For La Salle to be a factor this season in the Atlantic 10, the Explorers need 6-foot-8 senior Jerrell Wright to stay on the court.
Wright went through two extremes Wednesday night against Villanova: He was a nonfactor in the first half but dominated in the second. The revival, however, came too late in an 84-70 loss at Tom Gola Arena.
Just 2 minutes, 36 seconds into the game, Wright picked up his second foul and sat out the rest of the half.
The Wildcats took command on the way to a 47-29 halftime lead. They maintained a double-digit advantage throughout the second half.
Wright scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half.
"It was frustrating, but it was just a learning experience," Wright said. "I know next time I play I have to be more careful before I go out and start fouling."
Wright did not commit a foul in the second half.
La Salle coach John Giannini had a simple reason for sitting Wright.
"I was very hesitant to put him back [in the first half] because his reactions were so slow at the start of the game," said Giannini, whose Explorers have lost three straight. "I was convinced that a third foul would come immediately."
Villanova coach Jay Wright didn't mind seeing Wright on the bench for most of the half.
"He is a good player and tough matchup for us, and as strong as our big guys are, he is a little quicker and gets them really deep for some reason, more than any post player we have played," Wright said.
In a 64-56 loss to Virginia on Friday, Wright picked up two quick fouls, returned in the first half and drew his third. He finished with just six points and two rebounds.
"Jerrell is a terrific player and he is an even better person than a player, and nobody wants to succeed more than him," Giannini said. "But this is the third or fourth time where he has gotten two quick fouls early in the game . . . I just must think he must be nervous."