ATLANTIC CITY — Fueled by Pookie Powell’s 18 points and career-high five steals, La Salle came home from Boardwalk Hall with its second win in as many days, this time by a 57-51 margin over Towson.
Though the Explorers (2-10) were ahead for most of the game, it was close throughout. Their largest lead was 23-14 with 7 minutes, 27 seconds until intermission. Towson came back to tie the game at 23-all, but La Salle righted things from there to take a 27-23 lead into the locker room.
Powell had 10 points in the first half, including a pair of pretty fast break layups off steals he grabbed. His leadership in his second game back after a long injury absence was clear throughout.
“Coach [Ashley Howard] told me to take my time on the way back, don’t rush it," Powell said. "I just sat out, waited until I got 100 percent and came back, and I felt good out there.”
The most notable basket of the half came at the 11:42 mark, when Towson freshman Solomon Uyaelunmo took an inbounds pass from a teammate, forgot which basket was his team’s and put the ball in the wrong one. Unfortunately for him, it was the kind of play you’ll see on lowlights segments of sports highlights shows for a while.
“I’ve never seen anything like it, but I’ll take it this time,” Howard said with the knowing smile of a man whose first head coaching job started 0-10. “We’ve had a few bad breaks that went the other way.”
La Salle maintained its advantage through most of the second half, and led 48-41 with 5:17 to go. Towson scored five straight points in the next 81 seconds, and Ashley Howard called timeout to settle things down.
“Just getting re-focused on the defensive end, not letting their guards get in the lane, turn the corner on us and really just staying in between them and the basket and making them take tough, contested twos,” Howard said.
His players delivered. Though the Tigers got to the free throw line a few times after that timeout, they didn’t make a field goal for the rest of the game.