PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/18/2015 – The La Salle Explorers defense was solid holding the Fordham Rams offense in check to earn a 60 – 49 win at the Gola Arena. When the Explorers are good on the defensive end of the floor, they can win. But the defense and effort, especially, needs to be consistent.
“In this league, if you pause or let up at all or have any issues, you don’t win,” Giannini said. “If you give the other team any confidence as a result of you letting up, you don’t win.”
Except for a brief spell, La Salle did not let up. It was lowest number of points the Explorers yielded this season, and the lowest point total for the Rams who shot 19 of 60 (31.7%).
La Salle got off to a fast start and appeared to be in total control scoring the first 14 points. The lead grew to 16 as sophomore guards Jordan Price and Cleon Roberts sandwiched three-point baskets around a hoop by Ram guard Eric Paschall to lead 20 – 6 with 12:26 remaining in the half.
Trialing 23 – 9 Paschall led a charge for Fordham as he scored the next 12 points for the Rams. A 12 – 4 run brought Fordham to within 26 – 21 near halftime, but Price hit another three just before intermission to give the Explorers some breathing room and a nine point lead at the break. The start would pay dividends for La Salle.
“The margin after the start was even, so the good start was critical,” Giannini said.
In the second half Fordham changed again as another Paschall basket got the lead back to 9 at 38 – 29, but La Salle stymied the Rams offense over the next 10 minutes and led 52 – 36 with just over four minutes to play.
“We weathered their runs and won the game,” Giannini said.
Price scored a team-high 15 points, 13 of those came in the first half, while Roberts added 12. Senior forward Jerrell Wright had 11 points,
Paschall scored a game-high 25 points, half the total, The freshman appears to be a future star for the Rams.
The Explorers improve to 10 – 8 and earn their second conference win against 4 losses. The Rams are still looking for their Atlantic 10 victory. La Salle goes back on the road for a league encounter with Rhode Island and Thursday before a Big Five and Atlantic 10 game against Saint Joseph’s at the Gola Arena. How successful the Explorers will be depends on the defense and the effort.
“Every game will be a close game,” said Wright. “There is not going to be a blow out. If we can close the game strong, we can be a good team.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian
NOTES: La Salle honored the 1989-90 team on the 25th anniversary of the team that had a 30 – 2 record and was seeded 4th in the Eastern Region of the NCAA Tournament. La Salle Hall of Fame member Speedy Morris coached that team led by Lionel Simmons, Doug Overton, and Randy Woods. The Explorers went undefeated in the conference, and won the MAAC Tournament to earn a bid to the NCAA’s. La Salle played the first round tournament game in Hartford, CT. and defeated Southern Mississippi. The Explorers faced Clemson in the second round and held a 43 – 27 lead at halftime. The lead was 11 points with under 13 minutes to play. But Clemson got the ball inside to Dale Davis and Elden Campbell. The Tigers erased the lead and won 75 – 71 to move to the Regional Round in East Rutherford, NJ. La Salle fans will always remember the Player of the Year Lionel Simmons, The L-Train, and Doug Overton. It was a great team to watch. It was sad the ride ended too soon.