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
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.