ATLANTIC CITY, NJ 3/9/12 – Three Philadelphia college teams were in action at the Atlantic 10 men’s basketball tournament quarterfinal round. However, all three teams were eliminated on the same day. The afternoon session was quite similar to the women’s tournament one week earlier the Philly teams, the Temple Owls and Saint Joseph’s Hawks were defeated in the same session. The Hawks lost to the same school, St. Bonaventure.
In the evening session the LaSalle Explorers came in motivated to be the only Philly school to win.
“It was a lot of motivation,” said junior guard Ramon Galloway. “Everybody told each other, we’re the only Philly team left in the tournament. so we tried to keep that as motivatiosn so we can have our Philly pride and our LaSalle pride.”
LaSalle stayed in the game, but the Saint Louis Billikens had other ideas and took out the Explorers 78 – 71.
Let’s take a closer look.
#8 Massachusetts Minutemen 77 #1 Temple Owls 71
The Temple Owls had a 36 – 31 lead at halftime. The second half started with Massachusetts scoring the first 15 points of the half to establish control of the game. Despite a second half charge by Temple, the Minutemen held on to upset the top seeded Owls 77 – 71.
#4 St. Bonaventure Bonnies 71 #5 Saint Joseph’s Hawks 68
In a closely contested game that saw 99 ties and 24 lead changes, St. Bonaventure survived the two final possessions where Saint Joseph’s looked to tie or take the lead. Saint Joseph’s sophomore guard Langston Galloway was called for an offensive foul with the Hawks down by one point. After a Bonnies free throw junior guard Carl Jones had his last second attempt blocked by St. Bonaventure forward Andrew Nicholson. Saint Joseph’s loses in the quarterfinal round.
“We wanted to play tomorrow, that’s all,” Martelli said. We just wanted to play tomorrow and see how, you know, things would play out. But these players have never heard NCAA, they have never heard “bubble” they’ve just heard about what we talked about since August, win. Our intention was to win today and then let everything else take care of itself. This hurts. It hurts. You know, we get a break here we’ll continue to play basketball and that would be great for these guys because we have a lot to work on and we have a lot to work with.”
Jones scored a team-high 24 points, his third straight 20 point game and his eighth of the year. Galloway added 12 points along with sophomore forward Darius Quarles. The Hawks committed a season-low 4 turnovers, and had 4 blocks, their second-lowest total.
Nicholson scored a game-high 25 points and 10 rebounds. Guard Charlon Kloof had 19 points. Forward Youssou Ndoye took down 9 rebounds. St. Bonaventure out-rebounded Saint Joseph’s 35 – 26 and had a 46 – 22 points in the paint edge.
St. Bonaventure meets Massachusetts in the semifinal round. Saint Joseph’s finishes the year 20 – 13.
#2 Saint Louis Billikens 78 #7 LaSalle Explorers 71
LaSalle got down early in each half. The Explorers showed character in getting back into the game, but could never overcome the Saint Louis lead falling 78 – 71.
“We got off to a bad start,” said LaSalle Coach Dr. John Giannini. After that we outplayed them for good portions. We made more mistakes, and getting in the hole early hurt us.”
Saint Louis got off to a quick 14 – 2 start over LaSalle. The Explorers got their equilibrium to get back into the game trailing 35 – 29 at halftime. In the first eight minutes of the second half Saint Louis broke out to a 50 – 38 lead on a three-point play by guard Jordair Jett. LaSalle showed grit in coming back again. The Explorers went on a 14 – 4 run cutting the lead to 54 – 53 on a three by Senior Earl Pettis. Following a three by Saint Louis guard Mike McCall, LaSalle would bet back to back baskets from freshman forward Jerrell Wright to get the Explorers to within one. But LaSalle could not get the key stop as the Billikens closed out the game making 9 free throws.
“We just couldn’t get the extra stop when we needed it,” said Galloway.
Saint Louis used their strength inside out-scoring LaSalle 30 – 18 in the paint and 14 – 2 in second chance points. LaSalle did cause 15 Saint Louis turnovers giving the Explorers a 17 – 8 edge in points off turnovers.
Pettis led all scorers with 18 points. Junior guard Ramon Galloway scored 14 points and 4 assists,while freshman guard Tyreek Duren had 14.
Four Saint Louis players scored in double figures led by McCall with 16. Guard Kwamain Mitchell added 15, while forward Brian Conklin scored 14. Jett had 13 points.
Saint Louis will play the winner of the Dayton vs. Xavier game.
LaSalle finishes the year with a 20 – 11 record. The Explorers hope a phone call comes from the NIT.
“You’re judged by the company you keep, and you’re going to see a lot of household names in that tournament, and we would love to be among those household names,” said Giannini.
Written By: Glenn Papazian