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

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

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.

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.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: Lesbians, men most likely…

Lesbians, men most likely to achieve orgasm Location: U.S. Study subjects: 2,850 people Results: Whether you find it shocking or not, a new study reports that…

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

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

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