Looking to change their fortune after a tough loss to Dayton this past Wednesday, La Salle defeated Fordham 60-49 on Saturday to earn their second Atlantic Ten Conference victory of the season. The Explorers started the game out strong, going on a 14-0 run that lasted them the first four minutes of the game.
“The last game, we didn’t play well on defense,” said Jerrell Wright. “So we wanted to play well on defense toady. I think we did a great job of holding them to 31 percent. We came out with an edge on defense.”
“We have one of the strangest teams around where we never hold people in the fourties,” said head coach John Giannini. “We either hold them in the thirties, or in the fifties or higher, which is strange.”
Wright then talked about a new motivating tool the team has been using to help their defensive mindset.
“When we get three stops, it’s called a kill,” said Wright. “I think we got three kills in a row. We stopped them for about nine straight possessions. The big thing that we’re worried about is coming out strong and keeping our foot on the peddle the whole time.”
“It’s an NBA term,” Giannini said on the defense trying to earn “kills”. “We try to feed on it. When coaching, you try to be a good motivator and you try to think of different, unique things to motivate kids and you borrow from other people. I think it’s motivational for them to hear our bench yelling that.”
Jordan Price led the Explorers with 15 points in 27 minutes, with Wright adding 11 points in his 27 minutes of play. However, the game’s leading scorer was freshman Eric Paschall of Fordham, who scored 25 points for the Rams.
“Well he did take 24 shots to do that,” said Giannini on the Paschall’s 25 points. “If you look at offensive efficiency, that wouldn’t be at a high level, and our defense deserves credit for that because he’s really good. And he can play better. That’s the scary thing. I don’t think he played his best tonight.”
“He was a very tough matchup,” said Price on the freshman’s play. “He was big, strong and physical. We haven’t really played a player like that. I think we did well against him.”
This victory puts the Explorers one game under .500 (2-3) in the A-10. Gianinni stressed how difficult it actually is to win in the conference.
“If you let up at all and have any issues, you don’t win,” Giannini said on the competitiveness of the Atlantic Ten. “This league is that balanced in terms of talent. Fordham is young, but they are extremely talented. I don’t think the average fan has any idea how hard it is to win an Atlantic Ten game. If you have any issues, it’s not happening.”
The Explorers look to get to the .500 mark as they travel to Kingston to take on Rhode Island on Thursday, January 22nd at 7 p.m.