Fans that piled into the Tom Gola could not be disappointed with the La Salle basketball team’s play today as the team demonstrated deep offensive power, outscoring the Crimson Hawks 87-57.
Despite the team having a difficult time defending IUP in the first few minutes of play, the Explorers made up for it in their offense and the Crimson Hawks had a hard team keeping within 10 points of the blue and gold.
The team had consistent shooting throughout the first half and led IUP 50-28. The Explorers were 5-5 in free throws, and Taylor Dunn was 4-4 shooting.
After the first half the Explorers started off sprinting, going on a 10-2 run making it a 60-30 game.
Coach Dr. John Giannini was most impressed by this run because he claimed often times a team will come out slow after the halftime break.
IUP didn’t back down and managed to go on a scoring run of eight points with two minutes left in the game. But the damage was already done, and IUP struggled to ever close the scoring gap within 30 points throughout the entire second half.
Dunn was the top scorer leading with 18 points. He was followed by Tyrone Garland with 16, and Tyreek Duren with 13.
Jerrell Wright showed no signs of coming off an injury as he was aggressive at the net with a total of seven rebounds.
Nonstarters for La Salle, Jermaine Davis, O.J Lewis, and Hank Davis all got time in the game. O.J came off the bench with four minutes to go, and within seconds got an assist from Davis. J. Davis amassed a total of four points.
In his Explorer debut, with two minutes left Hank Davis entered the game. His three point shot made him 1-1 on the day.
Steve Zack played consistently throughout the game finishing with one block and six rebounds.
Freshman Amar Stukes got to see the court today playing for a total of 22 points. He was 2-4 from the field. The question of whether or not Stukes will redshirt is entirely dependent upon the health of Khlaid Lewis and Sam Mills according to Giannini.
Lewis is currently in a cast due to a broken metacarpal, and Mills recently sprained his ankle. The decision on Stukes should come within the next week.
For the team it felt good to finally play in a real game instead of scrimmaging against each other.
“It was a good test to start the season,” said Duren.
For Dunn it meant a lot the team played with the intensity they always discuss in practice. “We’re ready to pick up where we left off,” he said. Commenting on his own performance today the senior mentioned that the team shares the ball equally and, “today it just happened to be me.”
Giannini was pleased with the performance of his team. “I learned that they were ready to play today and that’s an important step in the right direction.”
The direction the team is headed is forward, as Duren stated no one on the team is even mentioning the success of the 2012-2013 season.
“Last year isn’t going to help us get to the NCAA tournament this year. We have to treat each opponent as if they’re the same.”
Giannini mentioned the team has to work on maintaining an interest in defense, but new handcheck rules make it harder to get more turnovers.
“The new handcheck rules will change the game of basketball in the biggest way since the three point line,” said Giannini.
The Explorers will have a week to continue to work on defense and adapt to the hand check rules before playing the Manhattan Jaspers next Saturday Nov 9 at 2 p.m.