By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After winning a Big 5 matchup against Penn on Tuesday night, the La Salle Explorers are on the road Saturday night for an Atlantic 10 matchup against Dayton.
The Explorers have won six straight, including impressive victories over a couple of conference contenders, Xavier and UMass.
But it doesn’t get any easier with this visit to Dayton. The 12-5 Flyers have already won over Temple, at the Liacouras Center, and they are always difficult at home (8-2).
La Salle head coach Dr. John Giannini scouts the Flyers:
“I think they are just a good, overall team, offensively and defensively,” he tells KYW Newsradio. “They are well-coached, they are talented, they play hard. I love their point guard: Kevin Dillard is a guy who makes everything happen for them. He leads them in scoring and leads them in assists. Whenever you have the point guard with the ball and that person makes more plays and more shots than anyone else, that certainly has to be a focal point for trying to stop him and winning the game.”
Hear Matt Leon’s full interview with Coach John Giannini in this CBS Philly SportsPod…
A redshirt junior, Dillard averages 12.3 points and 5.6 assists per game.
And while Dillard is the main focus, Giannini says, junior center Matt Kavanaugh is also playing well for Dayton.
“So it’s not like they’re one dimensional — they run a lot of different things. So what I told our team is, this is a fundamental game. You have to get back in transition, not give up easy baskets. You have to jump to the ball because they set a lot of back screens, and if you are standing on defense you’re going to get hit and give up a lay-up.”
But La Salle doesn’t give up many lay-ups. Their defense has been tremendous this season, and it’s a big reason for their 13-4 record. The Explorers allow just 62.5 points per game and opponents are shooting under 39 percent from the field against them.
Offensively, four Explorers are checking in in double figures this season, with junior guard Ramon Galloway leading the way at just under 15 points per game.
La Salle and Dayton tip off in Ohio at 7:00pm Saturday night.