By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – For the first time in a week, the La Salle Explorers will take to the court tonight as they host Boston University.
In their last appearance, on December 22nd, La Salle rolled at Central Connecticut State 85-59 to pick up a nice road win. But it has been at Gola Arena where the Explorers have done the most damage. Heading into tonight, La Salle is 5-0 at home – they actually have a seven-game home win streak dating back to last season which ties the arena record – and head coach Dr. John Giannini wants that trend to continue.
Listen to Matt Leon’s interview with Dr. Giannini:
“I think it’s hugely important to have a home court advantage. I think if you look at any successful program they win the majority of their home games. I don’t think there is any way around that. So hopefully we are taking steps in that direction.”
One key to success this season for La Salle has been contributions from a lot of different players. Freshman forward Jerrell Wright has really stepped up lately. In fact, he is the reigning Atlantic-10 Rookie of the Week after averaging 16.0 points and 8.5 rebounds in two games last week. Giannini likes what he sees from the 6’8″, Dobbins Tech product.
“Jerrell is a wonderful young player and a wonderful person. I think he is going to be one of the better players that I have had the privilege of coaching when it’s all said and done. He makes us a better team right now. He’s starting, he’s playing well. He’s been getting in foul trouble or he would be playing even better. He’s learning how to play defense at this level.”
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Boston University comes to town with a 4-8 record, but Giannini says that’s not reflective of what they bring to the table.
“They’ve played a tough schedule. They’ll be ready to play a team like ours based on that experience. (Sophomore guard) D.J. Irving is a Philadelphia kid who is just a wonderful player, (senior guard) Darryl Partin actually transferred from La Salle so we know he can flat out score. And they have other good players, so it will be a great challenge.”
Partin leads the Terriers in scoring at just under 21 points a game. Irving is 2nd at more than 12 a contest. Boston University’s season has been a season of four game runs. The Terriers started 0-4, then won four straight, but now find themselves on a four game losing streak. They are also very familiar with Philadelphia, as this is their third trip to the city this season. They already have losses to Villanova and St. Joe’s on their resume.
Tip-off tonight at Gola Arena is set for 7:00pm.