalle Explorers move on to Atlantic City beating Richmond 80 – 72. LaSalle Coach Dr. John Giannini knows advancing means a great deal to his team.
“Anytime you put yourself among the better teams in this league it’s a good thing,” Giannini said. “I don’t think people realize how good you have to be to be in the top half of this league. If you’re a good team in this league, you’re a good team nationally. You’ve got to be good just to get to Atlantic City. We’re excited.”
To get the win LaSalle needed to answer the scoring of Richmond guard Darien Brothers who scored a game-high 31 points. Brothers scored 22 in the first half. The task of defending Brothers fell to Junior guard Ramon Galloway. With the scoring of Brothers somewhat ‘contained’ late in the half the Explorers went into the locker room leading 40 – 33.
“He was carrying his team,” said Galloway. “We preach defense and I wanted to play him so bad. I didn’t want to lose this game. They let me guard him and put their trust in me.”
“I just tried to stay in front of him and not let him get open threes, make him drive. He hit a lot of threes early, and I thought if I made him drive it would make his shots tougher,”
The game had a back and forth nature to it. One run was answered by another. Finally, LaSalle went on a 21 – 7 run to take a 70 – 55 lead with 3:58 to play. Five LaSalle players scored in the run that sent the Explorers to the shore.
“We played hard, we didn’t turn it over, and we played good defense,” said Giannini. “We had a lot of people play well.”
LaSalle had four players score in double-figures led by Galloway who scored 17 points, and added 7 rebounds and 8 assists. Senior guard Earl Pettis scored 15, Freshman forward Jerrell Wright added 14, and Senior forward Devon White had 13 and grabbed 6 rebounds. LaSalle had 19 assists on 26 field goals. The Explorers made 26 – 52 field goal attempts (50%).
Guard Cedrick Lindsay scored 17 points, and Derrick Williams scored 14 points and took down a game-high 10 rebounds. LaSalle also held Richmond to 39.4% shooting in the second half.
The bottom line is LaSalle won and moves on, buying another game to play. That game will be at Boardwalk Hall.
“It means a lot, twenty wins means a lot, playing hard and winning games means a lot,” said Galloway. “Going to Atlantic City and playing in the post season is a dream of everybody here. A lot of people don’t make it this far in the post season, we’re blessed, and it’s great to go Atlantic City.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian