La Salle Falls, Tourney Hopes Shattered

The 7th-seeded La Salle Explorers (21-12) were unable to upset the second-seeded Saint Louis Billikens, falling 78-71 in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament. This loss likely ends any chances the Explorers had of making the NCAA Tournament, as their resume is not good enough to earn an at-large bid.

Saint Louis' Dwayne Evans (21) goes up for a shot during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against La Salle in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 men's tournament in Atlantic City, N.J., Friday, March 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Evans, while only scoring 9, was instrumental in the Billikens' first-half run (AP).

La Salle’s slow start cause them dearly, as they fell behind quickly and early; only 7 minutes into the game, Dwayne Evans’ 6 points and Rob Loe’s 5 had the Billikens up 14-2. After that, the Explorers started to get hot from the field, and five different players hit buckets to cut Saint Louis’ lead to 16-15 only 4 minutes later. The Billikens would slowly pull away, but an Earl Pettis three-pointer with 34 seconds left in the first half made it a 35-29 contest heading into the locker rooms, in favor of Saint Louis.

The second half was much of the same, with Saint Louis extending its leads and La Salle fighting back. Six straight points by Billikens’ guard Jordair Jett had them up 50-38 with only 11 minutes to go, and the game seemed over. However, La Salle fought back to cut the lead to 3 within 2 minutes, and the game stayed close until the final seconds when free throws pushed the deficit to 7. Unfortunately, that’s where it would stand.

La Salle only led once the entire game, when they were up 2-0 at the very beginning. Using their quick 14-2 start, Saint Louis was able to soar ahead and use a comfortable cushion to keep La Salle at bay. Whenever the Explorers decreased the deficit to within a possession or two, Saint Louis hit big jump shots to regain their leads.

For the Explorers, they were led by a guard trio of Earl Pettis, who scored 18, Ramon Galloway, who scored 14, and Tyreek Duren, who had 13 points to finish the year averaging an impressive 13.5 per game.

The Billikens’ assassins were Jett (13, 4-5 [80%] FG), Kwamain Mitchell (15 points and 7 assists), Mike McCall Jr. (16 points), and forward Brian Conklin (14 points).


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: La Salle

Author:Manav Khandelwal

I am the founder of Khandyman Sports, and follow all Philadelphia pro sports teams religiously. I also write for the Hoop76, covering the Sixers for ESPN, and am a credentialed Flyers reporter for Main Line Media News.

Subscribe & Share!

Subscribe to our updates to be the first to know about breaking news, interesting opinions and more in the Philadelphia sports world.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: