BOSTON -

Resilient

.

That was the adjective La Salle coach John Gianinni used to describe his team Thursday night after the Explorers rallied for an 84-81, nonconference victory over Boston University.

La Salle spotted BU a 12-point lead in the first half before shooting lights out - 65.4 percent - in the second half and capitalizing on clutch free-throw shooting by Ruben Guillandeaux and Earl Pettis.

"They've been so resilient," Gianinni said. "Trust me. There's been many times where I've thought we'll keep fighting, but this is going to be hard to pull out.

"And they keep battling, and they pull it out. They're resilient. The best thing about them is they believe they can beat anyone, and they believe they can lose to anyone. Not many teams believe that.

"Our guys are in a good place, mentally, in terms of treating every game the same - maybe better than any team I've ever coached," Gianinni continued.

Guillandeaux scored 21 points for La Salle (6-3), and Pettis had a career-high 19. Darryl Partin led BU (4-6) with 20 points as the Terriers lost their third straight game.

The way the Explorers played in the second half was in stark contrast to how they played in the first.

La Salle was unable to solve BU's 2-1-2 zone and, as a result, shot a frigid 35.3 percent (12 for 34) in the opening 20 minutes.

With Dom Morris scoring 10 of his overall career-high 15 points in the half, BU built a 30-18 lead.

But Pettis almost single-handedly pulled the Explorers back into contention.

The Terriers led, 34-23, after Morris put in a reverse layup.

Pettis, however, responded with seven consecutive points for La Salle.

Pettis sank both ends of a two-shot foul with 1 minute, 45 seconds left to pull La Salle to within 34-32.

Guillandeaux later buried a trey at the buzzer that sliced La Salle's deficit to 38-35 at the break.

Not only did the Explorers do a better job of moving the ball against BU's zone in the second half, but they also made some shots.

A driving layup by Tyreek Duren gave La Salle its first lead, 50-49, since going ahead by 4-2 early in the game.

Guillandeaux converted 3 of 4 free throws during two trips to the line in the final minute to give La Salle an 82-80 lead.

The Terriers' D.J. Irving, a graduate of Archbishop Carroll, then sank just 1 of 2 free throws to make it 82-81. But Pettis again countered, connecting on two free throws with 7.8 seconds left for an 84-81 lead.

A desperation heave by John Holland at the buzzer was way off target, and that clinched the victory for La Salle.

"Basketball is a game of runs," Guillandeaux said. "They made a huge run in the first half and made huge shots. But we stayed in there. We fought, and we were on the road.

"That basically shows our resiliency, just being on the road in a tough environment with a team hitting shots . . . just being able to close out a game."