It wasn't a good sign for La Salle yesterday when three players who had been accounting for nearly 20 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists a game were dressed in gray sweatsuits instead of the school colors for the game at Tom Gola Arena.
It turned out that the Explorers' short bench was their lone disadvantage against undersize Hartford in La Salle's easy 75-62 victory.
Three days after the Explorers learned they'd have to play indefinitely without starting senior guard Ruben Guillandeaux, out with a stress fracture in his right foot, coach John Giannini announced that the Williams twins were suspended for yesterday's game because of a violation of team rules.
After La Salle raised its record to 5-2, Giannini declined to explain why Jerrell and Terrell Williams, a pair of 6-foot-8 juniors, were suspended. Jerrell is a starting forward averaging 8.0 points and 6.7 rebounds. Terrell averages 10.7 minutes a game, along with 2.0 points and 2.7 rebounds.
"What happened is they disappointed us and we took action," Giannini said.
Although Giannini indicated the suspension could carry over into Wednesday's game at Rider, a team source said it's more than likely the suspension won't go beyond yesterday's game.
With three players unavailable, Giannini went into the game with a queasy feeling. He watched Hartford (2-7), which is coached by former Temple assistant Dan Leibovitz, scare the daylights out of Baylor and figured his depleted team might be in for a rough day.
"Frankly, I entered this game scared to death," Giannini said. "I looked at them in the Baylor tape, and they just had Baylor beaten. . . . I knew what they were capable of."
But Hartford was not capable of getting any taller. The Hawks, led by sharpshooting guard Joe Zeglinski of Archbishop Ryan, had three starters 6-1 and under. La Salle has no starter under 6-5. As a result, the Explorers crushed the Hawks on the boards, outrebounding them by 43-24.
Leibovitz's matchup zone defense was no match for guard Kimmani Barrett, who scored a career-high 25 points while shooting 5 for 7 from three-point distance.
Barrett, a 6-6 senior, nailed four of his three-pointers in the first 91/2 minutes, all from the wing.
"That's my favorite spot on the court," Barrett said. "We knew they were going to double us on the post, so we went over a lot of zone offense during practice."
La Salle didn't distance itself from the Hawks until a 7-0 run at the close of the half made it 37-26 at the break.