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La Salle Set To Run With Iona

(La Salle basketball coach John Giannini.  File photo)

(La Salle basketball coach John Giannini. File photo)

Matt Leon Matt Leon
Coming on board at KYW was a homecoming for Matt Leon. Born and raised...
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By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – La Salle will look to get back on the winning track on Thursday night as they host Iona at Gola Arena.

The 6-2 Explorers are coming off a 74-66 loss Saturday against a Bucknell team that is now 11-1 on the season.

“I was really impressed with them, because they were able to handle our pressure,” La Salle head coach Dr. John Giannini tells KYW Newsradio.  “They are a veteran team, they are a proven team.  I could go on and on about everything they’ve accomplished over the last year and a half, but basketball people know they are outstanding.”

In that loss to Bucknell, 6’1″, junior guard Tyrone Garland made his Explorer debut.  A transfer from Virginia Tech, the Philadelphia native and John Bartram High product scored nine points in 22 minutes.

“He greatly improves our depth because he gives us another high quality player,” Giannini says.  “He’s very quick and he’s very similar to the guards we have.  He can dribble, pass and shoot, he can defend.  He’s very athletic.  But there is something to be said about the process of trying to work your way into a team that’s having success, and that’s what we’re trying to feel out right now.”

The Gaels of Iona are 5-4 heading into this game and they have won two straight coming in.  Giannini says they can fill it up offensively.

“They have two outstanding scorers in (senior guard Lamont) ‘MoMo’ Jones and (junior guard) Sean Armand,” Giannini says.  “Both of them started last year on a team that won a ton of games and made it to the NCAA Tournament.  They can really score.  They press, they run, they play four guards, they spread the floor.  I like the way they play.  They are aggressive, they run some things that are interesting, but the bottom line is they want to get the first good shot they can and they are tremendously aggressive.  They’ve got a lot of shooters and they have some good playmakers, so they’re a true challenge.”

Jones leads the team in scoring at 22.3 points per game, Armand is right behind him pouring in 20 a contest.

La Salle and Iona will tip-off at 7:00pm.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.

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