La Salle cashing in on offense
AROUND THE CITY SCORING AT WILL La Salle put up a 66 spot against Sacred Heart at Gola - in the first half. The Explorers took their foot off the accelerator and won, 100-71.
AROUND THE CITY
SCORING AT WILL
La Salle put up a 66 spot against Sacred Heart at Gola - in the first half. The Explorers took their foot off the accelerator and won, 100-71.
Six players scored in double figures, and that was without starting guard Sam Mills (sprained left thumb). Sizzling Ramon Galloway had 22 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds and 4 steals. La Salle (8-2) shot 54 percent, missed just three free throws and had 26 assists on 34 field goals.
Sacred Heart (2-8) is not very good, but 66 in 20 minutes is hard to do, even in an empty gym. It was 66-30 at the break. The 30-point rule was not in effect.
With Tyrone Garland getting regular minutes, La Salle now has the requisite depth and a lot of answers, especially on offense where it is a very hard team to guard.
If everybody can now officially move on from Columbia, the reality is that Villanova is now officially playing better. After winning easily at Monmouth, 83-56, and shooting like you wondered if the Wildcats could ever shoot (nearly 55 percent and 15-for-22 from the arc), the 'Cats (8-4) have won four straight.
Now, this may not mean much when the Big East begins, but that comeback win over Saint Joseph's gave this group a much-needed dose of confidence.
JayVaughn Pinkston had 16 points and 8 assists for the Wildcats, who got contributions from just about everybody who played. Monmouth may be just 5-7, but the nearby race track of the same name is still a perfect place to spend a summer afternoon.
LOST ON HAWK HILL
Saint Joseph's apparently has not recovered from its total beatdown at Creighton. The Hawks simply have not played well since that game.
The latest evidence is a 60-57 home loss to Fairfield. Now, the Stags (8-5) are pretty good; they have a terrific guard in Derek Needham, who hit the game-winning three with 16 seconds left, and SJU did not have the suspended Halil Kanacevic. But still . . .
This was not a good loss for a team that was good enough to give Notre Dame its only loss, but is now just 5-4.
SJU shot just 33.3 percent. Ron Roberts had 19 points and 11 rebounds. But the Hawks played from behind much of the game and are not very fluid on offense. Leading scorer Tay Jones was 0-for-7. When they finally got the lead late, they could not hold it as Needham hit that game winner.
Fairfield is now 3-0 against the City Six, with a home win over Drexel and a neutral court win against Penn.
MORE LIKE IT
Playing on national television at the DAC against a solid Davidson team, Drexel finally looked like Drexel, shooting 49.1 percent, killing Davidson on the glass, 40-14, and winning, 69-58.
Drexel (4-7) got 26 points and 11 rebounds from Damion Lee, the best sophomore in the city. Point guard Frantz Massenat had 14 points and six assists.
Davidson (6-5) has some decent wins and close losses against good teams. This was a very nice win for the Dragons who needed something positive to happen. This qualifies.
ACROSS THE COUNTRY
When Saturday began, there were eight unbeaten teams. By the time it was over, there were five - Duke, Arizona, Cincinnati, Michigan and Wyoming.
The Cowboys are getting minimal poll love. Now, most of their wins are against nonentities, but they did beat Colorado at home and won at very solid Illinois State.
Illinois, Syracuse and New Mexico all went down.
Given who and where the remaining unbeatens have to play, I can't imagine any of them getting through the regular season without losing and refuse to even consider an unbeaten team winning a national title.
BUS TRIP TO THE PIT
South Dakota State had to bus 1,220 miles to New Mexico because of weather. No problem. SDS gave the Lobos their first loss, as the amazing Nate Wolters had 28 points and 7 assists.
BEST BAD SHOOTING GAME
Missouri point guard Phil Pressey is one of my favorite players. He is fast, tough and a winner. He missed his first 15 shots against Illinois. He had 10 assists and 7 rebounds and never stopped competing.
STARTING TO PLAY
North Carolina State came into the season as the preseason ACC favorites, something that seemed like it was preordained to be either Duke or North Carolina forever. The Wolfpack promptly started the season like they somebody owed them something.
After crushing St. Bonaventure, 92-73, and getting a career-best 33 points from C.J. Leslie, the Pack has won five straight. They are, in fact, going to be major players in the ACC.
DJ'S TOP 15
1. Duke (11-0): Almost certainly going to enter ACC play unbeaten. Lots of offensive answers inside and out.
2. Louisville (11-1): Blew away Western Kentucky, 78-55, in Nashville. Has now forced a ridiculous 245 turnovers in 12 games.
3. Michigan (11-0): Point guard Trey Burke averages 17.1 points and 7.1 assists while shooting nearly 52 percent. Is unbeaten going into the very rough Big Ten.
4. Kansas (10-1): Went to Columbus and put on a defensive clinic in 74-66 win over Ohio State. Shot 51 percent and held OSU to 30.8 percent.
5. Indiana (11-1): Absolutely relentless on offense. Can score from anywhere.
6. Arizona (10-0): Buried East Tennessee State, 73-53, in the first round of a tournament in Hawaii.
7. Missouri (10-1): Overpowered Illinois in St. Louis to give Illini its first loss. Won the game, 82-73, and the glass, 48-30. Only loss to Louisville.
8. Illinois (12-1): Shot just 33.8 percent against Mizzou as its skilled players got hit by Missouri's strength.
9. Butler (9-2): Beat Evansville, 75-67. Arkansas transfer Rotnei Clark is one of the country's best shooters (41-for-91 from the arc).
10. Gonzaga (11-1): As always, the question is going to be: Can the Zags defend the athletic teams in March? Lots of skill here.
11. Pittsburgh (12-1): Topped Kennesaw State on Sunday, 59-43.
12. Ohio State (9-2): Could not beat Kansas in the 2012 Final Four. Still can't beat KU, even at home.
13. Minnesota (12-1): Beat Lafayette, 75-50. Tubby Smith's best team here is experienced, deep and, as always, well coached. Has some very nice wins. Only loss to Duke.
14. Creighton (11-1): Doug McDermott (23.1 points, nearly 55 percent shooting) has been as good as anybody in the nonconference season.
15. Florida (8-2): Road trip unkind for the second straight Saturday as Gators shot poorly and lost to inspired Kansas State, 67-61.