A-10 Tourney: La Salle handles Richmond


A-10 Tourney: La Salle handles Richmond


La Salle is headed to Atlantic City.

The Explorers overcame a game-high 31 points from Richmond's Darien Brothers on Tuesday night and cruised to a comfortable 80-72 win over the Spiders at Tom Gola Arena.

While Richmond heads home, La Salle will prepare for the second-seeded St. Louis Billikens, whom they face Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the quarterfinal round of the A-10 tournament. The win improves the Explorers to 21-11 overall and 10-7 in conference play. This will be the team's second trip to Atlantic City in as many seasons.

"It means a lot," La Salle junior guard Ramon Galloway said.

"We tried to do this for Earl Pettis. This is his senior year. We all just came together and played hard. Going to Atlantic City it's always been a dream of everybody's to play in the postseason. A lot of people don't make it that far. We're just blessed and grateful that we have the chance to go to A.C."

Galloway, a junior-transfer from South Carolina, is a big reason the team has that chance. Not only did he produce a pretty impressive stat line in his own right -- scoring 17 points, dishing out eight assists and grabbing seven rebounds -- but he also inherited the responsibility of guarding Brothers in the second half.

Brothers scored 22 points in the first -- more than any Explorer would in the entire game -- to keep his team within seven, 40-33, at the break. He finished 10 for 16 from the field, 4 for 7 from three and 7 for 7 from the line, but scored only nine points once Galloway took over as his primary defender.

"He was carrying their team," Galloway said. "I wanted to play him so bad. My teammates, Earl and Sam Mills, let me guard him and put their trust in me."

What was the method to his success?

"I just tried to stay in front him and not let him get open threes," Galloway said. "Just keep moving my feet, just put pressure on him. I made him drive. He hit a lot of open threes early. So, I thought if I made him drive, it would make his shots tougher."

As Brothers struggled to match his early production, Richmond's Derrick Williams tried his hand at leading the Spiders to a second-half comeback. After Williams went scoreless in the first half, the Spiders made a concerted effort to feed the 6-foot-6, 275-pound power forward in the post. He finished with a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double and put La Salle big men Jerrell Wright and Devon White in foul trouble.

Still, La Salle could live with those totals from Williams after he burned them for 22 and 11 in a 78-73 Richmond win earlier this season. The Explorers knew they would have to do better if they wanted to move past the Spiders, and they did.

"We put a lot of emphasis in our practice on Williams," Galloway said. "The first game, he went off for a career-high. And so coach John Giannini challenged the bigs in practice everyday, saying, 'Listen, you guys got to man up, you got to play with pride, play defense.' And they really stepped up. We really credited this win to the bigs."

Richmond's three leading scorers this season -- Brothers, Williams and Cedrick Lindsay (17 points) -- all finished above their averages, but no other Spider recorded more than Greg Robbins' six. The only two others to make an appearance in the points column -- Kendall Anthony and Darrius Garrett -- each had just one basket.

Contrast that with the Explorers, who had four players in double figures, shot 50 percent (26 for 52) from the field and 47 percent from three (8 for 17), and it isn't hard to see why La Salle led by as much as 15 in the second half.

"They're a team that's difficult to defend, especially when they're shooting well, which they usually do," Richmond coach Chris Mooney said. "They spread you out. They play with such a nice, easy pace. They're never rush anything. I though that we just couldn't defend them well enough to extend any runs we had."

Richmond had two runs in the second half to cut La Salle's lead to just one with 17:34 and 11:37 to play, but a 10-2 Explorer run sparked by a Mills three-pointer pushed the La Salle lead back to nine points. From that point on, they never led by any less than six the rest of the way.

"I thought we at times played well," Mooney continued, "like when we came back in the second half and cut it to one. But they were able to score fairly quickly to extend the lead again.

"I wish he had played a little bit better. And I feel for our seniors and our team, because, the way the format is, we don't get to go to Atlantic City. But I congratulate La Salle and wish them well."

As Mooney contemplates whether to accept any potential invites to other postseason tournaments like the NIT, CIT or CBI -- which he said he will first discuss with his seniors -- La Salle must quickly turn its sights toward its matchup with St. Louis.

In their only meeting this year on Feb. 11, the Billikens defeated the Explorers 59-51. La Salle turned over the basketball 20 times that day. They'll obviously be looking to fix that by Friday.

"We expect a tough, full game," Galloway said. "St. Louis is a great defensive team, like we are. The difference is that we want to focus on not turning the ball over. When we played St. Louis, we turned the ball over a lot. When you turn the ball over, you lose games. So we're just going to go back to the drawing board, back to the basics, dribbling drills, shooting, regular stuff."

Whether or not they get that sorted out, Giannini seemed pleased just that his program has the opportunity make it to Atlantic City and play a team like St. Louis.

"I think any time you put yourself among the better teams in this league, that's a good thing," he said. "Every day of every year, I'm just so impressed with how good this league is. I don't think people realize how good you have to be just to be in the top half of this league. Forget the very top. If you're a good team in this league, you're a good team nationally. So we're really excited.

