La Salle loses battle of boards and outright Big Five title

Temple's Khalif Wyatt (1) does his best to fight off LaSalle's Tyrone Garland (left) as he is bringing the ball up the court. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)
Temple's Khalif Wyatt (1) does his best to fight off LaSalle's Tyrone Garland (left) as he is bringing the ball up the court. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)
Posted: February 23, 2013

The prize was out there for La Salle, the outright Big Five championship, its first since the glory days of Lionel Simmons in 1990.

But the Explorers' chance for history was lost in a flurry of rebounds by Temple, a good percentage of them coming at the offensive boards, and they settled for a share of the City Series crown with the Owls at 3-1.

In an 82-74 loss to Temple on Thursday night at the Liacouras Center, La Salle was hammered, 42-27, in the rebound department and yielded 19 second-chance points off 15 offensive rebounds. As the Explorers gamely made a run to try to whittle a 22-point deficit, Temple's Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson hit a pair of tip-ins within a minute.

"Those tip-ins were a result of them getting by us on the dribble," La Salle coach John Giannini said. "Rahlir's man would go to help or take a charge and Rahlir was without someone on him. When a good rebounder is left like that, that's what's going to happen. That all originated from getting beaten off the dribble."

Hollis-Jefferson finished with career highs of 23 points and 18 rebounds.

Giannini refused to allow his players to be interviewed after the game.

The rebounding helped the Owls score 18 consecutive points late in the first half for a 39-25 lead. Even though the Explorers made a run to cut the margin to nine, they still allowed Temple to shoot 59 percent in the second half.

"We couldn't stop them all night," Giannini said. "Their size and strength bothered us. When we went small, they beat us off the dribble. Whatever we tried to do, they countered it. We went big at the start of the second half, they scored. . . . They had an answer for absolutely everything that we did."

La Salle's guards had a rough night. Tyreek Duren picked up two fouls in the opening 4 minutes, 48 seconds and sat out stretches in the first half when the Owls were taking charge. Ramon Galloway, the team's leading scorer, scored 18 points but shot just 4 for 15.

The loss dropped La Salle to 18-7 and 8-4 in the Atlantic Ten, tied for fourth place. The top four teams receive first-round byes in the conference tournament, and Giannini would like the Explorers to get over this loss quickly.

"I told them, 'You guys have seen me really upset after losses,' " he said. "But I said, 'We just don't have any time to be that upset here.'

"This is not a bad loss. It's a disappointing loss, we might have played badly. In the big scope of things, losing to Temple is something a lot of great teams have done. So we have to move on. That's what we told them."


Contact Joe Juliano at jjuliano@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @joejulesinq.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|