Hot-shooting La Salle drops St. Joe's in key Big 5 win

Hot-shooting La Salle drops St. Joe's in key Big 5 win

February 16, 2013, 4:30 pm
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La Salle guard Ramon Galloway provided the exclamation point in the Explorers’ 76-64 victory over Saint Joseph’s Saturday afternoon at the Palestra, by slamming home a lob from teammate Tyrone Garland in the closing seconds.

But after it was all over – after the Explorers secured no worse than a share of their first Big 5 title since 1989-90 – Galloway said he is hoping that the season’s exclamation point is yet to come.

“We want to be in the record books,” he said after abutting Tyreek Duren’s career-high-equaling 29-point effort with an elegant 16-point, 12-assist stat line. “We want to be a great team. We don’t want to settle for good.”

They were terrific Saturday, shooting 62.2 percent from the floor (28 for 45), including 62.5 percent from the three-point line (10 for 16). They had 22 assists on those 28 field goals, and after turning it over 10 times in the game’s first 12 minutes only coughed it up five times the rest of the way.

The victory was the fourth straight for the Explorers (18-6, 8-3 Atlantic-10), who are also 3-0 in the City Series. They can win that title outright by beating Temple on Thursday. They also appear to be the city’s best bet for an NCAA bid.

“We shared the ball so well offensively,” said Dr. John Giannini, the team’s coach. “The stats speak for themselves. Beautiful passing. We like to say great passers make great shooters.”

Duren, who also scored 29 on Dec. 5 against Penn State, shot 9-for-12 from the floor, including 5-for-6 from 3-point range.

“He took the ball where he wanted to take it,” SJU coach Phil Martelli said. “He’s not a 5-for-6 three-point shooter. … But because he plays at the right tempo and plays the position, good things happen. A wonderful performance, really.”

But no big deal, the way Duren saw it.

“My teammates were giving me the ball,” he said. “I had a couple wide-open shots. I just had it going today.”

Halil Kanacevic had 16 points to pace the Hawks (14-10, 5-6 A-10), who lost for the third time in four games. Ronald Roberts Jr. finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Those 10 early turnovers by La Salle allowed the Hawks to take a 16-12 lead. But Duren notched eight of his points in the last eight minutes of the first half, when the Explorers outscored the Hawks 17-8 to go ahead 29-24 at halftime.

La Salle continued its roll after intermission, making seven of its first 10 second-half shots to increase its lead to 45-34, on Duren’s three-pointer from the left corner with 13:15 left. The Hawks never drew closer than seven the rest of the way.

Langston Galloway scored seven points as St. Joe’s claimed that early 16-12 lead, but Giannini took a businesslike approach to correcting his team’s turnover woes.

“We pointed it out,” he said. “We addressed it, and they responded by sharing the ball much better.”

“Their offensive efficiency was a credit to them,” Martelli said. “Their offensive efficiency was in the numbers. It’s really a nice way of playing basketball. … The better team won. They played better, and the better team won today.”

The Explorers are also better than last year’s 21-13 outfit, Giannini repeatedly said during his postgame synopsis – not by leaps and bounds, he added, for that is unrealistic. But better in small, significant ways.

“It’s listening,” he said. “It’s competing. It’s taking care of yourself off the court. It’s respecting your opponent. Guys are doing that now.”

As Galloway said, “We feel we’re supposed to be here.”

Now they want to get somewhere else. Now they want to reach a higher plain.

Galloway did not score in the first half, missing both his shots from the floor, but he handed out six assists. He went 5-for-6 in the second half, 2-for-3 from the arc. … Jerrell Wright finished with 10 points and seven rebounds for the Explorers. … Duren has made 16 of his last 25 three-point attempts. … Langston Galloway had 12 points and five steals for St. Joe’s, before fouling out with 3:45 left.

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