"St. Louis is tough. They're really gritty. They're really hard-nosed. They really defend. They're probably as tough a team, physically and mentally, as there is in the league. But we had a great game with them here. We did have a lot of turnovers in that game. We had some guys not have good individual performances. So hopefully we play better."
E-mail Nick Menta at nmenta@comcastsportsnet.com

Baylor to fire football coach Briles, re-assign president

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Baylor to fire football coach Briles, re-assign president

WACO, Texas -- Baylor University's board of regents said Thursday that it will fire football coach Art Briles and re-assign university President Kenneth Starr amid questions over the school's handling of sexual assault complaints against players.

The nation's largest Baptist university said in a statement Thursday that it had suspended Briles "with intent to terminate." Starr will leave the position of president on May 31, but the school says he will serve as chancellor.

The university also placed athletic director Ian McCaw on probation.

Baylor asked a law firm last year to conduct a review of its handling of sexual assault cases following allegations that the football program mishandled several cases of players attacking women.

The university's statement said the review revealed "a fundamental failure."

Baylor has faced increasing criticism in recent months for its handling of reports of rape and other violent incidents involving football players and students. One victim has sued the university, saying it was deliberately indifferent to her allegations against a former player who was eventually convicted of sexually assaulting her.

Starr ordered an investigation last year but has been mostly silent amid mounting criticism over the school's handling of the complaints, which erupted under his leadership. He took over as the university's president in 2010, about a decade after the former prosecutor investigated former President Clinton's sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewisnky.

The football team, whose players were at the center of the upheaval, enjoyed unprecedented success under Briles' tenure, including two Big 12 championships in the last three years. That success brought a financial windfall, and in 2014, Baylor opened a new, $250-million on-campus football stadium. But Briles' program has also been criticized for recruiting or accepting transfer players without regard to the harm they might cause fellow students.

Starr rode the waves of the program's success, and often ran on the football field with Baylor students in pregame ceremonies. But as investigations began into the school's handling of sexual assault allegations against players, Starr provided only brief comments, even as criticism of the school mounted.

In a February statement issued by university, Starr said "our hearts break for those whose lives are impacted by execrable acts of sexual violence." And at a prayer breakfast last month, Starr told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "I am in favor of transparency. Stand up, take your medicine if you made a mistake."

Baylor's Board of Regents was recently briefed by a law firm hired to investigate how the school responded to assault incidents, and the school on Thursday released a summary of its findings. Starr initiated the review in 2015, after former football player Sam Ukwuachu was convicted of sexually assaulting a female soccer player.

Ukwuachu, who was convicted in 2015, transferred to Baylor after he was dismissed from Boise State. Ukwuachu's former girlfriend testified during his rape trial in Texas that he had struck and choked her when he attended Boise State.

Ukwuachu's former coach, Chris Peterson, now the coach at Washington, said he "thoroughly apprised" Briles about the circumstances of Ukuwachu's dismissal. Briles disputed that account, saying he talked with Peterson and there was no mention of the incident.

The school is also facing a federal lawsuit from a former student claiming the school was "deliberately indifferent" to rape allegations levied at a former football player Tevin Elliott, who was convicted in 2014 of sexually assaulting the woman.

The uproar following Ukwuachu's conviction caused Baylor to initiate the review by the Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton, and to announce a $5 million effort to improve efforts on how it responds to sexual assault, including adding another investigator and more staff.

But the Ukwuachu case was just the start of months of revelations of football players being involved in violent incidents with little or no repercussions. At least seven other woman have publicly come forward to say the school ignored their sexual assault allegations.

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Josh Hart discusses NBA draft process, returning to Villanova


Josh Hart discusses NBA draft process, returning to Villanova

Josh Hart said the decision wasn’t easy.

But he’s happy with it.

After withdrawing his name from the NBA draft to return to school (see story), Hart is excited to focus on Villanova, graduation and then the NBA dream.

“I love the school, I love the teachers, the student body, the support, my teammates that we have coming back,” the 6-foot-5 guard said Wednesday on Comcast SportsNet’s Philly Sports Talk. “So it was a tough one and I just thought at the end of the day, I think going back for my senior year would be in the best interest of my parents and myself.”

As a junior, Hart helped Villanova win its second national championship in program history by leading the Wildcats in scoring with 15.5 points per game while shooting 51.3 percent from the field.

Hart received plenty of feedback from NBA teams. He said shooting and ball handling are what he hopes to improve.

As far as his draft stock …

“There were teams interested maybe in the first [round], and then there were teams that said they would take me in the second,” Hart said. “But there’s a whole month before the draft, a lot of teams didn’t know exactly what they were doing with their picks — whether they were trying to trade up for a pick, trying to trade down, trying to trade a pick for a player. Several teams said that they would take me.”

For more from Hart on the draft and Villanova, watch the video above.

Delaware hires Martin Ingelsby as new head basketball coach

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Delaware hires Martin Ingelsby as new head basketball coach

Delaware has its new head basketball coach in Martin Ingelsby.

Ingelsby, a native of Berwyn, Pennsylvania, comes from Notre Dame, where he played from 1997-2001 and coached for 13 seasons, seven as an assistant.

Ingelsby played his high school ball at Archbishop Carroll and is the son of Tom Ingelsby, who played for Villanova from 1970-73.

Delaware is coming off a 7-23 season and 2-16 mark in CAA play, which led to the firing of head coach Monte Ross.

The Blue Hens, who announced the hire Tuesday, will formally introduce Ingelsby in a press conference Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Bob Carpenter Center Auditorium.