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.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Paint Nite: Get drunk and make a painting…

At Paint Nite, New Yorkers can drink and make a painting at a New York City bar.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

National

Donut capers stymie police in Oregon

For more than a month, mysterious vandals have been smearing pastries on cars, depositing donuts in lawns and leaving cakes strewn about the streets.

International

U.S., European airlines halt flights to Israel due…

U.S. and European airlines halted flights to Tel Aviv in an effort to ensure passenger safety as turmoil in Israel and the region has intensified.

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

NFL

5 players to watch at Giants training camp

Metro takes a look at five players who will be on everyone’s mind when Giants training camp gets underway.

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.