La Salle Outlasts Penn In Big Five Battle

PHILADELPHIA, PA. 10/13/2017 – It became apparent that neither team was going to explode and separate.  The game would be a grind it out defensive battle close to the end.  To a certain extent it looked like an old-school Big Five game.  When it was all said and done La Salle takes a 75 – 71 double overtime victory at the Palestra over the University of Pennsylvania.

In the second overtime the Explorers appeared to be in a difficult spot.  Leading scorer B.J. Johnson, who had a game-high 20 points fouled out.  Amar Stukes would respond scoring 8 of 10 La Salle points in the second overtime to give the Explorers a 70 – 65 lead with 31.6 seconds on the clock.

“With B.J. going out we needed another offensive threat on the floor,” said Stukes.  “I needed to be more aggressive and make plays for my team.”

Still, it took two free throws by Johnnie Schuler to provide the winning points with 12.1 to go.

“We are trying to be a good defensive team so we can win when we don’t click offensively,” said La Salle Coach Dr. John Giannini.  “We didn’t click offensively and still won.”

In regulation each team would go through scoring droughts.  Late in the game La Salle was held scoreless for over five minutes getting a score from B.J. Johnson with 5:07 to play.  Penn had a 3 and a half minute span without a point until AJ Brodeur made three free throws.

Attrition continued and the game was tied at 50 with 1:24 left on a Johnson tip in.  Both teams missed a chance to win in regulation.

All of a sudden each team began to find the range in the extra period with La Salle making 6 of 12 after forty minutes.

For the game LSU made 42.6% from the floor.  The Quakers were held to  33.8%.

“We were inconsistent around the rim and at the foul line,” explained Penn Coach Steve Donahue.

Johnson recorded a double-double adding 14 rebounds.  Saul Phiri had 12 points and took down 11 rebounds.  Pookie Powell contributed 17 points.  Stukes added 12 points going  perfect 8 for 8 from the free throw line for the Explorers.

“We want to hold teams in the 30’s, and that’s how we are going to win,” Stukes said.

Penn had five players reach double digits led by Max Rothschild and Ryan Betley with 14 points each.

La Salle wins the first Big Five game of the year.

“Every time we go into a Big Five game we know they are going to give us their best shot,” said Johnson.  “It’s personal.”


Written By: Glenn Papazian


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