By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Gola Arena should be rocking tonight as La Salle hosts #22 Temple in Atlantic 10 and Big 5 action.
The Owls bring a ten-game winning streak into tonight, but the Explorers also have some momentum after that thrilling 72-71 win at UMass on Saturday. La Salle became the first team this season to win on the Minutemen’s home floor.
“It was a timely win,” La Salle head coach Dr. John Giannini tells KYW Newsradio. “Because every win in the Atlantic 10 seems to move you two, three, four spots in the standings. And of course we beat an outstanding team on their home court where they hadn’t lost all year. So it was important in the standings, it was a good achievement and just beating a good team is always a positive.”
Listen to Matt Leon’s interview with Dr. John Giannini:
That victory improved the Explorers to 18-9 on the season and 7-5 in the Atlantic 10. Temple is 21-5 and they sit alone a top the A-10 with their 10-2 league mark and Giannini says they are a difficult match-up at both ends of the floor.
“They make it hard on you to get good shots and even when you play good defense, they have that ability to pass and work and be patient to get the best shot possible. A lot of it comes down to shot selection, and they are just good on both ends of the court in terms of helping themselves that way.”
Giannini says this match-up with the Owls really is a great challenge and a great opportunity for his squad.
“Everyone in this league is good, but they have risen to the top so that makes it obviously extra special on top of the local rivalry. And a win would do a lot for us in terms of our post-season aspirations.”
These two teams met at the Liacouras Center back on January 18th. Temple won that match-up 76-70 behind 19 points and seven rebounds from junior forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson. Sophomore Tyreek Duren had 18 points for the Explorers in defeat.
Temple and La Salle tip-off at 7:00pm tonight at Gola Arena.