"Some people have to experience some failure and go through some tough times to really step up and say, 'I don't want to be like this anymore,' " Giannini said. "You're going to see certain people play very well for us now."
Murray was not available for comment.
Against Richmond, Giannini received 30 strong minutes of effort that had La Salle fans thinking upset. The final score did not reflect the Explorers' performance.
The difference was in talent: Richmond (13-4, 2-0) has loads of it, and the majority of La Salle's was sitting courtside. The NBA scouts in attendance couldn't evaluate Murray but saw plenty of Richmond's Kevin Anderson (27 points) and Justin Harper (25 points, 10 rebounds).
La Salle led, 55-50, with 11 minutes, 56 seconds remaining. But Anderson, the reigning Atlantic Ten player of the year, scored seven points during a 16-2 run that broke the game open and gave Richmond a 66-57 lead. The Explorers came unraveled and scored only 11 points over the game's final 10 minutes.
With Murray on the bench, Giannini employed a piecemeal rotation and received inspired performances from role players like Earl Pettis (12 points), Steve Weingarten (six points, seven rebounds), Tyreek Duren (10 points) and Devon White (eight points, six rebounds), along with deep-reserve Cole Stefan (15 points). The game was tied at 32 at halftime as La Salle put a legitimate scare into a very good Richmond team.
Giannini explained that Murray was benched because of "several things in the [loss to George Washington] that I wasn't pleased with and even before that."
In La Salle's first eight games, Murray averaged 17.1 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks per game. Since a double-overtime loss to Oklahoma State at the Palestra on Dec. 9, however, he has averaged 13.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in a seven-game stretch that produced just two wins.
"I know how [Murray] responds when things hit rock bottom," Giannini said. "He really steps it up. . . . When he goes through something tough where he feels like he's letting himself and others down, he really does respond.
"I really think we're going to play well from here on in. I really believe that."
Jerrell Williams finished with eight points and became the 49th player in La Salle history to reach 1,000 points. Richmond's Dan Geriot, a Springfield High product, scored 13 points.