La Salle’s NCAA drought could end Sunday night

LaSalle v George Washington
Giannini is looking to guide La Salle back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1992.

What started out shaky could wind up with a massive celebration.

Following an early-season loss at home to Central Connecticut St., the La Salle Explorers didn’t seem headed for the NCAA tournament. It was just one loss, but it was the type of loss that hindered previous teams.

Not this one.

The Explorers won 21 games in the regular season and defeated ranked teams in consecutive games for the first time in 60 years. La Salle beat a top-10 team in Butler — the first time it registered a win over a top-10 team since 1980 — and then beat a ranked VCU team.

As the Explorers’ confidence soared, so did the mood on campus. Tom Gola Arena was packed with yellow-clad screaming students, something new for a program trying to get back to the Big Dance for the first time since 1992.

“We have mature guys like [Ramon Galloway], we have guys built in gradually,” said La Salle coach John Giannini. “We lost some games early this year that, like last year, we probably should have won. We feel that we can beat anyone and anyone can beat you, which is a healthy attitude.”

“We have not looked past anyone. You have guys realize that everyone has got good players. It’s one thing we talk about that you’ve got to bring it all the time. One of the things we talk about is to think like a coach, not a player and do it in a mature way.”

Once La Salle picked up those coveted wins over Butler and VCU, the NCAA talk began. It’s a topic embraced by Giannini.

“We want to make the NCAA tournament,” he said. “We do talk about it, but we talk far more about our upcoming opponent.”

Having senior leadership is always vital for a team trying to climb a hurdle it has been unable to leap. That senior is guard Ramon Galloway, who transferred to 20th and Olney from the University of South Carolina.

Galloway is their emotional leader and he’s hoping to see La Salle’s name in the field of 68. The Explorers take on Butler Friday (2:30 p.m. in Brooklyn) in the second round of the Atlantic 10 tournament. If they win the whole thing, La Salle is guaranteed a spot in the NCAAs. If not, they’ll wait to hear if their name is called Sunday night for an at-large bid.

“It’s having an edge, it’s having a will to compete and having something bigger than individual accomplishments,” Galloway said. “We have to work to put La Salle back to where it used to be.”


Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.


Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.


OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…


Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.


Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."


'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…


Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.


Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.


Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.


Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.


VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.


#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.


Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.


Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.