Facing a last-place Duquesne team, La Salle took no chances in stepping on their throat immediately, getting out to a 25-point halftime lead in coasting to a 97-64 win. La Salle had an excellent game on the offensive end, shooting 51.5% on the game, and distributing 23 assists (Ohio leads the nation at 18.5 apg) against only 7 turnovers. Ramon Galloway led the way for the Explorers with 23 points on 8-13 shooting, and 6 assists, while Jerrell Wright and Tyreek Duren dropped 16 points a piece. With Butler’s loss to VCU, La Salle takes over sole possession of third place in the conference.
Coming in with a four-game winning streak, Temple was maybe feeling a little overconfident and found themselves in a dogfight with a struggling Rhode Island Rams squad. However, when push came to shove, the Owls tightened the screws on defense, not allowing Rhode Island to score in the last two minutes of the game, and pulled away for a 76-70 victory. That resolve is the sign of a good team; even when you don’t bring your ‘A’ game, you find a way to win in the end. Each victory on this run takes the Owls further off the bubble and solidifies their place in the Big Dance.
Getting the start for an unavailable Anthony Lee, Jake O’Brien had his first double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Khalif Wyatt led the Owls with 24 points in hitting 9 of 11 free throws. Rhode Island’s Xavier Munford did everything he could to keep the Rams in the game, draining a career-high 30 points on 12-23 shooting, including 5-8 behind the arc. Two games remain for Temple before they head to the Barclay’s Center for the A-10 tournament.
In a huge upset, Pennsylvania earned its best victory of the season, defeating Harvard 75-72. The loss no doubt has the Crimson seeing red as it dropped them a half-game behind Princeton for the Ivy League championship and automatic NCAA tournament berth. The Quakers had their best half of the season in the first, leading by as many as 16 points before settling in with a 12-point lead at halftime. Harvard fought back furiously, knowing what a loss would mean for their tournament prospects, but it was too little, too late, as the Quakers held on down the stretch.
Tony Hicks was once again the star for Pennsylvania with a game-high 24 points on 9-17 shooting. Fellow Freshman Darien Nelson-Henry had a career-high 18 points and his second career double-double, adding 11 rebounds. Head coach Jerome Allen has given the younger players on the roster more responsibility of late, and so far, the future appears bright for the Quakers.
Drexel decided it had experienced enough close games lately and put their contest with UNC-Wilmington away early in the second half in a 62-46 victory. Despite shooting poorly at 30.6%, the Dragons absolutely dominated the glass, outrebounding the Seahawks 51-26 (including an 18-3 edge in offensive boards). Those extra possessions were the difference in the game as Drexel attempted 8 more field goals and 13 more free throws than UNCW.
Senior Forward Daryl McCoy was the main catalyst for Drexel, recording a double-double with 13 points and a season-high 17 rebounds (including an unreal 9 offensive boards) in his final collegiate regular season game. Seahawks’ Senior forward Keith Rendleman did everything he good in the final game of his collegiate career with 24 points and 10 rebounds, but once again had little help from his teammates as no other UNCW player reached double digits. The Dragons will face George Mason on March 9th in the first round of the CAA tournament, a team with whom they split the regular-season series.
Saint Joseph’s completed the clean sweep for City 6 schools yesterday in an 82-56 thrashing of the Fordham Rams. Carl Jones led the way for the Hawks with 24 points including a 5 for 8 effort from behind the arc. The entire Hawks’ team had an outstanding offensive night, shooting 50.0% from the field and recording 19 assists against only 8 turnovers.
With two regular season games remaining, the Hawks find themselves right in the middle of a crowded Atlantic 10 conference. St. Joe’s is only 2 games back of 4th place and a 1st round bye but also only one game ahead of the 13th-place team, who would miss the conference tournament altogether. With remaining games against Rhode Island and Charlotte, teams behind them in the standings, the Hawks really have a chance to make some noise in the final week.
12:00 PM: Villanova (18-11, 9-7 Big East) @ Pittsburgh (22-7, 10-6 Big East) – ESPN3
Following a heart-breaking last-minute defeat at Seton Hall, the Wildcats look to bounce back in one of the most difficult places to play in college basketball. Villanova was handily defeated by the Panthers at the Pavilion in January. The Wildcats put forth an abysmal offensive performance in that outing, shooting only 31.8% and turning the ball over 17 times. Pittsburgh rates out as a top-10 team in the nation, with a top-15 offense and top-10 defense ratings. As usual, the Panthers slow the game down, playing at one of the slowest paces in D-1, while working for good shots on offense and harrassing the opposing team on defense. They shoot the ball incredibly well at 47.3% and do a great job of distributing it around, 10th in the country at 16.6 apg. In summation, Pittsburgh is an excellent basketball and one built around defense and efficient offense that will do well come tournament time. Villanova will have to do a much better job taking care of the basketball and converting at the basket to come out on top in this contest.