It’s been a disappointing season for the La Salle (13-14, 5-8 A10) basketball program, that much was evident from an empty Tom Gola Arena tonight. With seemingly everything that could go wrong for the Explorers doing just that as of late, La Salle dug deep and found themselves able to gut out a win over St. Bonaventure (16-12, 6-8 A10) tonight.
Behind 18 point performances from Jerrell Wright and Tyreek Duren, the Explorers were able to withstand a late Bonnies’ run, winning by a final score of 75-67. Mills and Garland added 12 each for the Explorers.
The Bonnies jumped out to a quick 9-3 lead, but the Explorers would begin to find open looks, tying the game at 14 with 12:26 remaining in the half. La Salle would take a 19-18 lead and build that lead to as much as 10 with the help of great ball movement. Racking up 12 assists on 15 made shots in the first half, the Explorers hit on 68.2 percent from the field, including 6-of-6 from beyond the arc. Sam Mills led the way for La Salle in the half, going 4-of-4 from the field for a total of 12 points.
“Just to finally see a couple of shots go in was good, and I actually fed off Sam and D.J. when they started making shots,” said Tyrone Garland. “That’s how we basically played last year. When everyone made shots, that’s when we’d get rolling and I haven’t seen us play like that in a long time.”
While La Salle did damage from deep, the Bonnie’s made their money down low, scoring 24 first half points in the paint, as center Youssou Ndoye led a St. Bonaventure rally to close the half and head to the locker room trailing just 40-38. Ndoye surpassed his season average of 9.2 points per game in just 17 minutes, as he tallied 14 first half points for the Bonnies.
La Salle emerged from the half firing on all cylinders, as an 11-4 run extended their lead to 51-42. St. Bonaventure would respond with a run of their own however, tying the game before taking a 57-55 lead. La Salle would hold St. Bonaventure scoreless over those final two minutes, sealing the 75-67 win at the foul line.
“Everybody just started buckling down,” said Duren. “Two minutes of stops and we get out of here with a win and get back on track. Just try to build on this win.”
“Any win in the A-10 is a great win,” said La Salle coach John Giannini. “We got stops down the stretch. We made free throws down the stretch. We played pretty smart down the stretch in terms of not turning the ball over, so I’m really pleased.”
UP NEXT: La Salle will head to Fordham for a matchup with the Rams Saturday at 5 p.m.