PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/10/2015 – The La Salle Explorers got off to an early lead against the George Washington Colonials and retained it to earn a 63 – 50 win at the Gola Arena. In doing so the Explorers snapped the Colonials six game winning streak, and won their first conference game of the season. La Salle coach Dr. John Giannini saw his team consistent in their preparation and execution for this game.
“Basketball at this level is almost all mental,” said Giannini. “Clearly, we had an edge and GW was not at their best. It’s teams that are mentally consistent. Hopefully we will get back to playing defense they way we did in the first part of the season. What we wanted our guys did exactly, perfectly, and they did it with great effort. We’d like to do that more consistently. At the end of the day its mental consistency.”
The start of the game could not have been better for La Salle. The Explorers got out to a 19 – 2 lead just under 11 minutes into the game. In the half LSU made 12 of 25 from the floor and 4 of 10 from distance. Sophomore guard Jordan Price, who scored a game-high 20, had 13 of those points in the first half as the Explorers took a 33 – 19 halftime lead. The largest lead was 17 points on three different occasions.
It could also be said that it was a nightmare for GW. The Colonials missed their first ten shots and in that span turned the ball over eleven times. The first made basket was by forward John Kopriva at the 7:46 mark of the half. The Colonials had another basket, but it was off an Explorer who inadvertently tipped the ball into the basket. George Washington finally got their offense rolling when guard Nick Griffin made three consecutive three-pointers to cut the deficit to 28 – 17. The 14 first half turnovers limited any ability by GW to get shots.
In the second half GW would get no closer than 11 points as La Salle kept them away.
“You can’t relax against a team like that,” said guard Cleon Roberts. “They came back and won games, so we had to keep playing hard.”
For the game the Colonials had 20 turnovers, more than made field goals at 15. Forward Yuta Wantanabe led GW with 12 points who were held to under 40% shooting.
“We came in with a mindset of playing defense,” Price said. “When our defense is good, stops teams, and keeps them under 40% (shooting percentage). That was our mentality going into this game.”
One other player had double figures for the Explorers as Roberts contributed 15 points. Senior center Steve Zack pulled down 11 rebounds. As a team La Salle had 10 blocked shots.
The Explorers improve to 9 – 7 this season and now stand at 1 – 2 in Atlantic 10 conference play. Next up for La Salle is a trip to Dayton on Wednesday before returning home for a game against Fordham on Saturday.
Written By: Glenn Papazian