By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The La Salle Explorers will look to keep on rolling on Wednesday when they host Dayton.
The Explorers are 11-4 (1-1) in the Atlantic 10 after beating Richmond on Saturday, 71-59.
La Salle played great defense in this one, particularly on Richmond guard Darien Brothers. A 51% shooter from three on the season, the Explorers held him to a 1-6 performance from behind the arc (2-13 overall, 7 points).
“I thought (junior guard) Sam Mills, in particular, did a great job on him,” La Salle head coach Dr. John Giannini tells KYW Newsradio. “But we did a lot of switching, so all our guards had a big part in that. It’s interesting, kind of the hidden heroes in this are our scout team kids. We have a couple walk-ons, and a couple red shirts and a couple veterans chipped in. Kids like (freshman guard) O.J. Lewis and (freshman center) Jermaine Davis and some of the older guys who don’t mind going out there and doing what they can to help their team, like (redshirt junior guard) Taylor Dunn and (redshirt senior center) Garvin Hunt. They did a great job preparing us. They picked up that Princeton offense (that Richmond runs) in a couple days and really got us ready for this game.”
Listen to Matt Leon’s interview with Dr. John Giannini:
That win over the Spiders improved La Salle to 7-1 at Gola Arena this season. But home dominance is nothing new for the Explorers, as they went 14-3 on campus last season.
“It’s not something we talk about a lot,” Giannini says. “We try to make every game the same, road or home, regardless of who we play. But the best programs have an undeniable good record at home. They do have a home court advantage, and our students and our fans are helping us do that.”
Dayton is another good team in a deep Atlantic 10, but they have stumbled a bit as of late, losing three of four. The last two defeats came in their first two conference match-ups, at the hands of Butler and VCU.
“They’re big, they’re athletic, they have a great point guard, they play hard,” Giannini says. “They can score inside and they have the conference’s leading rebounder.”
That leading rebounder is junior forward Devin Oliver, who is pulling down more than nine rebounds a game. Senior Kevin Dillard is the point guard. He leads the Flyers in scoring (15 ppg) and assists (4.6 a contest).
Dayton has won four straight against the Explorers, including a 79-75 decision last season at UD Arena.
The Explorers and the Flyers will tip-off at 7:00pm on Wednesday night.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.