Morning madness at La Salle: a festive crowd of students skipping class cheer Explorers to first win of season

Morning madness at La Salle: a festive crowd of students skipping class cheer Explorers to first win of season

After losing its first game of the college basketball season at home over the weekend, La Salle needed a wakeup call.

It got one … literally.

Today, the La Salle players woke up before 7 a.m. (pretty much the hardest thing a college kid has to do) and defeated visiting Quinnipiac in a 9 a.m. game at Tom Gola Arena (the earliest starting time in program history). The matchup was part of the sixth annual ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, a 24-plus-hour feast of college basketball games from around the country, airing on succession on one of ESPN’s channels.

There are certainly a lot of things you can complain about when it comes to college basketball (the regular season can often seem long and meaningless) and ESPN (where to even begin?). But it’s hard to have any complaints about this TV marathon, which for the past six years has signified the beginning of the college hoops season.

Whether you’re a college hoops diehard, someone who wants to watch sports early in the morning while getting ready for work, or someone that likes watching New Mexico State’s 7-foot-5, 350-pound center finish alley oops without jumping in the middle of the night (don’t act like you’ve never dreamed about this), it’s fun for everybody.

And in person, it’s even better. This morning the La Salle students had a blast, presumably skipping class, drinking (spiked?) hot chocolate, getting dressed as a giant banana or a superhero, bringing amusing signs and cheering on last year’s NCAA tournament darlings to their first win of the season. (The best sign ranked basketball teams from Connecticut as follows: 1. UConn; 2. Fairfield; 3. Hartford; 4. CCS; 5. Yale; 6. Yale Law; 11. Quinnipiac.)

The La Salle players, of course, talked about the game being all business and handling the early wake-up call just as they would for a weekend practice. But there’s no denying the early-morning game had a lot more juice to it than a regular non-conference weeknight game would.

And for the students who packed Gola, it sure beat going to class.

Union sign second-round pick, defender Aaron Jones

Union sign second-round pick, defender Aaron Jones

The Union have signed their second-round draft choice, Aaron Jones, from last month’s MLS SuperDraft. 

The 5-foot-9 defender was selected 33rd overall and is the second player the Union have signed from the Jan. 13 draft. Marcus Epps was the first to sign. 

Jones has been practicing with the team in their preseason camp and has impressed the front office. 

“We are pleased to sign Aaron to an official MLS contract,” Union sporting director Earnie Stewart said. “Aaron has impressed throughout his time with us in preseason camp, displaying quickness, his ability in passing and on free kicks, and his aggressive one-on-one defending. We look forward to bringing him aboard officially and tracking his development at the right back position over the years to come.”

The 22-year-old originally played at the collegiate level with Georgia State University between 2013-2014. He made 35 starts while scoring three goals with five assists. He transferred to Clemson before the 2015 season and finished his final two seasons with the Tigers. In those two seasons he made 38 starts, scoring four goals, and gathered seven assists. 

Flyers clash with Penguins in cheapest outdoor game this season

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Flyers clash with Penguins in cheapest outdoor game this season

Editor's note: The following is sponsored content written by TicketIQ.

Attending this year’s Stadium Series game won’t come at much of a cost for fans at Heinz Field.

With the Penguins set to host the Flyers in the 68,000-plus seat stadium on Saturday, tickets are the cheapest of all three outdoor games this season. On TicketIQ, CSN Philly’s official ticketing partner, Penguins vs. Flyers Stadium Series tickets now average $202.

Saturday’s game is considerably cheaper than the Centennial Classic and Winter Classic, which were held in Toronto and St. Louis last month, respectively. The Winter Classic between the Blues and Blackhawks averaged a $632 ticket while the Maple Leafs and Red Wings’ Centennial Classic posted a $299 average.

As it stands now, this weekend’s game owns the third lowest average for a Stadium Series game in the last four years, trumped only by a 2016 game between the Wild and Blackhawks at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, which owned an overall average of $160. It is the cheapest two-day-out average that any game has posted, however, inching past a 2015 game between the Sharks and Kings ($203) for that title.

Only a 2014 Stadium Series game at Yankee Stadium between the Rangers and Islanders owned a lower get-in price ($45) two days out than Saturday’s game at Heinz Field. Penguins vs. Flyers tickets currently start from $67 each in the 500 sections.

The Flyers will play in their first Stadium Series game since the format was created in 2014. It will be their third overall outdoor game after 2010’s Winter Classic at Fenway Park and 2012’s Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park.

The game comes at a crucial time for the Flyers, who remain on the cusp of a playoff spot in a crowded Eastern Conference. As of Thursday afternoon, they sit just three points removed from the second wild-card spot. Some pushing and shoving will occur over the next two months, however, as several other teams fight for that last playoff berth.

The Penguins play host to their second outdoor game at Heinz Field following 2011’s Winter Classic against the Capitals. It will be the reigning Stanley Cup champions’ fourth outdoor game since 2008. They enter Saturday owners of the second seed in the Metropolitan division behind the league-best Capitals with 82 points in tow.