By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Gola Arena should be rocking on Saturday afternoon as La Salle hosts VCU in a big Atlantic 10 game.
The Explorers will be looking to bounce back after a rough trip to Olean, New York, and a 66-51 loss to St. Bonaventure on Wednesday night.
“We struggled in every way against St. Bonaventure,” La Salle head coach Dr. John Giannini tells KYW Newsradio. “They are 8-1 at home this year and, as everyone knows, everyone in the A-10 had a real good non-conference season. So it was a tough road game and we hope to play better.”
The loss dropped the Explorers to 11-7 on the season and 3-1 in the A-10.
Virginia Commonwealth has become one of the country’s top programs over the past several years. This season the Rams are 15-4 (3-1 in the A-10) and they are coming off a road win at Dayton on Wednesday.
“They are extremely talented, they are extremely deep, they are extremely athletic,” Giannini says. “They have good guards and they have good big guys. And of course, their style of play is extremely intense. They just play hard within the structure of their system. So they are going to press, they have a few different presses, they are going to really run, they are going to drive the ball at the basket, they are going to crash the offensive glass. So there success is for a lot of good reasons.”
La Salle will look to continue to do a great job of defending home court. The Explorers are 7-1 at Gola Arena this season.
“It will be a great home game at La Salle,” Giannini says. “We’ve had a really good home record over the last several years (33-6 in last 39 home games). We’ve been losing just a game or two at home each year, against a good schedule. We’re (11-1) in out last (12) A-10 home games, which says a whole lot given the strength of this conference. It’s going to be a great challenge, but hopefully our students and our alums come out and support us and we’ll be able to get a great win.”
The Explorers beat the Rams last season down in Richmond, 69-61 on January 26th. VCU was ranked in the top 20 at the time.
La Salle and VCU will tip-off at noon on Saturday.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.