By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The La Salle Explorers will open Atlantic-10 play on Thursday night as they welcome George Washington to Gola Arena.

La Salle is 7-6 on the season and they come into this match-up with some momentum after beating Penn last time out on Saturday, 76-57.

“We played well,” La Salle head coach Dr. John Giannini tells KYW Newsradio. “There is nothing unique about it. I’ve mentioned all along that (senior guard) Tyreek Duren is starting to come back into form and (forward) Jerrell Wright had a great game. We really defended, we really rebounded. So we just played good basketball, we played very hard and it was a good step for us.”

Duren was really hampered early in the season by plantar fasciitis in his right heel, but now he’s looking healthier and that makes life a lot better for the Explorers.

“There’s a huge effect when you have a high level point guard because those guys, by definition, make the people around them better,” Giannini says. “So when Tyreek’s playing well, guys get better shots and our team has a high level of confidence. He’s a special player and those guys are not growing on trees.”

George Washington has been outstanding so far this season, they bring a 12-2 record into this game. This will also be their Atlantic 10 opener.

“They are really big,” Giannini says. “They are not only big on the inside, but they are big on the perimeter. They added (guard) Maurice Creek, who was a very good player at Indiana before a couple really tough injuries, but it looks like he’s rounded into his original form that made him one of the best freshman in the country. So he’s their leading scorer (16 ppg) and he’s awfully good. The rest of the team is all back from last year and they are big, strong, they understand their roles, they are playing with a lot of confidence.”

Last season, La Salle won both match-ups with the Colonials.

Thursday night’s game tips off at 8:00pm.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.