Pookie Powell (above) and the Explorers picked up their first A-10 win over Saint Louis Wednesday night. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Zach Drapkin (@ZachDrapkin)
La Salle turned in an impressive second-half performance Wednesday night to pull away from the Saint Louis Billikens and grab the Explorers’ first win in 2016-17 Atlantic-10 play. Jordan Price, Pookie Powell, and B.J. Johnson led the way in the 75-54 victory.
After a slow first 10 minutes, La Salle found a bit of a rhythm, going on an 11-2 run to take a 22-13 lead with 7:46 left in the half. Saint Louis responded immediately with nine unanswered to tie up the game at 22, but the Explorers were able to end the half nicely; Pookie Powell converted an and-one with four seconds to go, giving his team a 33-26 entering the break.
La Salle carried that momentum through halftime, starting the second half on a 10-1 run to take the first double-digit lead of the game. The lead continued to grow, reaching 54-33 with a transition slam dunk from BJ Johnson at 13:40 and peaking at 28 points on multiple occasions as time wound down. It was easy sailing for the Explorers the rest of way, La Salle picking up an 75-54 triumph.
It was an impressive all-around showing for Powell, who finished with a statline of 13 points, eight assists, four steals, four rebounds, and zero turnovers to lead the way for La Salle. Jordan Price racked up a team-high 16 points and also did not commit a turnover, while Johnson scored 14 on just 5-of-15 shooting. Demetrius Henry also played a big role, grabbing 12 rebounds and putting up seven points after sitting out the Explorers’ previous game against Dayton.
For the Billikens, Reggie Agbeko was the leading scorer with 14 points, while Mike Crawford added 11 in the loss.
2: After turning the ball over seven times in the first half, La Salle gave the ball away just twice more for the remainder of the game, playing extremely efficient basketball as they coasted to a second-half blowout victory.
3: Saint Louis didn't fare well in the "hustle points" categories, only finishing with a combined three fast break/second-chance points while La Salle had 26.
La Salle (7-5, 1-1 A-10) vs. Duquesne (8-7, 1-1 A-10) -- Sat., January 7, 8 PM
Saint Louis (4-10, 0-2 A-10) vs. Davidson (7-5, 0-1 A-10) -- Sun., January 8, 1 PM