La Salle Explorers say hello to Hollywood

La Salle v Ole Miss
Tyreek Duren and La Salle got a much-needed day off Monday in anticipation of Thursday night’s Sweet 16 game against Wichita State.

No sleep until Los Angeles.

After winning three games in five days, two of them coming down to the final possession, the Explorers finally got a chance to put heads to pillows. La Salle coach John Giannini gave his players a day off Monday as they prepare to take on No. 9 Wichita St. Thursday night in a Sweet 16 match-up.

“I didn’t push the guys, we didn’t talk about Wichita State, I gave them a day to decompress,” said Giannini Tuesday on a conference call with the Philadelphia media.

Giannini kept it easy on his guys Tuesday, too. The Explorers watched some video on Wichita St. in the morning, endured a light practice, then enjoyed a leisurely night at an outdoor mall in Santa Monica, Calif.

According to Giannini, rest is key at this point in the season. But don’t confuse rest with complacency. That’s not what got La Salle to its deepest NCAA tournament run since 1955.

“We talked about not being happy at this point, and to want more,” said Giannini, recalling yesterday’s meeting. “We talked about the challenge Wichita State imposed. We’re going to be focused and hungry.”

La Salle has been caught in a whirlwind tour for the past 36 hours, quickly gathering local and national media attention. If not for Florida Gulf Coast, they’d likely be the country’s adopted Cinderella.

“The media attention is a wonderful thing to have to deal with, but it is demanding,” Giannini admitted. “It’s great for our program, it’s great for the university, but it does make game preparation difficult because your schedule is always interrupted. But, it’s a wonderful problem to have.”

 

Road warriors steam ahead

 

The Explorers have been living out of suitcases since the tournament started. With games in Dayton, Ohio, and Kansas City, it didn’t make sense to return to Philadelphia.

The team would have had to take an overnight flight Sunday, then a cross-country flight early Tuesday.

“It’s always better to have your focus on basketball,” Giannini said. “The alternative was just not attractive to us.”

If they can get two wins out in Los Angeles, the team will be able to book a flight back to campus. Once there, they’ll finally get the hero’s welcome they deserve — and chants for the famed, “Southwest Philly Floater,” the game-winning shot by Tyrone Garland that has taken on a life of its own.

“I thought it was funny, when I heard it and understood what he was talking about,” Giannini said. “It’s the kind of thing a Philly kid would say.”

 

Size might not matter

 

It’s no secret that La Salle relies on a small, guard-heavy lineup.

In their first three wins in this tournament, that has served them well. Against Wichita State, it could pose a problem. The Shockers boast four guys taller than La Salle’s biggest inside threat, 6-foot-8 Jerrell Wright.

Or does it?

While coach John Giannini admitted a size disadvantage on paper, he pointed out that only one Wichita State big, 6-foot-9 Cleanthony Early, is a scorer.

“They have more big bodies,” Giannini said, “but when you look at scorers down low, they really have one big guy [No. 11].”

 

Stats don’t lie, right?

 

La Salle is 23-0 this season when tied or leading with five minutes or less to play. They are also 7-1 in games decided by four or fewer points, including two, 2-point wins in the NCAA tournament that came down to last possessions.

“Our greatest keys right now are mental edges, nothing to do with shooting,” Giannini said. “”Our biggest strength right now is our will to win.”

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…