“Just win, baby.”
So said the late, great Al Davis, but so also goes the mantra of La Salle (2-0) basketball through two games. The Explorers struggled against Colgate, trailing the less-athletic, less-talented Riders for most of the first half.
Against Quinnipiac, a better team headed by prolific scorer Zaid Hearst, La Salle scored just 19 points in the first half, trailed by as many as 11 points throughout different spots in the game and shot so poorly that the Quinnipiac analysts were making wisecracks about it.
@Aaron_Bracy Do something else. Read a book, more action there.
— Joe Fedorowicz (@JoeFedorowicz) November 19, 2014
But then a burst. Cleon Roberts would hit a three. DJ Peterson would hit two in a row. Jordan Price would follow it up with one of his own. And just like that, a 10-point deficit became a two-point lead. The Explorers and Bobcats would battle down the stretch, with Khalid Lewis fouling Hearst on a three-pointer with his team up two. Hearst would miss the final free throw, giving Price a chance to win the game. He would be fouled, make both free throws and La Salle continues to hold leads over the final five minutes, limping to a 60-58 victory.
For La Salle, it was Price leading the way on the scoresheet, but it wasn’t his best game by any stretch. The sophomore transfer, playing in his second game as an Explorer, scored 16 points on just 6-17 from the floor and only 1-7 from deep. For much of the first half, the athletic swingman relied heavily on the three-ball, but began to utilize his athleticism and touch late in the game and scored his team’s final eight points.
— alicia marini bloom (@aliciabloom) November 19, 2014
Price was the only Explorer in double-figures, but Lewis added nine points, Peterson put in eight and grabbed eight rebounds and Steve Zack, Roberts and Amar Stukes each had seven. Zack also grabbed 11 rebounds.
The Explorers’ shooting was so bad in the first half that the commentators were forced to keep bringing it up. La Salle was 6-27 from the field (22-percent), 1-2 from deep (8-percent) and 6-13 from the free throw line (46-percent). All that led to a 26-19 deficit at the break. The starters were a combined 3-13 from the field, while La Salle was out-rebounded 29-19.
The second half brought about a change for La Salle. With 12:47 remaining, the Explorers trailed 40-30 when they went on that 12-0 run. From there, it was all grit and determination for the young squad. As I mentioned in my preview, La Salle is one of the more inexperienced teams while Quinnipiac is very senior-laden.
What’s with Wright: Jerrell Wright did not play in the second half, forcing Zack to play the whole second half. He did so with either three or four fouls, grabbed 10 rebounds and added seven points in that timeframe. Wright was supposedly out with back spasms, according to Steve Degler (as relayed by Quinnipiac broadcasters).
We’ll try to find out more and keep you updated.
@JoeFedorowicz Rec-specs are off. I think he might be done for the day.
— La Salle Explorers (@Explorer_Nation) November 19, 2014
Broad side of a Barn: La Salle finished the game shooting just 19.2-percent from deep, going 5-26. The last time they won a game shooting under 20-percent from beyond the arc was January 29, 2011 against Charlotte. Aaric Murray dropped 16 points while Cole Stefan was 3-8 from deep (the team was 4-22, or 18.2-percent).
Up Next: La Salle will host the 0-2 Saint Peter’s Peacocks on Saturday at 12:30. Philahoops will have live coverage from the Tom Gola Arena.