Philadelphia: On Saturday afternoon, the La Salle Explorers hosted the VCU Rams in an Atlantic 10 match up. As the rain poured down onto the city of Philadelphia, busloads of VCU fans poured into the Tom Gola Arena. This was in support of VCU coach, Mike Rhoades, who is a Pennsylvania native from Mahanoy City, two hours northwest of La Salle’s campus.
The Explorer’s were ultimately defeated by the Rams 76-65, but they made them work for the win up until the final buzzer.
The game began with the Rams winning the tip off, but the Explorer’s answered with the first 5 points on the board. After almost three minutes of play the Rams put their first two points on the board. They ended up going on a 21-point run to end the first period at 33-24.
At the half, La Salle’s Scott Spencer lead them in points with 10 of their 24 points (finishing with 16 points) and VCU’s Mike’L Simms and Nah’Shon Hyland lead with contributing 8 points each.
The second period offensively was led by La Salle’s Ed Croswell and David Beatty putting up 11 points each. This aided La Salle to battle back to make it a 65-62 game, with under 4 minutes to play and VCU chants echoing throughout their home arena. They were only able to put 3 more points on the board while VCU went on a 9-point run. With a minute left to play, VCU’s leading scorer of 16 points, Marcus Santos-Silva, had a dominating block under the basket.
Santos-Silver reflected on those last two minutes of the game, “We was like two-minute game- lets go, let’s get stops, let’s get rebounds, let’s play smarter offense, and it will work.”
Still La Salle’s energy from the players on the court and their coach Ashley Howard on the sideline did not diminish, and coach Ashley’s stance on battling adversity was presented by his team today, win or lose.
“VCU has been a standard for our league for some time, so you know, it’s only right for our guys to come out here and play a spirited effort against them. You know, I’m challenging our guys every day to just continue to battle adversity the right way, handle it the right way. You know whether we get down, just keep playing hard, and I thought we did that tonight, and I thought we put ourselves in a position where we could have stole it.”- La Salle coach Ashley Howard
La Salle now has a record of 10-9 and will play Saint Louis Billikens at home on Wednesday night.