By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The La Salle Explorers are in the midst of a week-long break between games. They don’t return to the court until Saturday when they travel to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, to battle Bucknell out of the Patriot League.
The last time we saw head coach Dr. John Giannini’s squad, they got a jumper from junior guard Tyreek Duren with 1.2 seconds left on Saturday to win a thriller over Northeastern, 66-64.
“Anytime you win a close game, you feel good that you did some things that require a mental toughness and poise,” Giannini tells KYW Newsradio. “So I do feel good about that. Looking at the tape, we didn’t play as well defensively as you would hope.”
That win improved the Explorers to 6-1 on the season.
“We expect to win close games and have success right now,” Giannini says. “Fortunately, we’ve made a couple shots in close games and done what we’ve wanted to in terms of building up a resume and a record.”
Giannini talks about staying sharp with a week between games.
“I think you need to keep your edge,” Giannini says. “You certainly don’t want to regress. I think an extra day off, which we are taking this week, but at the same time, really going hard when you do go will hopefully help our team, and keep our edge and keep our effort at a high level.”
Bucknell is actually going eleven days between games. They last played on December 4th when they beat Kent State. The Bison sit at 8-1 and they have wins at Purdue, and versus George Mason and New Mexico State to their credit already. Giannini says they also have a star in a 6’11”, senior center, who is averaging 18.8 points and 11.4 rebounds a game.
“Mike Muscala, right now, if you go to the mock draft boards, he is projected to be an NBA draft choice,” Giannini says. “They’re veteran. They have four out of five starters back from last year’s NIT team that beat Arizona in the NIT.”
La Salle leads the all-time series between the two schools, 18-5. Last season the Explorers dropped the hammer on Bucknell, winning 78-52.
The Explorers and the Bison will tip-off at 7:00pm on Saturday night.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.