La Salle rode a huge first half from Isiah Deas and a solid defensive effort in the second half to an 85-68 win over Morgan State on Saturday at Tom Gola Arena.
The Explorers (6-3) jumped out to an early 7-0 lead over the Bears (4-8), but went cold for a while and allowed the visitors to go up, 19-16, midway through the first half. But La Salle got back in rhythm from there, fueled by Deas scoring 17 of the Explorers’ points in a row.
Morgan State scraped its way back into the game in the second half, cutting La Salle’s lead to 51-45 with 13 minutes, 45 seconds to go. But David Beatty woke La Salle up — and the sparse crowd, too — with a ferocious and-one slam. The Explorers were rarely troubled after that.
Keys to the game
All five of Deas’ made field goals (on seven attempts) in his first-half hot streak came from three-point range. The program history books don’t have a record for most consecutive points in a game.
Deas finished the game with a career-high 31 points. Beatty had 18.
La Salle was 9-for-18 from three-point range in the first half, but just 3-of-15 from beyond the arc in the second half.
Troy Baxter led Morgan State in scoring with 15 points. Chester native Stanley Davis, a STEM Academy product, had 14.
“Anybody could have a night like I had.” — Deas on his first-half scoring streak.
“The charges probably give us more energy than a Dave Beatty dunk on a fast break.” — Deas on his teammates taking a few big charges during the game.
" ‘Train’ is the ultimate ambassador for not just La Salle, but for Philadelphia basketball. … To have him connected to our program means everything. This is his program." — Ashley Howard on having Lionel Simmons in the crowd Saturday. The program legend is a regular attendee at games these days.
La Salle freshman Sherif Kenney hit one of the bigger shots in the second half, a putback layup-and-one in traffic with 11:56 left when it was still a two-possession game.
The Explorers showed again that they’re willing to do the dirty work on defense, recording 10 steals along with the aforementioned charges.
Although Saul Phiri had just 8 points, La Salle outscored Morgan State by 15 points when he was on the floor.