La Salle students skipping class Tuesday morning got to see their school’s basketball team win its first game of the season.
In one of the early-morning games of ESPN’s sixth annual College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, La Salle rode 17 points from Tyreek Duren to knock off visiting Quinnipiac, 73-67, at Tom Gola Arena.
The 9 a.m. start was believed to be the earliest in program history. And the game, televised on ESPN2, marked La Salle’s second appearance in the 24-hour marathon of hoops contests from around the country.
In a game that featured a couple of ties in the final 10 minutes, the Explorers made their final six free throws and played some good defense down the stretch to improve to 1-1.
Quinnipiac fell to 1-1 after a season-opening win over Hartford.
Big men on campus
In addition to his 17 points, Duren had six assists and five rebounds. La Salle’s Steve Zack chipped in with 15 points and six rebounds, while Tyrone Garland had 12, including an emphatic slam that capped the win.
Kasim Chandler led the Bobcats with 19 points. Ike Azotam, Quinnipiac’s leading scorer and rebounder from last season, scored 17.
Inside the box score
· La Salle finished the game with only four turnovers
· Neither team shot particularly well from the free-throw line, with La Salle going 20 for 29 and Quinnipiac 17 for 25.
· Both teams finished with exactly 43 rebounds.
Tyreek Duren and Steve Zack combined to score La Salle’s first 16 points as the Explorers jumped out to an early six-point lead, which they would extend to as many as nine later in the first half.
But a 10-1 Quinnipiac run, capped by a three-pointer from Philly native Shaq Shannon, tied the game at 31-31, before the Explorers scored the final four points of the half to take a 35-31 advantage into halftime.
La Salle shot just 16.7 percent from three-point range in the first half but committed only one turnover.
La Salle has now won 28 of its last 34 games at Tom Gola Arena, including 11 of its last 13.
The Explorers have won 15 of their last 17 non-conference regular-season games at Gola.
La Salle plays its third straight home game to start the season when it welcomes Siena to Tom Gola Arena on Saturday at 3 p.m.
Also on Saturday, Quinnipiac returns home to face Albany.