Now that was the offense Explorer fans want to see.
While it wasn’t as easy as the score would lead one to believe, La Salle worked to earn a 73-60 win against Saint Francis (NY) to start the season 4-0. The win gives the Explorers their first 4-0 start since the 2005-2006 team started the season 7-0. La Salle took an early lead and never looked back, utilizing an interior presence that had yet to be seen this season.
“The teams that we’ve beaten made us work,” said John Giannini on how his team’s good start will help them. “Obviously we’re stepping up in class a little bit here. We’re going from teams that are going to be good in their league, to teams that are going to be good on the national level. That’s what we aspire to. It’s a great opportunity for us. I think we did the things necessary to prepare us for this tough run.”
Tonight, the star was sophomore Jordan Price, who led all players with 30 points , also dishing seven assists and grabbing six rebounds. Price continued to show everyone why he was such a huge pick-up for the Explorers, as he became the first player to reach 30 points in a game since Ramon Galloway against VCU back in 2013.
“We’ve all been to the gym lately, just trying to perfect our craft,” said Price on his big night. “Today our shots fell for both the guards and the big men. I’m just looking to help my team win. If scoring is what I need to do to help my team win, then I’ll do it.
Coach Giannini had high praise for the transfer from Auburn, but not just for his scoring output.
“What I like is seven assists and six rebounds,” said Giannini on Price. “Those are the effort things. Jordan didn’t try to will the ball into the basket. Those are not Herculean effort plays, they’re effort plays and talent plays.”
Jerrell Wright also had his best game of the season, playing the role of catalyst in the first half. The big forward would score 19 points and grab nine rebounds, one carom shy of his second straight double-double. For the first time this season, Wright owned the lane and was a force towards the rim, finishing at a clip that is more up to par with the rest of his career.
“Coach G knows the bigs can score inside,” said Wright on his efforts against the Terriers. “They have good bigs, but me and Steve (Zack) have been working all summer to get the ball inside and try to score. That’s always our game plan.”
Zack was also very effective, scoring 14 points and grabbing 12 boards for another double-double, one game after playing just 17 minutes against Saint Peters on Saturday. The near 7-footer sat out much of the second half due to an injured ankle.
Even though this is the first time that La Salle has surrendered 60 points to an opponent this year, Giannini is still thrilled with overall effort that his defense has been putting forth.
“I love our players consistent effort,” said Giannini on how good the defense has been. “When you have a bunch of guys who do their best all the time and people have a tough time scoring against them, it’s a coach’s dream.”
La Salle will return to action on Friday in their first game of the Barclays Center Classic at 9:30 in Brooklyn, NY. Philahoops may have live coverage, but will be covering the game either way. Their second game will be against the winner of Rutgers and Vanderbilt.