Tonight in the City 6: La Salle battles St. Bonaventure

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Tonight in the City 6: La Salle battles St. Bonaventure

Two City 6 teams are on the schedule Wednesday night, both from the Atlantic 10. La Salle hits the road to play St. Bonaventure, while St. Joe’s hosts Richmond hoping to cling to one of the final spots for the A-10 tournament.

La Salle (16-6, 6-3 A-10) at St. Bonaventure (11-11, 4-5)
7 p.m., Reilly Center

Previous games
La Salle has won four of five and seven of its last 10 games overall. In their last game, the Explorers dismantled Fordham, 89-53. Four players scored in double figures, led by Sam Mills’ 21 points on a career-high seven threes. Tyreek Duren had a perfect day, going 5 for 5 from the floor, including 4 for 4 from the three and 2 for 2 from the line for a total of 16 points. He also added eight assists. La Salle shot 18 for 33 (54.5 percent) from beyond the arc and tied a school record for three-pointers made. They dished out 22 assists as a team and turned the ball over just seven times.

St. Bonaventure is coming off a win as well, its fourth in six games. The Bonnies entered halftime down six to a Rhode Island squad that was just 1-7 in conference play but managed to escape with a 67-61 victory. Propelled by Eric Mosley’s 21 points and five threes, St. Bonaventure stormed back to outscore the Rams by 12 in the second half. Rhode Island won the rebounding battle, 34-23, but it was not enough to slow down the comeback. Aside from Mosley, the rest of the St. Bonaventure team shot a woeful 1 for 12 from three-point range.

Top players
Ramon Galloway has been La Salle’s workhorse all season long. The senior guard leads the team in scoring (17.1 per game), steals (2.3 per game) and three-point percentage (41.6 percent). He ranks second to Duren in assists with 3.4 per game, and also averages 4.5 rebounds. Galloway has eight 20-plus point games and has hit two or more three-pointers in 18 of 22 contests.

Demitrius Conger has been St. Bonaventure’s best player for most of the season. His 13.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists are all top averages on the team. The senior forward shoots 83.5 percent from the line, 18 percentage points up from his freshman year. Conger has scored in double figures in 18 of 22 games. The Bonnies are just 1-3 in games where he fails to reach the 10-point mark.

Keep an eye on …
Since starting 5-0 at home, St. Bonaventure has just one win in its last five home games. La Salle is 6-4 on the road.

Recent series
The Explorers are just 2-3 in the last five meetings with St. Bonaventure. In last year’s 71-61 victory, Duren led La Salle with 21 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Richmond (14-10, 4-5 A-10) at Saint Joseph’s (13-9, 4-5)
7 p.m., Hagan Arena

Previous games
After winning three in a row, St. Joe’s has dropped its last two games by a combined 24 points. In its last game, an 80-62 loss to Massachusetts, Langston Galloway led St. Joe’s with 14 points and seven assists but shot just 2-for-9 from three. The Hawks had four scorers in double figures but turned the ball over 14 times and allowed UMass to shoot 51.8 percent from the field.

Richmond has lost three of four, most recently a 56-46 defeat at home to St. Louis. Not only was Cedrick Lindsay the lone Spider in double figures with 20 points, he was the only one who made more than one field goal. Richmond shot a dismal 10 for 43 (23.3 percent), 3 for 15 from the three (20 percent) and had just five assists as a team. The team that ranks 338th of 345 Division I teams in rebounding (29.0 per game) was out-rebounded, 42-27, by the Billikens.

Top players
Carl Jones has been the Hawks' top scorer this season. The senior guard averages 14.9 points, 2.9 boards and 2.8 assists while shooting a team-best 38.2 percent from three-point range. He has reached double digits in the scoring column in 16 of his 20 games. The Hawks are 0-4 in the games where Jones scores less than 10 points.

Darien Brothers and Derrick Williams have co-starred for Richmond this season. Brothers’ 15.7 points per game leads the Spiders. The senior guard also shoots 45.3 percent from three and an incredible 88.8 percent from the line. Williams, a junior forward, averages 13.1 points and a team-best 6.5 rebounds while shooting 55.4 percent from the floor.

Keep an eye on …
The A-10 standings. Both teams come into the game in a three-way tie for 10th in the conference. With only 12 teams qualifying for postseason play, the winner will give itself a tiny bit of breathing room, while the loser will have to claw its way back into the mix.

Recent series
St. Joe’s is just 1-4 in the past five meetings with Richmond after splitting the season series last year. In the two games last season, Galloway averaged 14 points and Jones averaged 13.

Drexel's Chris Crawford soaks up tradition at U.S. Open

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USA Today Images

Drexel's Chris Crawford soaks up tradition at U.S. Open

ERIN, Wis. — The U.S. Open is all about tradition. This week is the 117th playing of golf's national championship and this event more than most celebrates those golfers who play the game as amateurs. 

