PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/11/2017 – The game was important for the La Salle Explorers who are sitting just outside the top four in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The first four seeds advance to the conference tournament quarterfinals. One of the teams they need to catch is the Richmond Spiders who occupied third place at tip-off while La Salle came in tied for the fifth spot, one place behind.
The Explorers missed the chance to move up as the Spiders got the last run in the contest to earn a 64 – 52 win in front of 3,400 at the Gola Arena. Richmond was the stronger team.
“Richmond set a tone of aggressiveness on defense that we just didn’t respond to,” said La Salle Coach Dr. John Giannini. “They were by far the tougher team.”
At halftime Richmond held a 30 – 24 lead. La Salle tied the game at 30 less than 3 minutes in to the half. The Spiders answered with an 11 – 0 run to lead 41 – 30 at the 16 minute mark. Three and a half minutes later La Salle began to respond and scored 11 straight points to tie the game at 45 midway through the second half.
“It was tied,” Giannini said. “Then all of a sudden we were down 8.”
The dagger run started when T.J. Cline had a three-point play that started a 17 – 2 Richmond run that tilted the contest in their favor.
La Salle committed 24 turnovers which gave a 26 – 12 edge in points off miscues to the competition. Every Explorer who played committed at least one turnover. Not good.
B.J. Johnson led the Explorers with 18 points, however Jordan Price and Cleon Roberts were limited. Price scored 4 points, and did not sink his first basket until 13:20 remained in the game. Roberts contributed 3. As a team LSU made 21 of 52 for 40.4%, just 4 of 20 from beyond the arc.
For the Spiders Cline scored a game-high 21 points and pulled down 8 rebounds. Nick Sherod contributed 16 points, and ShawnDre’ Jones had 12. Richmond converted 26 of 59 field goal attempts for 44.1% shooting.
“They (Richmond) didn’t give us anything,” Giannini said.
I watched a team that couldn’t dribble, pass or shoot, and I am not sure why.”
La Salle drops to 13 – 10 overall and are 7 – 5 in the Atlantic 10. The team will travel to Olean on Wednesday to play St. Bonaventure before returning home next week for a A10 and Big 5 match against Saint Joseph’s.
Richmond (15 – 9, 9 – 3) keeps pace staying in third place in the league with a chance to move into a tie for second depending upon how VCU fares in their game.
Written By: Glenn Papazian