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Rough trip, game for La Salle in Oklahoma City

The La Salle Explorers didn't have an easy time getting to Oklahoma City, and they didn't have an easy time once they got there.

The La Salle Explorers didn't have an easy time getting to Oklahoma City, and they didn't have an easy time once they got there.

James Anderson scored 28 points, Marshall Moses added 18 points, and Oklahoma State never trailed on its way to a 77-62 win last night at the All-College Classic.

After La Salle (7-4) had cut a 16-point deficit in half, Anderson and Keiton Page led the Cowboys (10-1) on a 12-2 run to restore the cushion.

Rodney Green scored 22 points to lead the Explorers, but his three-pointer to stop the Cowboys' surge was his team's only basket in the final 9 minutes.

"Tremendous credit goes to Oklahoma State," La Salle coach John Gianinni said. "They beat us in every facet of the game. They outrebounded us, they defended hard. When we would chip into things, they would step up and hit shots and make plays. They were clearly a better team tonight."

Oklahoma State scored eight of the game's first nine points and rushed out to a 23-7 lead before the Explorers, who started out 2-for-18 from the field, made their third basket.

"Sometimes teams play with a certain intensity level, and if you aren't ready for that, it can shock you a little bit," Giannini said of the Explorers' slow start. "Their defense was right up on us, and it took us a little while to adust."

Kimmani Barrett had 15 points to become the 47th player at La Salle to reach 1,000 for his career. He now has 1,010.

Green also had four assists, and joined Lionel Simmons as the only Explorers to have 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 300 assists.

After La Salle rallied to close the gap, Anderson ended the first half with a three-pointer to put the Cowboys up, 36-26.

Aaric Murray (10 points) helped keep the Explorers within striking distance by outscoring the Cowboys, 10-4, over a 2-minute stretch in the second half, but freshman Ray Penn hit three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to extend Oklahoma State's lead to 57-41.

La Salle responded with a 14-6 run to get within 63-55 on Barrett's three-pointer before going cold down the stretch.

The Explorers' troubles began before they left Philadelphia.

They were scheduled to leave Philadelphia International Airport at 7:45 a.m. Sunday and arrive in Oklahoma City at 12:40 p.m. (Central). The original flight through Houston, with a connection on to Oklahoma City, was canceled while La Salle was playing Bucknell at Gola Arena on Saturday afternoon.

The team was then booked on a 6:10 p.m. flight Sunday to Dallas. Then, it was going to bus to Oklahoma City, a little more than 200 miles. The team boarded the flight around 7:45, cruised around jetways for an hour or so and took off at 9 p.m.

The plane arrived in Dallas at midnight Eastern, 11 p.m. Central. After getting its bags and boarding the bus, the team made the only rational food stop, Whataburger, a favorite of coach John Giannini when he was an assistant at North Texas while going for his master's in physical education with a specialization in sports psychology.

The team arrived at its Oklahoma City hotel at 4:45 Eastern, approximately 16 hours before the tipoff of its game with Oklahoma State. Providentially, the hotel was a short walk to the Ford Center, and La Salle played the second game of the doubleheader (after UTEP-Oklahoma) in America's oldest tournament, even older than the NIT and NCAA. *