Soon-to-be Drexel graduate Chris Crawford has been soaking up all the traditions this week at Erin Hills. Playing in his second U.S. Open after qualifying through both local and sectional competition for the second straight year, an extremely difficult feat, the 23-year-old fifth-year senior enjoyed the amateur dinner put on by the tournament organizers with the USGA. Crawford and his fellow amateurs, a stout list including Texas' Scottie Scheffler, who shot 3-under Thursday to seize the early low amateur lead, were celebrated the entire evening — one of Crawford's early highlights in a long week here in Wisconsin. 

Crawford produced a 3-over par 75 Thursday during the first round to tie for 102nd out of a field of 156 players.

"I played OK (Thursday)," Crawford said. "I'm going to take more positives than negatives out of the round. I played really well for 14 holes and just had a few bad swings on the other four holes."

Indeed, Thursday morning started nervously for the former Drexel golf standout. On the opening par-5 first hole, he snap-hooked his drive into the weeds out of bounds to the left, resulting in a double bogey. Three holes later, he chipped one shot over the back of the fourth green and took another double-bogey, placing him 4-over through four holes. 

Although bogeys might keep many of us alive in our weekend matches, it doesn't cut it in a U.S. Open. Crawford responded well in the ensuing 14 holes, going 1-under in that stretch.

Crawford's coach Mike Dynda, who teaches him at LuLu Country Club in Glenside, Pennsylvania, said he makes a big point to prepare Crawford's mind for his big rounds.

"I texted him last night and said, 'When you got to sleep, imagine that you're on the 18th hole and you have a putt for 9-under,'" Dynda said. "It's important to go to sleep and dream like that."

On the other side, Dynda — who taught the golf team at Drexel from 2003-2015 — also told his pupil to stay away from expectations. When you're 23 and you're playing in your second consecutive U.S. Open, one might think it would be easy to get ahead of yourself. Not so with Crawford, according to Dynda.

"I've taught him to not have any expectations for the five years we've been together," Dynda said. 

Crawford had a superstar practice round on Monday, playing with Jordan Spieth, Jim Furyk and Wisconsin's own Steve Stricker.

"It was a lot of fun playing with those guys and just watching them strategize about learning a brand new U.S. Open course," Crawford said. "I think that's the biggest thing I was impressed with, was the way they talked about strategy on this golf course.

"They were all very nice with me and were very specific to ask about me and they wanted to learn a little bit about my life, so I appreciated that."

For Dynda, talking with Furyk brought back a fond memory. Furyk's father, Mike, actually sold Dynda his first set of golf clubs, Tommy Armor 845s, back in Philadelphia years ago. 

With one round in the books and the forecast calling for rain this weekend, Crawford was looking forward to having the proper mentality as he headed into Friday's second round.

"I want to go out there and just not get ahead of myself," Crawford said. "I'm going to think positively and appreciate that I'm playing in the national open."

Crawford teed off at 2:31 p.m. local time off of the 10th hole.

"This week is so cool because I never do something like this," Crawford said. "Playing in front of such large crowds is a treat and I just love the interaction with the fans before and after the rounds as well."

Last year at Oakmont, dozens of friends and family made the drive down the turnpike to see him play in his first U.S. Open. This year, Crawford estimates that he has around 15 friends and family out in the galleries cheering him on. Though coach Dynda caddied last year, those duties have gone to current Drexel golf coach Ben Feld.

It's a party this week of Drexel golf proportions.

Atlantic 10 reveals 2017-18 schedule pairings

Atlantic 10 reveals 2017-18 schedule pairings

Philadelphia basketball fans will be getting a double dip of one of the Atlantic 10 conference's best rivalries once again next season.

With the league's 18-game regular season format in place for a fourth straight year, it was revealed Wednesday afternoon that Saint Joseph's and La Salle will battle twice — once in North Philly at Tom Gola Arena and a second time at the Hawks' home just off City Line Avenue. Each team in the 14-member conference will play eight teams once and five teams twice.

The full pairings for the Explorers and Saint Joe's are listed here:

La Salle
Home: Dayton, George Mason, St. Bonaventure, VCU, Fordham, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Saint Joseph’s, Saint Louis
Away: Davidson, Duquesne, George Washington, Richmond, Fordham, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Saint Joseph’s, Saint Louis

Saint Joseph’s
Home: Dayton, Duquesne, Saint Louis, VCU, Fordham, George Mason, La Salle, Massachusetts, St. Bonaventure
Away: Davidson, George Washington, Rhode Island, Richmond, Fordham, George Mason, La Salle, Massachusetts, St. Bonaventure

It was also rumored earlier in the day that the Hawks have added a Big Five matchup at Temple for Dec. 9.