PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/5/2013 – In a basketball game coaches will tell you that turnovers will hurt you. The University of Pennsylvania committed 21 in the game. The LaSalle Explorers took advantage and came away with a 74 – 57 win at the Gola Arena. The LaSalle trio of guards, Ramon Galloway, Tyreek Duren and Tyrone Garland combined to score 49 points for the Explorers, and had 9 of the 11 team steals. LaSalle coach Dr. John Giannini felt the team defense had great impact on the contest.
“Turnovers are a big deal,” said Giannini. “In basketball, football, it’s very hard to win if you are having a problem with turnovers. Turnovers hurt any team, but we have enough quickness to cause turnovers. We don’t give up threes, and we turn people over alot. We’re in the top third in the country of being a defensive team. If we ever get our two-point defense a little better, we could be a heck of a team.”
LaSalle was not efficient with the ball either with 13 miscues that led to 10 Penn points. However, LaSalle scored 18 points off turnovers. Going into the game the Explorers wanted to defensive pressure on the young Penn team. In the first half the Red and Blue turned the ball over 15 times that propelled the host Explorers to a 31 – 26 halftime lead. It has been an ongoing problem for the youthful Quakers.
“We are trying to not allow experience to be a cheap crutch,” said Penn Coach Jerome Allen. “Our standards are at a certain level. For these guys, being thirteen games in, playing since September, the unforced errors, some things are not acceptable.”
“They can practice against it, but until the game you don’t know what it (LaSalle defensive pressure) is until you get out there on the court and it bothers you,” said Junior LaSalle guard Tyreek Duren.
In the first eight minutes of the second half La Salle pulled away coming out of the locker room with a 19 – 9 run to expand the lead to 18 points at 55 – 37 with 11:59 on the clock. The run was keyed by Junior guard Tyreek Duren who scored 13 points in the run, 8 consecutive at one point. The lead would grow to as many as 24 points.
“I played within the flow of the game,” said Duren. “My teammates were driving by people and found me wide open.”
Duren had 17 points making 7 of 15 shots. Galloway also scored 17 points. He was not as efficient from the floor, but did make 9 of 13 free throws while grabbing 7 rebounds and recording 4 steals. Garland, playing in his first Big Five game, scored 15 points and handed out 6 assists. For Penn Freshman guard Tony Hicks scored a team-high 14 points. Junior guard Miles Cartwright scored 11 points. Sophomore guard Camryn Crocker handed out a team-high 6 assists.The Penn guards accounted for 18 turnovers.
The Explorers improve to 10 – 3 on the season, and are 2 – 0 in the Big Five. Winning the City Series would have great meaning to this team and to the program.
“I think it’s big,” said Duren. “We looked up a the banners and saw the last time we won the Big Five. The last time we won the Big Five, that was the year they made it to the NCAA Tournament. Every year whoever wins the Big Five goes to the NCAA Tournament. We were talking, why can’t we be that next banner. When we leave we can say we were the last team that won the Big Five and went to the tournament. People will remember us.”
LaSalle last won the Big Five in 1989-90. Giannini is mindful that his team is only halfway there, and challenges lie ahead.
“If you win Philadelphia, you are nationally relevant, and we’re halfway there,” said Giannini. “Someone asked me how I feel about being at the midway point. I said, how would you feel about your surgeon did a good job halfway through, but slips up a little bit in the second half? It doesn’t mean anything. You evaluate your season when it’s over. We have a long way to go.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian