Duren drives La Salle’s resurgence

Posted: February 21, 2012

Tyreek Duren is a classic point guard.

The La Salle sophomore dribbles down the court as if he doesn't see his teammate crossing midcourt.

But Duren sees the other Explorer. He almost always does.

And at just the right time, Duren zips a perfect pass that results in a score.

"We have complete confidence when he has the ball in his hands," La Salle coach John Giannini said.

Duren's ability to get teammates shots, make plays, and run the team is the main reason the Explorers (18-9, 7-5 Atlantic Ten, 1-2 Big Five) are having their best season since the 1991-92 campaign.

"He's one of the gifted point guards that can make something out of nothing when a play breaks down," Giannini said. "And he's unselfish."

Calling him unselfish might be an understatement.

The 6-foot, 180-pound guard rarely looks to score. He takes more pleasure in playing defense and distributing the ball.

"I really don't care about points as long as everybody else is doing well," Duren said. "If we are winning and everything, I'm cool.

"If there's a situation where we need a bucket, I'll try to take over. But scoring has never been a factor to me."

A prime example of his ability to turn it on came during Saturday's 72-71 victory at Massachusetts.

After missing his lone first-half shot, Duren scored 15 points after intermission. Five of his points came in the final minute.

Next up for Duren and the Explorers is No. 22-ranked Temple (21-5, 10-2, 2-0), which fully appreciates that limiting Duren is vital in the A-10 and Big Five showdown Wednesday at the Tom Gola Arena.

Duren had 18 points in the teams' Jan. 18 meeting, a 76-70 win by Temple.

For the season, Duren is averaging 13.7 points, 4.2 assists, and 1.9 steals. He's also shooting 81.8 percent from the foul line.

"I'm a big Tyreek Duren fan," Owls coach Fran Dunphy said. "He's a terrific basketball player. That would be my compliment of him.

"He doesn't have any weaknesses."

For that reason, Dunphy said, Duren "is a tough guy for us to defend and a tough guy for us to run our offense around."

Note: Temple has won six straight and nine of the last 10 meetings with La Salle. The Explorers' only victory during that stretch was a 70-63 decision on Feb. 26, 2009.

Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 215-854-2939, kpompey@phillynews.com, or @pompeysgridlock on Twitter. Read his blog, "Owls Inq," at www.philly.com/owlsinq