La Salle sophomore Tyreek Duren hit two big free throws down the stretch and ended up with 12 points, and senior Earl Pettis, who needs just eight points to reach 1,000 for his career, had 14 points. The win spoiled Senior Night for GW guard Tony Taylor, an all-league player who had five turnovers in the first half and did not score until midway through the second half.
"The game was so hard to win," said La Salle coach John Giannini. "We are very, very fortunate. We did make mistakes. We had some turnovers late that hurt us. We just had to grind it out."
The Explorers won their 19th game, their most since winning 20 in 1991-92. La Salle is hoping to find its groove with the postseason around the corner.
"That is our goal, to try and get a streak going," said Pettis, who also had six rebounds.
"La Salle played good defense tonight," said GW's Taylor, who had to contend with the defense of Ramon Galloway and company.
"I thought we did a good job with the 1-3-1. But give them credit. They played hard," GW coach Mike Lonergan said. "They are an explosive team. They are a tough matchup for us. They are playing four guards at all times. They have a lot of talent at the guard position. You have to take advantage of the inside."
The Explorers led, 57-47, with 3 minutes, 17 seconds to play before going cold from the field and the foul line in the closing minutes.
Taylor made a layup with 21.6 seconds left to cut the lead to 57-56. But Duren hit a free throw with 16.4 to go to make it 58-56. After Taylor missed a layup, Duren made another free throw to make it 59-56 with 2.4 seconds left. After a turnover by the Colonials, Devon White hit a free throw to account for the final score.
La Salle (19-11, 8-7 Atlantic 10) broke a two-game losing streak and improved to 6-8 on the road. David Pellom came off the bench to score 16 for the Colonials (10-19, 5-10) and Taylor finished with just six points.
La Salle hosts St. Bonaventure on Saturday in its regular-season finale.