La Salle beats Hartford to end losing streak

La Salle's Steve Zack shoots the basketball during practice at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA on Wednesday, March 27, 2013. ( Yong Kim / Staff Photographer )
La Salle's Steve Zack shoots the basketball during practice at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA on Wednesday, March 27, 2013. ( Yong Kim / Staff Photographer ) (Daily News / Inquirer)
Posted: December 06, 2013

By midway through the second half of La Salle's 75-62 win over Hartford, the backs of the two folding chairs belonging to John Giannini had both been knocked askew.

Their state was a testament to the number of times the La Salle coach had abruptly risen from his seat or plopped down in a hurry. But even for the typically fretful Giannini, there was little to worry about Wednesday night, at least on the scoreboard at Tom Gola Arena.

The struggling Explorers (4-4) found an opponent in Hartford (2-7) going through even worse early-season woes. They took advantage to snap a two-game losing streak in their first action in nine days.

"We had guys play more the way we're used to seeing them play. More the way we want to see them play," Giannini said. "We were much better."

Giannini's list of those playing better began with Tyrone Garland, who was back in a role he excelled at last season: coming off the bench.

Garland, who entered 4 minutes, 13 seconds into the first half, led La Salle with 17 points.

"I think Tyrone has played a little better off the bench," Giannini said. "We give the other team more headaches by bringing some talented, really explosive guys off the bench."

Wednesday, that included Khalid Lewis, who had nine points.

Garland had started six of the team's seven games this season, and he came in leading the Explorers in scoring at 16.9 points per game. He started just once last year during La Salle's run to the Sweet 16.

"Whatever works for the team, I'm in," Garland said. "I'm pretty comfortable with that [substitute] role."

What worked early in the second half was the inside game.

La Salle's first 13 points of the half came from forwards either inside or at the line. Steve Zack scored eight of his 15 points during the stretch, and the Explorers opened up a 12-point lead.

"You do whatever's working," Zack said. "And both Jerrell [Wright] and I felt we had an advantage down there early, so we really attacked it."

Mark Nwakamma led Hartford with 23 points.

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