By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The La Salle Explorers play their third straight home game to open the season on Saturday as they welcome Siena to Gola Arena.
La Salle split its first two games. A double-overtime loss to Manhattan was followed by a 73-67 win on Tuesday in a rare 9:00am tip-off against Quinnipiac.
“We really didn’t have many surprises,” La Salle head coach Dr. John Giannini tells KYW Newsradio. “We knew Manhattan was poised for a special year. They are extremely veteran, very deep, very talented. They were tremendous. We’re disappointed with some of the things we did. But we bounced back nicely against Quinnipiac. They were number #1 or #2 in every rebounding statistic you could dream of last year. So they presented a challenge and we responded nicely.”
The Explorers are getting very balanced scoring here in the early going, with five players averaging double figures. Senior guard Tyrone Garland is leading the way, pouring in 20 points a contest. Fellow senior guard Tyreek Duren is adding 17 points a game.
Siena brings an 0-2 record into this game. They’ve lost to Albany and Vermont, but Giannini says the Saints gave both teams all they could handle.
“They’ve been playing people really tough,” Giannini says. “And the way they’ve been doing it is with a new coach (Jimmy Patsos) and new players (seven freshmen on the roster) and incredible energy and intensity. They are young, they are unproven, but they are playing extremely hard and they have young talent and fresh legs and they really go at you hard in terms of effort.”
La Salle is 5-3 all-time against Siena. That includes an 80-52 win last season in Albany, New York.
Saturday’s game will tip-off at 3:00pm.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.