By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – La Salle looks to end the regular season in style on Saturday afternoon as they host St. Bonaventure at Gola Arena.
Last time out, the Explorers gutted out a 60-56 win down in Washington, D.C. over George Washington. The victory improved La Salle to 19-11 on the season and it clinched a home game for the Explorers in the first-round of next week’s Atlantic 10 Tournament. The 19 wins are the most for La Salle basketball since the 1991-92 squad rolled up 20, and Explorers head coach Dr. John Giannini would love to hit the 20-win plateau this season against the Bonnies.
“I think it’s a legitimate milestone in college basketball. I think 20 wins gives you a good season in the great majority of places, so it is certainly something that we would like to do.”
Listen to KYW’s Matt Leon’s interview with Dr. John Giannini:
But it won’t be easy as St. Bonaventure is 17-10 and their 10-5 conference mark has allowed them to clinch a first-round bye in the A-10 tourney.
“St. Bonaventure is truly an excellent team,” Giannini says. “They don’t turn it over, they’re strong, they’re very physical, they’re big, they rebound. And they’ve got guys who can make threes.”
The Bonnies are led by 6’9″ senior forward Andrew Nicholson, who is a candidate for A-10 Player of the Year. He is averaging 17.9 points and 8.3 rebounds a game and he’s also blocked 45 shots this season. Last time out he tortured St. Joe’s for 32 points and 14 rebounds in 42 minutes of work in a 98-93 double-overtime win on Wednesday.
“Everyone has tried things against him,” Giannini says. “They’ve double-teamed him, and they’ve tried to deny him. But they do a great job of getting him the ball. Even if he doesn’t get it right where he wants to, he has no problem stepping our further and facing up the basket.”
Prior to the game, the Explorers will honor seniors Earl Pettis and Matt Sheehan.
La Salle and St. Bonaventure will tip-off at 2:00pm at Gola Arena.