Following their barrage of three-point baskets and subsequent slashing of Fordham at Tom Gola Arena in Philadelphia this past weekend, the La Salle Explorers traveled to Rochester, New York Wednesday night to take on the St. Bonaventure Bonnies at the Reilly Center. La Salle was coming off an incredible shooting performance on Saturday in which they drained 18 shots from beyond the arc, tying the all-time school record, and setting the high watermark in all of NCAA Division I basketball this season.
The Bonnies (11-12 overall, 4-6 Atlantic-10), despite coming into the game as a four point underdog at home, gave the Explorers (17-6, 7-3 A-10) all they could handle, forcing overtime and coming close to handing La Salle a crippling blow in terms of their NCAA Tournament hopes.
“This was as mentally tough a win and as resilient of a win as I’ve ever had,” Explorers head coach Dr. John Giannini said. “We showed great mental toughness. Tyreek was sick and was not his normal self. Jerrell [Wright] was hurt, Ramon got hurt, guys really stepped it up. We weren’t at 100% and playing a good team and found a way to win.”
Senior Ramon Galloway, in his quest for Atlantic-10 player of the year honors, scored a game-high 23 points, including 4 of 9 from three-point range and 7 of 8 from the free throw line, to go along with 6 rebounds and 5 assists, despite committing an uncharacteristic 6 turnovers. Junior Tyrone Garland added 16 points and 3 assists, while point guard Tyreek Duren chipped in with 8 points. Sophomore Steve Zack hauled in a game-high 10 rebounds off the bench.
La Salle led by as many as 16 points behind 7 of 14 shooting from beyond the arc in the first half, but the Bonnies slowly chipped away, going on a 16-4 run to open the second half, providing them with their first lead of the game, 43-42, and setting up a wild finish at the end of regulation. With 51 seconds remaining, Zack made a pair of free throws to put the Explorers up 61-59. St. Bonaventure, following a timeout, missed a three-pointer with 48 seconds left that would have given the hosts the win, but they managed to pull down the offensive rebound to retain possession, and Senior guard Eric Mosley, who led four Bonnies in double-figures with 15 points, then hit a jumper with 24 seconds on the clock to tie the game and send it into overtime.
Neither team hit a field goal until three minutes into the extra period when the Bonnies’ Chris Johnson made a lay-up to put them ahead 63-62 with 2:09 left. A three by Tyreek Duren gave the Explorers a two-point advantage but St. Bonaventure’s Charlton Kloof’s lay-up tied the game with 1:33 to play.
Duren and Garland combined to hit three free throws and with 13 seconds left, La Salle held a three-point lead. Mosley, coming out of a St. Bonaventure timeout, missed a three but La Salle Sophomore D.J. Peterson committed an ill-advised shooting foul on the play, setting the Bonnies up with three free throws and the potential to tie the game.
Mosley missed the first two shots and while trying to intentionally miss the third in hopes of his team grabbing the rebound to attempt a game-tying 3-pointer, had his shot rattle around the rim and fall in. The Bonnies were forced to foul and Garland made one of two from the charity stripe to ice the win for the Explorers.
With the ability to exhale after surviving the scare from St. Bonaventure, La Salle, who is in very good shape at this point in the season with a Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) ranking of 32, returns home to Tom Gola Arena on Saturday, February 16th, to square off with fellow Big 5 member St. Joe’s. Tip-off is scheduled for 1:00 PM.Tags: College Basketball, Dr. John Giannini, La Salle, NCAA, Ramon Galloway, Steve Zack, Tyreek Duren, Tyrone Garland