PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/5/2019 – The La Salle Explorers are on a four-game winning streak as they defeat the Saint Joseph’s Hawks 83 – 69 at the Gola Arena. The slate of Big Five games closed with a win for La Salle, and the first for Coach Ashley Howard. It also gives his team a winning record in the Atlantic 10 conference. Happy to get their first city series win, Howard is mindful of where they came from.
“I want our guys to keep getting better,” said Howard. “We lost all of our (Big 5) games to this point, so that humbled me early in the year and made me focus on what we need to do to get better, and let’s keep our guys committed to that. It’s a great win and I’m glad that we got a second consecutive win on our home court.”
Each team came in looking for that first city series victory of the season. And each squad looked to get that win by shooting the three-pointers. The Explorers got a little better of the shooting from distance.
Both teams were playing zone. So, bombs away. The Explorers had 15 three’s on 31 shots, and 14 two-point baskets. They also had went 10 of 12 from the free throw line. The Hawks scored on 14 of 26 triples and 12 of 33 from inside the arc. Saint Joe’s went to the line and made 3 of 5 from the stripe. It’s a numbers game and La Salle had a little better numbers, especially getting 20 assists, a season-high, on 29 field goals.
“We had a game where the ball moved, and we shared the ball,” Howard said. “We had 20 assists on 29 field goals.When we are playing that way, that’s the best basketball on the offensive end that we can produce.”
Four players scored in double figures for La Salle with Traci Carter leading the way with a season-high 18 points, he had 2 three’s. Saul Phiri scored 17 points making 5 of 8 from distance. David Beatty was a perfect 4 for 4 from deep on his way to 15 points. He tied a season-high in made three-point baskets. Pookie Powell contributed 14 points.
“We are at a point of the season where we are playing with unbelievable confidence,” said Carter about the scoring balance. “We’re in the gym trying to get better. We’re putting in the work and our confidence is rising.”
“Their shooting was a surprise although they have been shooting the ball better recently,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Phil Martelli. “They have guys that you would say their numbers are not going to hurt you, but to their credit, they did. They took the fight to us. We tried to fight back, but couldn’t get a big stop in the second half.”
The Hawks got a season-high 22 points from Lorenzo Edwards, his second consecutive game with a season-best. Edwards was a perfect 6 for 6 from beyond the arc and tied his career-best in made three-pointers. Charlie Brown had 19 points while Troy Holston contributed 10.
“In typical Big Five fashion, anything can happen,” Howard said. “Lorenzo Edwards was six of six from three. David Beatty, four for four from three. Only in a Philadelphia Big Five game does stuff like that happen where you have two guys who are role players go ten for ten from three in a game.”
The Explorers improve to 7 – 14 and are 5 – 4 in conference. The next game is on Sunday at George Mason who is 7 – 2 in league play. La Salle looks to extend the winning streak.
The Hawks have a home game with Saint Louis on Friday at the Hagan Arena. Saint Joe’s looks to get back on the winning track.
Written By: Glenn Papazian